It’s easy to get caught up in the comradery of the Wyoming Highway Patrol cadets who are taking part in a new program recently added at Laramie County Community College.
The 10 men who gather in room 217 of the Flex Tech building at LCCC are from all over the country, but they all speak the same language: The language of law enforcement.
They’re here as part of a new partnership LCCC has with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Wyoming Department of Transportation to provide educational and training space for the cadets while also enrolling them as students.
The trooper cadets have a two-step journey in becoming a trooper. They begin their 12-week POST training (police officer and standards training) in Douglas at the Law Enforcement Academy, then they transfer down to Cheyenne and LCCC for 14 weeks of Wyoming Highway Patrol specific training.
Sgt. Leo Ferguson oversees the trooper cadets and was instrumental in getting the program off of the ground. Ferguson saw a need for the training to be closer to Cheyenne, the location of the patrol’s headquarters. LCCC is ideal for the project because the college has available training and residential space, he said. Previously the training was held at Camp Guernsey approximately 100 miles north of Cheyenne.
LCCC benefits from having the trooper cadets at the school because their presence is a deterrent for would-be law breakers and scoundrels even if they are here as students and not officers. In case of emergency the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office will still be first responders.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the college to partner with the community and the state to provide educational opportunities for students who might not otherwise enter our hallways or classrooms,” said Lisa Trimble, associate vice president of institutional advancement. “We are a community college at our roots, so our role and our responsibilities is to serve our communities around the state.”
Beginning in January cadets in the program began living in our residence halls. They will be enjoying the on-campus services that we have including our dining hall and recreation facilities. They pay full tuition just like any other student at LCCC. When the classes are completed and the trooper passes the Wyoming Department of Transportation reimburses them for the cost of the class.
There are 208 troopers in the Wyoming Highway Patrol, and right now there are 12 vacancies to be filled after this class ends on March 26. The next class to begin at LCCC starts on Aug. 3.
The highway patrol will also rent facilities here for in-service training many times throughout the year, which will include 20-30 veteran officers that will converge from throughout the state. There will be periodic training exercises taking place on campus. Students will be notified via Canvas when these take place.
Brian Wilson, Dean of Math and Science, and Jodi Weppner, instructor/coordinator for Justice Studies, put together the curriculum for the program. There is also work being done to implement a patrol peace officer degree for the fall of 2021 that will align with the training trooper cadets are participating in. It is the hope of those at the school that many of these cadets will continue on at LCCC to receive their associates degree and possibly a BAS (bachelor of applied science).