By DAVID GREEN
The 5:30 a.m. wake-ups were more than a little difficult for a high school senior, but Shelby Franks met the challenge.
On June 28, he was one of 20 former Boys’ State delegates to graduate from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Junior Cadet Week program.
He applied for the program while attending Boys’ State earlier in June and was interviewed by a Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) officers.
He figures his strong interest in law enforcement gave him an advantage over other candidates since he was only one of 20 chosen. The program was also attended by 20 Girls’ State representatives plus a handful of seniors who are children of OSHP officers.
The program is scheduled annually at the patrol academy in Columbus and is designed to resemble the real thing.
Every day started the same: Up at 5:30, a challenging physical activity at 6, a one-minute shower, then breakfast.
After that, activities varied from day to day. There was a fair amount of classroom work and a whole lot of hands-on action.
For Shelby, the best activity involved a driving simulation with two cadets and a pair of troopers—and, of course, the bad guys.
“We had to get out of the car and take control of the situation before they did,” he said.
Control was taken via paintball pistols, but the bad guys didn’t let it get easy. They changed their tactics every time to simulate the unknown situation an officer could face in real-life action.
“That was pretty challenging because the troopers are really quick,” he said.
Building searches on the academy’s campus also proved a favorite of Shelby’s.
Other activities included self defense, K-9 units and weapons. The OSHP’s version of a SWAT team—the Special Response Team—gave a demonstration of its gear.
“They keep it pretty much like the actual academy,” Shelby said.
That includes getting yelled at for doing something wrong, keeping your room clean, making those 45° folds look sharp at the corner of the mattress and learning to march. And that dreaded 5:30 a.m. awakening.
“It was definitely intense,” he said, but definitely worthwhile.
After he finishes high school next year, he intends to enroll in the criminal justice program at either OSU, the University of Toledo or Tiffin University. He’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then he’ll be off to the academy for the real thing, although not necessarily with the highway patrol.
He knows some college programs offer internships at agencies such as the F.B.I., and that sounds good to him.
His week at the academy let him know he’s on the right track.
“It gave me really good insight into the field,” Shelby said. “I definitely want to go into criminal justice.”