Living the dream

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 22, 2002

State Trooper grads overcome obstacles

By Sajit Abraham / Selma Times – Journal

They rise at 4 a.m. Run three miles a day. Do push-ups. And then it’s off to classes.

This lasts 21 weeks &045;&045; 21 weeks without hardly getting a chance to see family, without even the comforts of home.

But no matter how hard the training may be, or how rigorous, some decide to endure it, until finally, at the end, they can call themselves State Troopers.

Come Wednesday, Andre Roper and Donald Shepard Jr., both former police officers with the Selma Police Department, will have officially earned the priviledge of wearing the title of StateTrooper.

Roper and Shepard will graduate from the Alabama State Trooper Academy during a graduation ceremony to be held in Montgomery.

Despite enduring 21 weeks of training at the Trooper Academy in Craig Field, rarely getting a chance to see family, or even to leave the base, the two graduates said it was well worth the effort.

Added Roper, &uot;This is something I always wanted to do all my life, and I have finally accomplished it.&uot;

Besides physical training, trooper trainees also receive academic training from 8 to 5 p.m., five days a week, and are required to take exams on a weekly basis.

Troopers receive training in first aid, the use of firearms, accident investigations and defensive driving.

Roper, who worked four years at the Selma Police Department before deciding to become a State Trooper, said he expected his job with the State Troopers to be much the same as his former job &045;&045; with a few exceptions.

State Troopers work 40 hours a week, usually working from Monday to Friday or Saturday to Thursday, while officers at the Selma Police Department work 12 days on and 12 days off, working 12 hours a day.

Despite the change in schedule, Roper said that &uot;altogether the hours are about the same.&uot;

The other difference, he added, is that State Troopers have a much larger area to cover than Selma Police officers.

For Shepard, the training experience proved invaluable for another reason.

Trooper spokesman Chris Ellis said the new graduates will get some time off after graduation, and will begin their duties Nov. 2.