Highway Patrol to Host Recruitment Event in Morganton Chick-fil-A | Crime News
Every industry has been hit hard by staffing shortages, and enforcement is no different.
That’s why the North Carolina State Highway Patrol will hold recruiting events Friday at eight Chick-fil-A restaurants across the state, including the one in Morganton on Burkemont Avenue.
Private CM Casey, who is stationed in Lincoln County and covers Lincoln, Burke and Catawba counties, is one of the state troopers who will be on hand for the event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re about 200 troops short right now,” Casey said. “We need qualified candidates. It’s no secret that right now we’re in the midst of a hiring crisis. That’s why we host events like the Chick-fil-A event just to hang out, connect with people, let people know we’re hiring, answer their questions, and just meet people. Just to go out and be seen, and let people know, ‘hey, this is who we are, this is what we are, this is what we do.’
“We just reach out to people to let them know we’re hiring and what we’re looking for,” Casey said. “We thought everyone was going to Chick-fil-A, so why not go to Chick-fil-A? Fortunately, they were kind enough to let us come for a few hours.
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Casey said the patrol is looking for diverse and qualified applicants between the ages of 21 and 39 to fill the call for duty. It means people who can mentally and physically handle the job, he said, and who have a passion for serving their community.
“It’s a tough decision right now, and it’s tough work,” Casey said.
Applicants do not need prior law enforcement experience, Casey said. The patrol has two basic school options: the long school, which lasts 27 weeks, and the short school, which lasts only 14 weeks.
Long School students will earn both their basic law enforcement training and the additional training they need to become soldiers. The short school is for people who are already in law enforcement or who have completed the BLET on their own and need the additional training soldiers receive.
To sweeten the deal, the Patrol pays its recruits an annual salary of $44,500 while they are in one of the Patrol School programs. Once they finish patrol school, Casey said they get a $4,000 raise. The health and 401K benefits come into play from day one.
“A lot of people think, ‘hey, I just don’t know if I can do this,'” Casey said. “Listen, we’ll walk you through the process to the application process. We’ll send you to patrol school, make sure you’re well trained. So if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and talk to us.
Casey said he wanted to be in law enforcement since he was a kid.
“I always wanted, ever since I was young, to do something in law enforcement,” Casey said. “I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I went right out of high school and absolutely loved the Marine Corps and the military aspect of it, just the camaraderie.
He went to church with a state trooper who really encouraged him to apply.
“He really talked to me, pushed me and told me to go apply,” Casey said. “It was in 2005… It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. Highway Patrol has always piqued my interest.
He said he stayed with the patrol because every day brings an opportunity to help someone.
“You see people at their worst time and at their best time,” Casey said. “You meet people who sometimes need your help and you are able to help them. You help a lot of people with regard to people’s safety. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad people out there and you have to get them out of the way.
He said he worked with a good group of people and liked that the work was often self-initiated.
“Sometimes you work alone or just a few other soldiers in the county, and depending on the county, you can work in a large county,” Casey said. “I like that you can just go out and do your thing.”
Trooper JD Ellis, who is assigned to Burke County, came to the patrol after spending time working in another industry. He said the pieces fell into place for him to become a soldier, and he enjoyed the last three years he worked for the agency.
“Everything went according to plan and everything happened for a reason,” Ellis said.
He said he enjoyed the camaraderie.
“Going into general law enforcement was just something I wanted to get involved in,” Ellis said. “The simple fact of being able to do something more than working in a place with four walls.”