The People’s Tribune

Jorden Billings Headed to Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy

Just how difficult is it to become a Missouri State Highway Patrol recruit? Just ask 2017 Bowling Green graduate, Jorden Billings.

But you’ll have to ask him soon.

Jorden is set to leave for the challenging six-month-long academy on July 5 where he’ll learn the ins and outs of the highway patrol. There, he’ll be joined by 35 others selected for this year’s academy.

They’re a very select few chosen out of 2,500 applicants.

Much like the academy, the selection process itself is grueling and necessary to narrow down the list. Billings started the application process in the Fall of 2021 while in his final year at Hannibal Lagrange.

According to Jorden, he first started the criminal justice program in Hannibal intending to become a conservation agent.

“I always loved being outdoors and hunting,” he told the Tribune. Yet he found himself drawn to the Missouri Highway Patrol’s program.

“I feel like the state troopers are really well respected and its also challenging to get into, so it felt like more of an accomplishment to become a state trooper”

With just under 1.5 percent of the applicants being selected for the academy, the selection process is an accomplishment.

Hopeful candidates undergo a written exam, fitness for duty assessment, background checks, a battery of blood work, and even a polygraph.

Although a college degree isn’t required, anyone interested must be at least 21 upon graduation from the academy and possess a high school diploma or a certificate of equivalency recognized by the Missouri Department of Education.

Candidates are also expected to run a mile and a half run in under fifteen minutes along with sprints and more.

“Schooling has helped a lot, but there’s a lot of physical aspects to preparing,” Jorden explained. “There’s a lot of running, pull-ups, and sit-ups. It’s physically and mentally demanding. You’re told what’s expected of you. You’re given certain criteria that you have to pass to qualify.”

For those selected few, physical fitness continues in the academy that’s reminiscent of a military boot camp.

They receive 1,200 hours of intensive academic and rigorous physical training at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Law Enforcement Academy in Jefferson City. After successful completion of the academy, each officer must serve three months under a veteran Field Training Officer and a one-year probationary period before they’re on the road alone.

It’s not a job for everyone.

“I would suggest going on a couple ride-alongs for anyone interested in the highway patrol,” Jorden advised those thinking about applying. “You want to make sure that it’s for you before going through the whole process. It can be a long and stressful process but it’s worth it.”

Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous line of work, but Jorden said his family supports his decision.

“They’re excited,” he continued. “They think it’s a good career path for me, but they are a little nervous about the dangerous aspect. Overall, they’re happy with the choice I made.”

Jorden is hoping to stay around the area. He applied for Troop C with the understanding that he could be sent anywhere in the state.

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