Pa. state police want YOU!

February 4, 2009 8:33:23 PM PST
The Pennsylvania state police department is working to increase its ranks. Recruiters are stepping up their efforts among young people across the state, including Philadelphia.

But the right to wear a badge comes with a tough 27-week training program.

It's a cold morning at the Pennsylvania state police academy. Despite the weather, the recruits are gearing up to start the day with a 5-mile run.

The future state troopers admit you have to love police work if you're going to survive the regimen.

"For a young person you know I didn't always know I wanted to be a police officer. But then I did and I applied and here I am. But I would say follow your dream and give it a try and I'm loving it," said Hardeep Rai.

"I grew up in a trooper family and I just always looked up to him and have just respect for this department. And it's always been a dream of mine to be a part of that," said Nicole Magill.

The pre-dawn run was followed by the morning workout routine, which included calisthenics and mock arrests. Next up some resistance swimming and just before that was quite easily the most intimidating exercise of the day, firearms training. And don't be fooled, the training included live rounds.

Firearms Instructor Trooper Chris Fedorshack shared some of his expertise before allowing our own Walter Perez to pull the trigger.

"When you're ready to fire, center mass at the target, take your time, don't be afraid and let's see how you hit."

The day culminated with just about a most fascinating experience inside what's called the Digital Scene Re-Creation Chamber. Think of it as a Nintendo Wii X 100. The chamber is where all the training is put to the test courtesy of virtual reality.

You're handed a very realistic pistol and randomly dropped into one of a several volatile situations. Walter's situation involves an unruly man who's visibly intoxicated and very aggressive.

If the situation was real, both the man's and Walter's life could hang in the balance.

The instructor let Walter know that even though his choice to kill the man was unfortunate, the sobering truth is there was no other choice.

For more information: Pa. state police recruitment