Nov 19, 2010

Filling the ranks

Maine State Police bolster recruiting efforts

You can read the requirements for becoming a Maine State Trooper here.

By Katy England
edge staff writer

AUGUSTA - Twenty-five years ago, two classes of Maine State troopers graduated from their training and took to the roads to fight crime and keep Maine safe. Now, as many of them retire, there are many vacancies to fill in the Maine State Police, with more to come in the not-so-distant future.

Currently, the Maine State Police has 27 vacancies to fill. And as more troopers become eligible to retire, recruiters estimate there will be at least 40 more vacancies in the next two to three years. Because of this, the Maine State Police has stepped up its recruitment techniques in order to fill the gaps and ensure that they continue to deliver the services many have come to rely on from their agency.

"It's an exciting challenge to be able to fulfill the vacancies," said Tpr. Robert Burke, the training specialist for the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. "We're not looking to fill the ranks with just anybody, but with the most capable possible."

He noted that people looking to join the ranks shouldn't be looking at the Maine State Police as simply a career but a way of life. Those looking to be troopers need to hold themselves to the core values of integrity, compassion, excellence and fairness.

"We need the core principles in everything we do in order to serve the citizens of Maine at a level," he said. "If we can't maintain those high standards then we aren't doing our job."

He notes that there are many opportunities for troopers to specialize across the state by becoming a member of various specialized fields, including the tactical team, which handles high-risk situation; the bomb team, the dive team, criminal investigation unit and more.

Troops across the state now have two recruitment officers, who reach out to the community to educate them about becoming a trooper and keep in contact with applicants as they go through the lengthy hiring process that's involved.

"We're aggressively looking for new and unique ways to meet people and let them know we're hiring," said Burke.

He explained that the recruiters have received recruitment training and have different backgrounds (college graduates and troopers with military backgrounds). This allows the recruiters to relate to applicants with different backgrounds and assist them in process.

Trooper Greg Roy from Troop J in Ellsworth is one of the troop recruiters. He's been attending career fairs and coordinating ride alongs with interested applicants.

"There's no set mold [for Maine State Troopers]," said Roy. "The main thing is they need people who are hard workers and can work by themselves with little supervision. Genuine, honest, hardworking people. We have phenomenal troopers who built houses before [turning to law enforcement]."

He noted that there are many careers where people deal with stress, or personal time management. In the case of home building, the individuals have to manage their own time and have little supervision. Roy mentioned he had been speaking with an emergency room nurse who said she didn't have any background in law enforcement, but he pointed out that she could clearly deal with high-stress situations.

"If you have thought about a career in public service that is generally regarded as a lifestyle and not a job, I would highly recommend you look at the Maine State Police as an opportunity in law enforcement," said Burke.

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