Sgt. Christopher Johnson
After graduating from high school in Columbus, Ohio, I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and join the United States Air Force. After all, he had served for 21 years and I saw many of the rewards from his service to his country. During the six years I served tours of duty in Texas, Turkey, and Ohio. I was nearing the end of my enlistment and I knew I had a choice to make. Re-enlist and begin planning on a career, or find an interesting career and start over.
In July 1989, while stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, I was at the Medical Center completing a week long rotation in the Emergency Room as an EMT when I met a trooper from the Xenia Post. The trooper was investigating a motorcycle crash that occurred just outside the base gate. Upon completion of his investigation, I asked him if he had a minute to talk to me. After 30 minutes of talking to Tpr. Ferguson about all facets of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, I knew my goal was to become a state trooper. He told me about the good as well as the not so good aspects of his position. His demeanor, the crispness of his uniform, and his honesty left quite an impression on me. One month later, I walked into the State Highway Patrol Academy and requested to speak with someone about an application.
I began Academy training in May 1990, and upon graduation I was assigned to the Springfield Patrol Post. I later transferred to the Circleville Post and later accepted assignments to a Drug Interdiction Team and then plainclothes investigations. I then transferred into Recruitment and Minority Relations and served as the central Ohio field recruiter.
Being a field recruiter was a most rewarding position. I was able to visit various schools, businesses, and make contacts in the central Ohio area to spread the word about the Ohio State Highway Patrol. I was able to share my experiences with those I met and tell them about the rewarding career path I chose and that it was available to them. I found that many of the young people I contacted knew very little about the Highway Patrol’s opportunities. It was only a few months into this exciting new position that I was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the Granville Patrol Post as an assistant post commander.
While at Granville, it was rewarding to work with many young troopers who were hungry for excitement and information. Fours years later, an opening in the Recruitment and Minority Relations Office was posted for any sergeant interested in transferring to the Academy. There it was, my opportunity to go back to the office where I felt so much satisfaction. Some faces had changed over the four years, but the objective remained the same; Educate young women and men on the opportunities available with our unique organization.
Since returning to the Recruitment Office, there have been many advancements. I have traveled throughout the state hosting applicant testing sessions, conducting radio interviews, and assisting the regional field recruiters with their responsibilities. Part of my daily duties are meeting with applicants for interviews and issuing applications to those who meet our requirements. Other processing steps handled by our office include administering the written entrance examination, scheduling medical examinations, conducting physical fitness assessments and scheduling applicants for the psychological assessments.
It is a very satisfying experience looking into the eyes of young excited applicants as I tell them about life as a cadet trainee. Most appear eager and excited to get the process underway; however there are the occasional few that appear more scared than excited. Our goal is to accurately relay to the applicants that the training program requires a great deal of ambition, drive, and dedication. Those seeking the position because of the role displayed on a television show, need to significantly adjust their expectations.
I have discovered in my career with the Ohio State Highway Patrol that the single most important element that is crucial to an individual’s success is simply his or her own attitude. The core values that are instilled and recited repeatedly during the training program are not something that these young people have just learned. It is something that somewhere along the way, a parent, coach, teacher or another role model displayed and expected them to display as well. As a cadet trainee, you will fine tune these core values and base every decision and action on them. As you watch an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper, in the course of their duties, you will see these core values exhibited.
The most definitive
question about the value of my career as a state trooper that I have been
asked by an inquiring candidate was if I were to do it all over again,
would I change anything regarding my career choices. My answer was absolutely
not. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career and the camaraderie with the
people I have met along the way.