OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Across the country, law enforcement agencies are looking for people willing to step up to serve and here in Oklahoma, OHP is no exception.

They currently need hundreds of troopers and are searching for the right people for the job.

One thing about OHP is they say their troopers are always ready to serve and they know there are many folks in the state who fit that description.

“The trooper that broke me in worked at Home Depot before he was a trooper,” said Trooper Eric Foster with OHP. “It doesn’t matter. We’re looking for someone that wants to help people and that that self-initiated person that doesn’t have to be told what to do, they know what to do.”

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Foster says it’s that character he saw in other troopers that drew him to the force.

“They were a different type of person,” Foster said.

And that’s the type of person OHP is hoping will apply for their upcoming academy in July as they look to fill about 300 openings.

It’s a problem across the country and the state – a shortage of people stepping up to wear the badge.

We told you just last month – OKCPD raised its starting pay 24% to $62,000 plus a $10,000 signing bonus.

“We’re all competing for the same individuals, you know, that are looking for police jobs,” said Chief Wade Gourley. “So, we have to do things to make ourselves competitive.”

For OHP, starting cadets will make around $56,000 per year.

“We top out at seven years of service,” Foster said. “So at seven years you’ll make $97,000.”

Foster says a recent pay raise from the state legislature – as well as support from the community is drawing people from across the country to apply – as they continue to seek out those with a heart for helping.

“The citizens of the state of Oklahoma support law enforcement and specifically law enforcement that is out there to help people – and that’s what the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is about,” said Foster.

College credit hour requirements have changed for OHP.

Previously you needed 62 to apply – but now, through a partnership with OSU-OKC, you only need 24 – as graduates of OHP’s academy will qualify for up to 38 hours for their degree.

The deadline to apply for July’s academy is March 3rd.

You can find more information or to apply, visit OHP’s website.