INSTITUTE, WV (WOWK) – Friday was the day cadets have dreamed about since they began class in March. 23 cadets graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy, having to adjust to an altered program due to the pandemic.
“They’ve had to navigate a different landscape due to the Covid-19 pandemic that’s be going on, we’ve had to adapt training a little bit,” Col. Jan Cahill said. “This is not something you can just get online which probably hurts our numbers.”
Cahill said recruiting numbers are down across the state.
“It’s harder to recruit nowadays,” he said. “I think there’s a segment of younger people who want to work remotely and there’s jobs that weren’t around 20 years ago that we’ve having to compete with.”
But for those that graduated like Lucas Smith, there’s no better feeling than to serve your state.
“To be able to serve West Virginia and the people of West Virginia is an opportunity I don’t take for granted,” Smith said. “I’m really excited to start my career with the West Virginia State Police.”
Cahill hopes to recruit more future cadets.
“You can absolutely make a difference in people’s lives, you can absolutely make a difference in the communities in which you live,” he said. “It’s an outstanding profession and career.”
Cadets came from states like Georgia and New Jersey. One cadet was a sixth-generation coal miner who had spent 16 years working in the mines.
Cahill said the next class will begin in January.