In 2006, the Indiana State Police hired 65 new troopers. Under an effort led by Gov. Mitch Daniels, the department hired 205 in 2007. The department now stands at 1,293 of those who wear badges for the state.

Recruits undergo a 24-week academy to skills related to firearms use, defensive tactics, emergency vehicle operation, crash investigations, criminal law and traffic law. They’re paid about $1,400 biweekly before going on the road.

The cost of a trooper includes everything from the wheels on the road to health benefits. The Herald Bulletin tracked down the cost of new troopers.

However, the real value is in the service they provide.

Trooper Matt Wilson:

The 25-year-old Greenfield Central High School graduate joined the Indiana State Police in January 2007. He grew up around Fortville, and currently lives in Hancock County.

Where do you currently work?

“I mostly patrol Madison County. I work a little bit of Hancock County, also.”

Why did you join the ISP?

“I joined the state police because, to me, it was the pinnacle in law enforcement. I wanted to be part of the tradition of this department.”

Why did you want to go into law enforcement?

“My brother is in law enforcement. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to help the public as much as I could.”

What’s been your favorite part of the job so far?

“I’d have to say I like to have the freedom to go where I want to go. If I want, I can help a city department, or if I want, I can assist the county. I like arresting a lot of drinkers and drivers. I like to get the drunks.”

Have you had any unusual experiences so far?

“Not yet. Not too much yet. I had a guy who was so drunk while driving that he urinated on himself.”

Master Trooper Al Willis:

The 46-year-old state police veteran grew up in Indianapolis and during his more than two decades on the force has served on the security details of two former governors, Joe Kernan and Frank O’Bannon. Willis was with O’Bannon when O’Bannon suffered a stroke while in Chicago. The govenor died four days later.

Where do you currently work?

“My main responsibility is Madison (County). But if we have more than enough coverage, I patrol Hancock and Hamilton counties.”

Why did you join the ISP?

“I was in the Marine Corps, and when I got out I looked at the various (law enforcement) agencies. To me, the ISP appeared to be the most professional. That’s how I operate; I treat people with respect.”

Why did you want to go into law enforcement?

“I acually went downtown (Indianapolis) to apply for Pinkerton’s Security and saw that the ISP was hiring. I looked at their benefits and knew eventually I was going to want to start a family.”

What’s been your favorite part of the job so far?

“Everyday is something different. My most enjoyable moment was being on the governor’s security detail. I got to go to other states, The White House, Bosnia. I met a couple of presidents.”

Have you had any unusual experiences so far?

“My worst experience was that day in Chicago with Gov. O’Bannon. I picked him up in Indianapolis, drove to Chicago and took him to a couple of events. I talked to him at his (hotel) door that night and that was the last time I talked to him, well, at least that he could understand.”

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The price tag for clothes:

Boots/shoes — $62

Trousers — $50

Hat — $61

Winter shirt — $71

Glock handgun — $480

Duty belt — $35

Magazine holder - $20

Mace holder — $15

Handcuff case — $14

Glove pouch — $5

Duty holster — $62

Mace — $8

Baton — $36

Handcuffs — $26

Kevlar body armor — $355

The costs to ride:

2008 Crown Victoria — $20,600

Light bar - $1,000

Siren/speaker - $510

In-car video equipment — $5,000

Remington 12-gauge shotgun — $300

Shotgun rack — $250

In-car computer — $1,400

Computer mounts — $700

Defibrillator — $2,000

Digital camera — $350

Speed-timing radar — $1,250

Stop stick — $250

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