MHP prepares ICC criminal justice students for trooper academy with new program

The C.O.R.E. program gives students a look at what it takes to be a MHP trooper

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Students at Itawamba Community College who want a career with the Mississippi Highway Patrol are getting a look at what it takes to prepare for the academy.

On an abandoned runway at the Tupelo airport,  Mississippi Highway Patrol driving instructor Master Sergeant Sedrick Jackson is showing ICC criminal justice students how it’s done.

The students are part of MHP’s  ‘Candidates on Rapid Entry.” – or CORE – program.

CORE allows students to pursue a degree in criminal justice while meeting twice a week with MHP troopers.

“We do meet every Tuesday and Thursday morning, with a PT program that begins at 5;30, it lasts about an hour, hour and a half.  From there every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon we have a class time portion that takes them through academically what they’re learning in college,” said Trooper Heath Mullins, who oversees the C.O.R.E. program.

For this session, CORE students were able to ride along with Master Sergeant Jackson, as he maneuvered through the course.

ICC President Dr Jay Allen says the school’s partnership with MHP has many benefits for everyone involved.

“Our criminal justice program is very strong, but what a great opportunity to provide future cadets for trooper patrol academy, the opportunity to build a strong foundation for criminal justice, the science behind it, understand social issues and create critical thinkers,” Dr. Allen said.

When a candidate graduates from the CORE program, they are guaranteed a spot in the trooper academy. But the rest is up to them.

“I can get you in the school, and it’s up to you whether you stay, but by the time you finish the program, hopefully, you’re prepared mentally, physically to where you can take that step and finish it for yourself,” Trooper Mullins said.

Students say the CORE program has prepared them for that next step.

“Opens our eyes to see what is going to be done in the academy and gives us a step above the people who don’t know what’s going on,” said Richard Lilly.

“The CORE program is very enlightening, it shows you different things in the MHP you can go for,” said Madison McIntosh.

Earlier this year, MHP was about 140 troopers short of the number allotted by the state.

It is hoped the CORE program will help bring that number down.

For now, ICC is the only school offering the CORE program.  However, there are plans to expand CORE to other community colleges.


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