Washington State Patrol Narrows Down Trooper Applicants - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington State Patrol Narrows Down Trooper Applicants

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The Washington State Patrol continues to search for a few good men and women.

They want to hire more than 300 troopers in the next five years to replace the large number of troopers who are retiring.

At WorkSource in Kennewick, the interview portion of application process for the Washington State Patrol began Monday. Applicants answered questions in front of an interview panel filled with lieutenants and sergeants.

Each phase of the process whittles down the numbers as they work to find the next class of troopers.

Monday, hopefuls who want to serve as troopers in the Washington State Patrol sat down to talk with an interview panel.

It's phase two of the application process, following the physical and written exams.

"Think. We want to know the level of common sense. A lot of this job is really basically common sense," said Trooper Chris Thorson, Washington State Patrol.

This application round started with 76 people and dropped to 24 by the interviews phase.

Trooper Thorson says they usually lose half after the interviews.

"They ensure they get the right applicant based on the four phases process. So I think because of that you know you're joining something a little bit bigger than just the normal job out there," said Al Schilling, an applicant interviewing Monday.

But the State Patrol has also discovered a road block that's eliminating many people along the way.

"Washington State Patrol has seen a rise in prescription pill use. We want to remind all applicants when they apply and not make it a secret that, in fact, it is a felony if you take someone else's prescription drug and that's not prescribed to you," Thorson said.

Applicants can't use or possess prescription drugs that aren't theirs within 10 years of applying.

If people lie, they'll catch them in the polygraph test that follows the interview.

Other drug use ranges from three to ten years before a person can apply, and there's no tolerance for drugs like heroin. DUIs and selling or transporting drugs are also deal-breakers.

Schilling says he's taking the process seriously. He just retired from the Air Force and would be honored to become a trooper.

"Being able to continue that with a professional organization like the Washington State Patrol. The way they dress, the way they care about each other and care about the citizens. It just seems like something I'm already destined for," Schilling said.

The State Patrol will be holding recruitment sessions every two to three months here in the Tri-Cites.

After the first two phases, applicants head over to Olympia for a polygraph, background check and psychological and medical examinations.

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