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Take the on-ramp to a state trooper career

There is more than one road to becoming a Minnesota State Patrol trooper, including a route that requires no prior law enforcement experience or education. The State Patrol is accepting applications from people looking for a career change. The application period for non-traditional candidates closes at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16. Interested candidates may apply at 

A primary goal for the State Patrol is to recruit a diverse workforce. The State Patrol Law Enforcement Training Opportunity (LETO) program is a specialized recruitment effort that provides a pathway for those without a law enforcement background to become a State Trooper. Anyone with a two or four-year degree in any discipline from a regionally accredited college or university can apply. The State Patrol pays for the LETO candidates’ law enforcement education.

“Law enforcement is a diverse, exciting career choice, and the State Patrol wants to tap into potential candidates that have unique training and life experiences,” said Col. Matt Langer. “This is also an opportunity to promote a career in law enforcement to the state’s growing and diverse populations.”

Langer cites the most critical component in a career as a trooper: Be a part of making Minnesota roads safer and preventing traffic crashes. The career of a state trooper also extends far beyond the highway. Troopers have the opportunity to take to the sky for flight patrols, conduct search and rescue missions, make life-saving blood and organ deliveries and more.

“The non-traditional troopers are an important addition to our agency,” Langer said. “The face of law enforcement is changing every day, and these troopers will help give the Patrol a new perspective to handle emerging issues and challenges.”

Candidates who have a post-secondary degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and who successfully complete the competitive selection process, will be hired. Those hired will receive instruction in the academic and practical education requirements to meet the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) board standards — a requirement of all Minnesota law enforcement. Upon passing the POST exam, new hires will also attend the State Patrol Trooper Academy, starting in January 2016, for further training.

“The academy is challenging,” said Capt. Lori Hodapp, State Patrol training director. “But for those that are looking for a challenging and exciting career, it is some of the best law enforcement training in the nation.”

Among the 50 graduating trooper cadets in 2015, 13 went through the LETO program. These troopers included a teacher, a small business owner, a salesperson and a grocer.

Going through the academy is a life-changing experience that pushes a cadet to be their very best. Cadets live at Camp Ripley while training and learning about motor vehicle crash investigation, traffic law, emergency vehicle operations, firearms and scenario-based training. Hands-on training includes mapping and reconstructing crash scenes, learning how to deploy Tasers and self-defense tactics. Instructors teach leadership skills and emphasize service and lifelong learning.

The Minnesota State Patrol recruiting process allows potential candidates to apply, regardless of previous law enforcement education or experience. Anyone with a two- or four-year degree from a regionally accredited college or university may apply. Information about becoming a trooper, career/internship opportunities and the ride-along program is found on the Minnesota State Patrol “Join the State Patrol” web page.