CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – It takes dedication, hard work and service to be a member of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and troopers get a lot of support from people behind the scenes.
Ohio troopers are constantly on the road, and there is a group that supports them in many ways. It’s an all-volunteer force of auxiliary officers.
“It’s not just to control traffic at a special event in a parking lot,” said Sgt. Ray Santiago. “There are times when they’ll ride along in a cruiser and work right alongside us during a holiday weekend.”
The auxiliary has a rich history. It was created in 1942 during World War II as the Patrol was losing troopers.
“We were being sent to war and enlisting, so that created a need at home for some of those safety services that we were providing,” Santiago said.
The auxiliary started mainly as American Legion members who had already served, were less likely to be re-enlisted, and had the experience. Today, the auxiliary supplements local post operations with people who know their neighbors.
“So, they understand what the community needs are, and they understand where some of the problem areas are,” said Lt. Les Brode, with the Lisbon Post.
Auxiliary members go to an academy and need to log 120 hours per year to remain active. It’s a great resource for troopers.
“They can go back to the community, and they can tell the community how we interact with the general public. How we interact during situations,” Brode said.
Ohio has just under 100 auxiliary members statewide. Some even work security at Ohio State football games, but all of them play an important role in helping troopers.
“It’s literally having a backup officer with you, and it’s someone that’s there for the sole purpose of wanting to give back,” Santiago said.
Current requirements to become an Auxiliary are:
- Must have valid Ohio driver license
- Age 21-57 (except for retired OSHP officers)
- Good physical condition
- High school diploma or GED
- No felony convictions
- Pass a background investigation
- Pre-employment polygraph exam
- Ability to communicate in a clear manner
- Availability for training and service
You can find more information about the program and how to apply online.