Oologah senior Ricci St. John completed a week’s worth of training last month at theOklahoma Highway Patrol CadetLawmanAcademyin Burns Flat.
After the first day,St. Johnwas second guessing her decision to sign up for the academy. At the end of the week, she was glad she stuck it out.
“It was like boot camp,”St. Johnsaid. “It was really, really tough but at the end I was glad I did it.”
The cadet academy is for students between their junior and senior years. The academy is free, but there are a limited number of spots. Students must have an OHP Trooper and an Elk’s Lodge member sign their application.
St. Johnlearned about the academy from a trooper that was a friend of her mother. Trooper Raymond Greninger convincedSt. Johnto apply to the academy.
St. Johndoesn’t plan on a career in law enforcement. She wanted to attend the academy for the experience.
“I just wanted to go and see what I could get out of it. I’m really glad I went,” she said. “They said most of the kids who were there wouldn’t go into law enforcement.”
St. Johnsaid the father of one girl attending the camp was an OHP Trooper who was killed in the line of duty.
Students are divided into four platoons at the academy.St. Johnwas one of eight girls in the blue platoon.
St. John’s days started at 5:30 a.m. and lasted until 11 p.m. Students began the day with calisthenics, chores and flag ceremonies before breakfast.
Students had to wear uniforms andSt. Johnsaid they got in trouble if they stepped outside without their cap on. The punishment was usually pushups.
During class time, the students learned about the history of the OHP and the job responsibilities of a trooper.St. Johnsaid the hands on activities were the best part of the academy.
Students got to ride in an OHP airplane and learn how troopers can clock a vehicles speed from the air.St. Johnalso got to ride in an OHP airboat and a lake patrol boat.
St. Johnsaid the emergency driving course was one of her favorite parts of the camp. She learned defensive driving and a special “shuffle steering” technique.St. Johnsaid she only knocked over a total of three cones on all the courses she navigated.
“I showed up all the boys,” she said.