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Prospective UHP troopers go through initial phase

Posted at 10:16 PM, Feb 08, 2020

MURRAY, Utah — Dozens of applicants who are hoping to become troopers with the Utah Highway Patrol put their skills to the test in the first step of the hiring process.

UHP currently has more than 30 positions available.

The men and women applying for the jobs must first pass a physical fitness yest.

“I’ve been working out for a few months and running a lot,” said Austin Walker of Lindon.

He is applying to become a trooper because he feels a calling to law enforcement.

“I am ready to have a career that will make a difference in people's lives,” Walker said. “I’ve had other jobs in the past and they haven’t given me that fulfillment I need.”

These recruits represent the future of the Utah Highway Patrol.

They are tested on their jumping ability, push-ups, sit-ups and a one and a half mile run.

As he watched the young adults take the test, Lt. Col. Mark Zesiger, a 26-year veteran of UHP, couldn’t help but remember his tryout.

“Back in those times, the economy was rough. When I showed up for the testing, there were over 1800 people that showed up,” Zesiger said.

Things may be different now, as Utah’s strong economy is shrinking the pool of people looking for a job. But one thing that has not changed is the strict requirements each applicant must meet before they put on a UHP uniform.

“We need to make sure we are hiring the right people.” Zesiger said. “This is very foot in the door. This is the first time we have gotten to meet them.”

Recruits who pass the physical fitness test are then advanced to the interview stage.

“I am too pumped. I am too excited,” said Chris Hunt, a recruit who flew to Utah from New York with the dream of becoming a trooper. “I’m not nervous. I feel pretty good.”

The applicants will also go through a thorough background check and more training if they are hired.

“I want a career where I can actually impact someone’s life on a daily basis,” Hunt said.

If they meet all the requirements and pass all the tests, the recruits could become troopers in four to six months.

“I am excited for them,” Zesiger said. “I am excited for the opportunities they are going to have and the things they are going to see.”

UHP expects to have several recruitments throughout the year.