On Wednesday May 11, the Georgia State Patrol held a recruiting event in Dawsonville, giving those interested in a career with the entity a chance to meet members of the patrol, learn more about what state troopers do and see some of the department’s latest vehicles, from Camaros and Challengers to a helicopter used by the department.
The event took place at the City of Dawsonville’s farmers market pavilion, where GSP representatives were set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Troop B Recruiter Gregory Cummings said that events like the one held in Dawsonville are a great way for state troopers to get out in the community and make contact with those who are interested in potentially joining the state patrol. Wednesday’s event was the first recruiting event in the Dawsonville area.
"We always do them in Atlanta, Athens and places like that so I decided I wanted to step out of our comfort zone to do one in a place that we never go, so we decided Dawsonville,” Cummings said. “We never had one in this area before so this is our very first one.”
During the event, interested community members were able to learn about several different units under the public safety umbrella, including state troopers, aviation teams, SWAT, Criminal Interdiction Unit, dive teams, K9 teams and the motor unit.
One important thing to realize, Cummings said, is that recruits can work for any of these many units, all of which are under the same title of public safety.
“State patrol is short (staffed), so we’re really trying to get people to come on board, whether they come on with us as troopers or go to our radio room or go to our motor carrier unit — we all work for public safety,” Cummings said. “We got several different units; you don’t have to come in and just be a trooper but there’s several different things you can do.”
State patrol recruits take part in a 33-week academy to learn everything there is to know about the job. Recently, the department added a 14-week accelerated class, allowing anyone with at least two years of previous experience in law enforcement to take the shorter class instead of the longer one.
According to Cummings, a GSP job isn’t for everyone, but those who are right for the job will more often than not realize it right away.
“It’s not for everybody; you get a lot of people who try and realize ‘this job isn’t for me' but it doesn’t take long to see if this is for me or not for me,” Cummings said. “It’s tough but it’s very rewarding — you take drugs off the street and you take all the bad guys off the street so it’s rewarding.”
Cummings added that another reason the job is so rewarding is because many times GSP representatives get to go to schools to talk to the students, which he said is always great to have children so interested in the troopers’ job.
Another perk of the job, he said, is that currently GSP is the highest paying state agency, thanks to recent pay raises by the governor.
“Two years out of trooper school you’ll be looking at mid-60s, and for law enforcement that’s really great,” Cummings said. “The governor is really on board with us and he supports us one hundred percent.”
During Wednesday’s event, Cummings said that several interested community members had stopped by to chat and to learn more about the GSP. The troopers also grilled hotdogs and hamburgers to share with the community members who came by.
“We got hotdogs and hamburgers for the community; we really eat together all the time so one of our troopers grills hotdogs and hamburgers so the community can eat with us,” Cummings said.
The next GSP recruiting event will be on June 17 in Barrow County, and Cummings said that the event will be even larger than the last one.
For those who are interested in learning more about a career with the Georgia State Patrol, all of the information needed can be found at gatrooper.com. For further questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-855-DPS-7550.