PSP better preparing future cadets, saving taxpayer money

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DERRY TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Police trying to save taxpayer money at its academy. Prospective cadets are now getting a look at what academy life will be like. Leaders believe it will improve retention rates and in turn save money.

The PSP Cadet Academy is rigorous. With 5 a.m. wake-up calls, workouts and duties on top of classwork, not everyone who comes to The Hill completes the academy.

"The reason the training is so rigorous is we are trying to prepare our cadets to be troopers," said Lt. Robert Bailey, PSP Recruitment Services Commander. "You should be able to handle yourself in situations where someone comes in your direction, where you can handle yourself while also protecting others."

With about a 20 percent attrition rate in the last five cadet classes, PSP now offering cadet life days, giving soon-to-be cadets a glimpse into what their lives will be like. A cadet class of 120 costs $4.2 million and every cadet that leaves the 28-week program is wasted money. So by offering cadet life day, it will help weed out the ones who aren't prepared while also saving money.

"We can refill those positions by having somebody else come in," said Lt. Bailey. "And not waste taxpayer money."

Having this day for prospective cadets not only weeds out the ones not ready, but gets those who actually are, more prepared.

"I'm definitely a lot more comfortable and confident about coming here in a month," said Tara Gassenmeyer, future cadet. "It feels good to see the environment that I'm going to be training in and living in for as long as I will be here."

The next cadet class begins at the end of February.

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