Fort McCoy News January 10, 2014

WSPA recruit class keeping on target

STORY & PHOTOS BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

For a class that almost didn't happen, members of the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy (WSPA) 59th recruit class are making the most of their opportunity.

Sgt. Tony Green, recruit class program director, said the academy received about a six-week notice that the class would be held and would begin in October 2013.

Photo 1 for WSPA article
Members of the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy's 59th recruit class train on driving State Patrol vehicles on the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course near the academy at Fort McCoy.

That left little time to secure all of the necessary paper work and training materials, Green said. Thirty-one cadets are training in the class.

Green said the class will help replace the State Patrol members who are retiring and people who have transitioned out of the agency.

The course includes the basic information cadets need to become troopers or inspectors. Green said the training includes law enforcement information, emergency vehicle operation, problem solving, arrest procedures, firearms training, and physical fitness training, and more.

Trainees have a wide variety of backgrounds from experience or education in law enforcement/criminal justice, to college degrees with almost any conceivable major.

"They don't know where they're going or if they'll be troopers or inspectors," Green said. "That's why we push the academics so hard. We tell them to forget about just making a passing grade and do as well as they can because their academic standing helps determine where they will go and what they will do."

The cadets look forward to their first jobs with the State Patrol.

Cadet Adam Lukaszewski of Oak Creek has a political science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lukaszewski also participated in the Wisconsin National Guard as a member of the infantry and then of the cavalry.

"I liked the lifestyle and the camaraderie in the military," he said. "The State Patrol training is similar in that it has you pay attention to detail while keeping things in order."

Photo 2 for WSPA article
Trooper John Moore of the Tomah District 5 Station teaches a course about traffic law to members of the State Patrol Recruit Class 59 at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy. The recruits are scheduled to graduate in March.

The firearms and Emergency Vehicle Operations Course training were among his favorite subjects. Lukaszewski said the training also helped him refine his defense and arrest tactics.

Cadet Clarissa Justmann of Mayville, Wis., said she was working as a limited-term employee for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources when she was offered the WSPA training slot.

Justmann is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, with a degree in environmental science.

"I've enjoyed all of the training, it's a new experience," Justmann said. "My goal is I want to finish training, put on the uniform and work for the State Patrol."

Cadet Tatsuo Anduze-Bell, originally from the Virgin Islands, attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduated with a degree in criminal justice.

Anduze-Bell worked as a probation and parole agent for the State of Wisconsin and applied for the training as soon as it became available.

"The highlight of the training, to date, is to pay attention to detail and be aware of your surroundings," Anduze-Bell said. "That comes in handy because State Patrol personnel often work alone."

Vehicles not being used at the various State Patrol Post locations were brought to Fort McCoy where they are used for training and then returned to the post and assigned to the graduating cadets.

"This allows cadets to become familiar with the vehicles during the training," Green said. Duty assignments will not be known until week 19 of the 23-week program.

State Patrol personnel need to be well rounded in all skills — both trooper and inspector — because they may find future promotional opportunities in either field, he said.

Green said the Wisconsin State Patrol still needs additional recruits to replace retiring and transitioning personnel so future classes are possible.

For more information about recruitment visit the website http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/statepatrol/recruitment or for general information about the WSPA, call 608-269-2500.