Expanding Access for Prospective Law Enforcement Officers in Pennsylvania

In a move aimed at broadening opportunities for aspiring law enforcement officers, Governor Josh Shapiro recently announced the removal of the 60-credit minimum requirement for state trooper applicants in Pennsylvania. During a news conference, Governor Shapiro emphasized the importance of welcoming individuals who wish to serve in the state’s premier law enforcement agency, emphasizing that the door of opportunity is open for all who are interested in joining the team.

The decision to eliminate the college credit requirement stems from a desire to recognize the diverse range of life experiences and abilities that can contribute to success within the rigorous cadet training program. The administration believes that this change will enable a more inclusive pool of candidates to pursue careers in law enforcement.

Colonel Christopher Paris, the Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, stressed the significance of recruiting individuals dedicated to serving the people of Pennsylvania. He acknowledged the critical need to diversify the agency’s workforce to better reflect the communities it serves, a goal that has gained prominence amid increased global scrutiny of law enforcement practices.

Critics of police brutality and paramilitary culture contend that increasing the number of officers is not enough; the focus should also be on cultivating a force that upholds ethical standards and values. Commissioner Paris emphasized the importance of recruiting individuals who will consistently do the right thing, even when no one is watching, underscoring the agency’s commitment to public service.

Over the past few years, the Pennsylvania State Police has experienced a significant decline in the number of applicants, mirroring a nationwide trend. In 2019, the agency received approximately 8,000 applications, a number that dwindled to 1,800 by 2023.

First Lady Lori Shapiro has been a staunch advocate for achieving gender parity within the force, as women currently comprise less than 10% of the state’s 4,000 troopers.

The removal of the college credit requirement, which had been in place since the 1990s, brings the Pennsylvania State Police in line with the majority of state jobs that do not require a college degree. According to Governor Shapiro, over 92% of state jobs, totaling more than 65,000 positions, are accessible to individuals without a degree. This change addresses concerns about staffing shortages and low college enrollment in the state.

Troopers entering the academy must meet several requirements, including being at least 21 years old, residing within the state, possessing a high school diploma or GED, and holding a valid driver’s license. Before commencing their training, candidates must successfully pass written exams, background checks, and various screenings, including physical, psychological, and medical assessments.

The elimination of the college credit requirement, like other hiring practices, will undergo regular evaluation by the state to assess its effectiveness.

The move by Pennsylvania to remove the college credit requirement for state trooper applicants is part of a broader effort to create a more diverse and inclusive law enforcement agency that continues to uphold the highest standards of public service. It reflects the state’s commitment to welcoming individuals from various backgrounds and experiences who are eager to serve their communities as law enforcement officers.


Ann Marie Moore obituary 1944-2023

Ann is a lifelong member of St. John Lutheran Church in Fairfield, and a member and past president of AORN (Association of periOperative Registered Nurses).

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