INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - It's a job that thousands applied for, but only 46 wereaccepted. 24-Hour New 8's Gene Rodriguez started following thenewest class of recruits for the Indiana State Police over a yearago.
The state invested $4.5 million in the latest class and therecruits would say they invested their blood sweat and tears tomake their dream of being a state trooper come true.
"It's just something I always wanted to do," said JosephCumberworth of Versailles.
"I decided to get in the state police cause I got family in thestate police also and I always looked up to them," said KentRohlfing of Bloomington, Indiana.
O'Bryan Winfield of East Chicago said, "I always wanted to be apolice officer. I felt that the Indiana state police was thebest."
With 27 weeks of intense physical and mental training, 46recruits are walking into a career in law enforcement.
"It's a change in lifestyle and yes, I am very nervous," saidRonald Davidson of East Chicago.
Mary Felger of New Haven said, "A little fear of the unknown.But that's about it."
More than 5000 people applied for the academy. A written exam, apsychological exam, a polygraph test and two physical examsnarrowed the field of applicants.
"Done a psychological test, nothing fancy do you hear voices. Idon't think I do I am pretty safe right there," said Erik Zacatelcoof Richmond. "I know it's a tough process. I am not going to say Iam 100% confident there is always a 10% chance you are not going tomake it."
Unfortunately, Zacatelco didn't get an invitation to theacademy. The oral interview alone eliminated 400 applicants.
"We have some that this is their 3rd time. And the comment isif I don't make it I am re-applying. I always want to be a trooper,my father has been a trooper my grandfather has been one and thisis what I want to do I want to follow this process," said AngieHahn of the Indiana State Police.
In fact, for Kent Rohlfing the third time was a charm. He and 60others got the invitation to the academy.
"I'm optimistic, but yeah I am a little nervous," saidRohlfing.
Monday through Friday recruits eat, sleep and study at theacademy.
"It was just as soon as we woke up at about 5:30 in the morning,got to bed at about 12:30 at night," Rohlfing said.
They learned the mechanics of an arrest, role played worst casescenarios and learned how to effectively shoot their firearms.
"Everything that we are going to teach them is meant to savetheir life. And we put it just that bluntly," said Sgt. ChrisLambert of the Indiana State Police.
They put it all to work in mock situations.
Sgt. Lambert said, "Train them to recognize what we considerjeopardy and once they perceive that jeopardy to act appropriatelyand act in a manner where they can make sure that they are safe andthat the innocent bystanders and the general public is safe whenthey are employing deadly force."
One situation in particular had the recruits talking. It'scalled the two on one hit man.
"When I was on my back and both guys were on top of me, I didn'tthink I was going to make it and I am not talking about through theacademy, I thought I was going to not make it. I thought I wasgoing to die," said Rohlfing.
"You do think you are going to die. I'm thinking to myself theydon't realize that I'm losing and they are about to kill me and Idon't think," said Christopher Townsend of Indianapolis.
They did survive the situation and are two of the 46 thatgraduated. All 46 had to job shadow a trooper for three months.
After weeks of physical training, months of classroom work, thedreaded hit man drills, the new troopers get their own cars ninemonths after that first day at the academy.
"It's been a long, long time a long process. I know every guyand girl here is very very happy right now. We worked hard forthese," said Rohlfing.
"It's been a long journey. Got the car now," said Townsend. "Yesthere's a good chance you will see me out on the road."
But it wasn't too long after Townsend received his patrol carthat he was involved in a crash. A look at the most dangerous partof the job and hear from family members on Tuesday; Making of aTrooper - Part 2.
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