S/Lt. Brenda Collins
An Ohio state trooper’s major responsibility is to patrol the roadways and keep the citizen’s safe, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. I graduated from the Training Academy in the 116th class, where I was assigned to the Portsmouth post as a trooper. In 1987, I was somewhat of a novelty with the citizens, since I was the first woman trooper assigned to the post.
The work ethic that was instilled in me as a child was put to work while I was learning my new job. When people see that you do your job effectively and professionally just like your male counterparts, the novelty soon wears off. Treating people with respect, along with fair but firm enforcement, is a way of life for Ohio state troopers. It doesn’t matter whether you are man or a woman; the job of state trooper remains the same. When you are dispatched to a traffic crash, it is your job to take control of the situation and investigate how the crash occurred. You may have to deliver the bad news to a family member that their loved one has been killed in a traffic crash. Or you may have to arrest the biggest, most notorious criminal in the area.
I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career as an Ohio state trooper. I currently hold the rank of Staff Lieutenant, where I serve as one of two inspecting officers. As an inspecting officer, I have the opportunity to travel to every Highway Patrol post across the state to ensure our policies and procedures are being followed. I have been involved in many different aspects of the Division. I have served as a cadet dispatcher (my first job with the Patrol), a road trooper, an Academy instructor, a criminal patrol trooper, a plainclothes investigator, the Division’s public information officer, a commander of the Recruitment section and the Fremont Post Commander.
I am married to Colonel Richard Collins, Patrol superintendent. We have two grown sons and a 2-year-old granddaughter. Being married to another Highway Patrol officer has its advantages. We have been able to learn for each other experiences, but the most important advantage is we understand how much the job entails. We understand the 24-hour requirements and the fact one of us may have to work overtime to complete the task we are working on.
My extended family also understands the nature of my job and we have always been able to work in the holidays and special celebrations. It is important to have the support of your family members. They live with your choice to be a state trooper, just as you do. The demands of the job will affect them sometimes more than the demands will affect you. For instance, working the midnight shift will have a big impact on your home life. You will be working during the night and sleeping (or trying to sleep) during the day. The decision to become a trooper should be discussed in-depth with the people you live with every day.
The advice I would offer to somebody that wants to be an Ohio state trooper is to really investigate the job and make sure you really understand what the job entails. The job is around the clock duty in all types of weather, including the worst weather. In fact, you may be the only one on the road during bad weather. While the job is demanding, it is also very rewarding. You won’t find better people to work with than the people that are a part of the Highway Patrol family.
Our employees hold strong core values, such as honesty, professionalism, self-discipline and adaptability. But even more important, the members of the Highway Patrol are a family. This very demanding job can sometimes be a heavy weight to carry, but the other members of your post help you to carry the weight.
roadways safe for the citizens of Ohio is truly at the heart of every
member of the Highway Patrol. Should you decide you want to be an Ohio
state trooper, I wish you luck and look forward to meeting you someday.