Junior Trooper Academy

38 Junior Troopers participate in Junior Trooper Academy

Cadets drill on the parade deck at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro (Photo Katharine England)

Recently, 38 students from across the state of Maine spent three days and two nights at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro to get a taste for the challenges and opportunities that await them with a career in law enforcement.

The cadets stayed in billets (32 males on one floor, and six females on another), the same housing that potential Troopers and Officers use during the 18-week Basic Law Enforcement Training Program, and 10-week Recruit Training Troop (the additional, specialized training Maine State Troopers undergo after the BLETP). While there, the students spent time in the classroom and the grounds of the Academy getting a sense of the training and skill sets needed to become a Law Enforcement Officers.  Instructors were hand-selected by Corporal Breanne Petrini from agencies across the state and specialties within the Maine State Police.

K9 Demo
Cadets observe a demonstration by Trooper Shawn Porter and K-9 Myca. (Photo by Katharine England)

On the first day, after storing their gear, the cadets were greeted by Lt. David Trip, the commandant of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and Commander of the specialty units of the Maine State Police. He explained to the cadets that the Junior Trooper Academy is a chance for the students to take control of their futures.
“This is a huge opportunity for you. When it comes to Junior Troopers and those [who take advantage of the] Internship Program during college, these folks often have a high percentage of getting hired as Troopers,” said Lt. Tripp. “Becoming a Trooper involves living your like life you want to be a Trooper and embodying our core values of Integrity, Fairness, Compassion, and Excellence.”

Detective Lauren Edstrom explains her duties and responsibilities to the cadets. (Photo by Katharine England)

He explained that this involves integrating the lessons from the three-day academy into their everyday lives, not falling into poor decision-making or peer pressure. The choices that these teens make will have an impact on their success in the not-too-distance future, something that recruiters will look at during the hiring process.
 “[At the JTA] We give you all the information you need to be successful – what did you do with it? Did you utilize it or did you cast it aside?” he asked. “When I say that you are Maine’s tomorrow, you truly are. I hope you embrace that and that we see you back here.”

Cadets learned about the history of the Maine State Police, had classes on ethical decision making, social media and law enforcement, motor vehicle high-risk stops, K9 demonstrations, criminal intelligence, and crime scene investigation. Each day there was also Physical Training, defensive tactics, and drill and ceremony.
A large amount of planning goes into the JTA and Cpl. Petrini starts the planning process six months before cadets arrive, juggling schedules of instructors and making sure things move smoothly for cadets and staff. She says that there is a big change in the cadets from the start of the JTA compared to the last day.


“There’s a huge change in confidence, bearing and just how they carry themselves. There’s a sense of pride. They’ve challenged themselves in ways they’ve never been challenged,” she said. “Every single one of them was here because they wanted to be here and they were eager to learn. This group 100-percent wanted to be here to learn more.”

The three-day Academy culminated with a showcase of specialties for the Maine State Police where Troopers from the Evidence Recovery Team, Bomb Team, Tactical Team, Underwater Recovery Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, Incident Management Team, Crash Reconstruction Unit were on hand to tell the cadets and their families about their jobs and offer demonstrations.

“It was awesome. Very intense,” said Isaac Plante, who had recently graduated from Sanford High School and planned on pursuing a career as a Maine State Trooper. “I was looking for [the JTA] to get me ready. … The coolest part was on the last day – looking around at the different aspects of [The Maine State Police] and the Tactical Team. It’s something I can see myself doing in the future, once I become a Trooper.”

Then the cadets and families headed inside for graduation ceremonies, displaying drill ceremonies they had learned over the course of the Academy. After all had been called to receive their certificates, there were smiles and handshakes and hugs and 38 cadets would go back to their parts of the state, all further down the path to their life goals.

Junior Trooper Academy

Junior TrooperThe Maine State Police will be hosting a three-day Junior Trooper Academy. This is a Career Orientation Program to be held from July 16 through July 18, 2019. The program is open to any High School Junior or Senior who has a strong interest in learning about a career with the Maine State Police. Lodging and meals will be provided at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro to those selected and invited from a pool of submitted applications. There is no fee associated with the program, and overnight stay will be a requirement. Space is limited!

The curriculum is designed to provide an orientation to law enforcement duties specific to the State Police, and the rank of Trooper. Some of the courses may include a K-9 demonstration, Overview of the Specialty Teams (e.g., Tactical Team, Underwater Recovery Team, Bomb Team, IMAT, etc.), Drill and Ceremony (marching), Introduction to Self Defense, Felony Motor Vehicle Stops and Cruiser/Equipment Orientation.

There will also be a familiarization with the role of a recruit in the academy environment as well as question and answer periods with Troopers temporarily assigned as support staff for the program. The participants will also be provided with the information needed to pursue a career with the Maine State Police.

Our goal is to provide a program guided by the Maine State Police Core Principles of Integrity, Fairness, Compassion and Excellence in an environment that accurately portrays the professionalism and pride of the Maine State Police, as well as our desire and willingness to reach out to Maine's youth, who are the future of this department.

Please submit the completed application and release form along with a 100 word essay on why you would like to attend this program and/or why you would like to be a Maine State Trooper, no later than June 1, 2019 to Maine State Police Junior Troopers, 15 Oak Grove Road, Vassalboro, ME 04989. We are extending the deadline from May to June. Questions regarding the program can be directed to Melissa Weiner at the Maine State Police Training Unit by calling 877-8025 or email to melissa.weiner@maine.gov.

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