BURLINGTON, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol held a recruit testing event Saturday in Burlington looking for aspiring troopers to fill open positions.
The State Patrol is expecting to lose more than 300 troopers to retirement over the next five years.
The agency has never held a testing event in Skagit County before, but the event drew in 40 recruits. Only a handful will make it through the first of four phases to become a trooper. This process of recruitment will be going on in eight regions across the state.
According to the State Patrol, they want about 70 in the next trooper academy class, starting in July. However, it will take about 2000 recruiting tests to get to that level because not many recruits will make it.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Frank Field spoke with trooper Keith Leary about the testing in the different regions.
“Driving and distance a lot of times seems like a hardship for folks, just not being able to get there. We’re going to bring it to them,” said Leary.
Siddharth Mahant decided to become a trooper after he was pulled over by one who was friendly and helpful.
“It was a good impression on me at the time. So I thought, he is helping me, I want to do this. I want to help people,” Mahant said.
Reaching across the state broadens the base of recruits who can pass the background checks and physical and written tests.
“Is that outreach working and how do we adjust? It’s ever evolving and how do we tweak things to make it work? Because that’s our goal to make it work,” said Leary.
The agency has streamlined the process by providing all the information online, including standards and sample test questions to meet the largest demand for new troopers in 25 years.