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Working Iowa: Iowa State Patrol looking to hire more troopers; academy application deadline approaching

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 8:43 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Trooper Robert Conrad has been with the Iowa State Patrol for about 30 years. He started in Des Moines. After three years, he moved went on to Waterloo-Cedar Falls. The last 17 of those 30 years have been at Post 11 in Cedar Rapids. Over the years, he’s seen lots of changes.

“The cars have improved over the years. When I started out, I was driving an ‘89 Ford and s ‘90 Chevy. It was a whole different ballgame,” he said. “There was no such thing as computers. There was no such thing as videos in the car. I was one of the first ones to get a video camera.”

With all of those transitions, he’s always loved being a state trooper.

“I can’t think of doing anything else,” he said. “If I couldn’t go to work tomorrow. I’d be extremely sad.”

However, he’s noticing fewer and fewer applicants.

“When I got hired, there were 2,500 applicants for like 47 positions. That was back in the 90s,” he said. “Now, we struggle to get a few hundred.”

He says now is the best time to apply because the applicant pool is so low. In addition, Trooper Conrad says new troopers get to pick where they want to work in the state.

Lieutenant Mindy Coe is based in the Cherokee, Iowa, district. She says hiring more females and minorities is a major focus right now.

“[It’s] Not only to fill our ranks but to make us a more diverse workforce and more representative of the communities we serve,” she said.

She’s also a veteran of the U.S. military. It’s another demographic the patrol is trying to hire.

“It was an easy transition,” she said. I think anyone who is currently serving would find the transition pretty seamless.”

A college degree is not required for the job, but what is needed is a desire to help people. Including training, it takes about six months to get on the road. Trooper Conrad is a field training coordinator, meaning he works with many future troopers.

“We’re gonna not only train you in the academy, how to be a trooper, but we’re also going get you on the road, on the street,” he said. “We are going to go ahead and get you out there with experience stopping cars, doing the things that you need to do.”

It’s that training that has helped Trooper Conrad feel safe on the job. He enjoys every aspect of his job, from saving lives...

“Whether it’s through giving CPR, getting them out of a vehicle that’s on fire, or using an AED or something like that, and you take them out of a situation where their death was very possible and probable...that’s what you go to work for,” Trooper Conrad said.

...to interactions with the public on a daily basis.

“I was somewhere--these two children walk into the gas station with their dad. And when I gave those two little girls stickers, they just smiled and lit up...it’s good stuff,” he said.

Click or tap here to learn more about careers with the Iowa State Patrol.

The application deadline for the next academy is Feb. 27.

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