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State police entice veterans to join ranks

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State police hope to entice active military personnel, veterans and full-time cops to join its ranks by allowing them to replace college credits with work experience.

Gov. Tom Corbett announced on Wednesday that, effective immediately, state police cadets can get a waiver on some, or all, of required college credits if they served in the military or law enforcement for a certain amount of time.

State police Commissioner Frank Noonan said many members of the military have what it takes to be state troopers.

“The veterans we are trying to reach have the skill set, discipline and training which could lead to an easy transition from the military to law enforcement,” he said, “but many excellent candidates who come out of the military have been excluded because they do not meet the current college eligibility requirements.”

With the change, the agency can waive the entire 60-credit requirement for applicants with four years of active military duty and an honorable discharge or four years of law enforcement experience.

Applicants with two years of military or law enforcement experience can get a waiver on 30 of the 60 college credits.

Air Force Capt. Nick Megyesi, operations officer for security forces at the 911th Airlift Wing in Coraopolis, called it “an excellent idea.”

“Police forces are run like a military force,” he said. “They have things such as roll call, a uniform code and physical fitness requirements that match the day-to-day standards members of the military must follow.

“It's great somebody coming out of the military with training that falls in line with a profession in law enforcement will not have to put their lives on hold to go to school.”

Trooper Robin Mungo, an Army veteran, said her military training made it easy for her to make the transition to law enforcement.

“I knew exactly what to expect,” she said. “I wasn't shocked the first time I saw a drill instructor, and I didn't have to think about learning things like how to stand at attention and who and when to salute.”

Applicants must meet age requirements, pass written, oral and physical-fitness exams, take a polygraph test and undergo a background investigation and medical and psychological evaluations.

The starting annual salary for state troopers is $54,497.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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