MS-HighwayPatrol 05-08 0227

JACKSON – The Mississippi Highway Patrol wants to increase the number of female troopers in its ranks.

The agency hopes the current recruiting drive for its upcoming cadet training class in August will help meet that goal.

“The patrol would benefit by having more females, especially when it comes to dealing with female drivers,” said Trooper Ola Kirk, who has been on the force for 18 years.

Kirk is among the 11 female troopers on the 562-person force.

Charles Coleman, director of recruitment for the Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, said the agency has “given out 350 applications” to women.

Coleman expects the next training class to start with between 75 and 85 recruits. Coleman said 35 women have applied for the 20-week class.

Kirk said women may be hesitant to become state troopers because of the physical training required, but she urged them not to allow that to stop them.

Coleman said two recruiters from each of the nine Highway Patrol districts have gone to community and senior colleges to attract potential troopers.

Starting salary for a state trooper is $31,914.