Four new troopers are joining the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP).
The troopers are to take the places of other new troopers who joined the post late last year, as they have gotten assignments closer to their homes, Wapakoneta Post Commander Lt. Scott Carrico said.
The local post is expecting to gain a fifth new trooper from the next graduating class in April, to replace another trooper leaving in September. The four other troopers are scheduled to leave at the end of May.
“Once all the training and transfers finish up, we will have 15 troopers for Auglaize and Mercer counties,” Carrico said.
The new trooper total is an increase from eight from the same time last year, due to transfers and speciality positions that were not previously filled.
“We are just getting caught back up statewide with these new classes graduating,” Carrico said. “We were that far behind as a result of retirements that could not be replaced.”
The newest troopers were members of the OSHP’s latest academy class, which graduated in February after 22 weeks of intense paramilitary training. Courses completed by the 81 graduates included core values, crash investigation, criminal and traffic law, detection of impaired motorists, firearms, physical fitness, self-defense and motor vehicle operations.
The troopers first 60 working days are a field-training period under the guidance of a veteran officer.
Six of the new troopers received special honors for top performance in various fields of study at the Patrol Academy, including Jeremiah Smith, of Jackson Center, who has been assigned to the Wapakoneta Post and was honored for top performance in academics.
Smith, 25, said it was a personal accomplishment and goal, but that he couldn’t have achieved it without the other 80 individuals in his class, who aided him in achieving the goal because of their stiff professional competition, support, and the numerous hours they spend studying together.
A graduate of Jackson Center High School and Wright State University, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Smith said he wanted to be a trooper because the job is ever changing and means never meeting the same people.
“I wanted to help more people because traveling can be a stressful thing and if you get stranded, being able to render aid can ease the stress,” Smith said. “The job has exceeded my expectations. It’s a tough job, but being a new trooper on post, the thing I enjoy most about the job is interacting with various people.”
He said as he goes through his career, he has set his sights on a couple other awards, the Criminal Patrol Award, for investigations of felony cases leading to felony arrests, and the Ace Award, earned by recovering five stolen vehicles and apprehending suspects on-the-spot during a calendar year.
The son of Vicki and Tim Smith is engaged to Ashley Baumer. The Port Jefferson resident also has a sister, Rebekah Smith.
Brandon Chaney, 23, a 2008 graduate of Shawnee High School, in Springfield, and a 2012 graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, also has a younger brother, Cody Chaney, who is attending Wright State University and wants to be a trooper. They are the sons of Diane and Richard Chaney.
A resident of Bellefontaine, Brandon Chaney said he always wanted to have a successful law enforcement career.
“What better way to do that than with the Ohio State Highway Patrol,” Chaney said. “The job is much more fast paced than I expected.”
He said balancing all of the day’s duties can be challenging. What he enjoys most is helping disabled vehicles, whether changing a flat tire or providing fuel or a ride for a stranded motorist.
Chaney said he would like to work with one of the patrol’s criminal units as he goes through his career and eventually becomes a K-9 handler.
A single father with a 4-year-old son, Joseph Nartker, 32, of Anna, has prior experience having served five years as a probation officer and bailiff at Sidney Municipal Court.
Nartker, who grew up in Beavercreek, earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from City Colleges of Chicago and served five years in the U.S. Navy.
He said he wanted to be a trooper to serve the citizens of Ohio and referred to it as a great honor and privilege.
“I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Nartker said.
He said so far, the job is exactly what he expected it would be.
“My first goal is to learn the job,” Nartker said. “My second goal is to be the best trooper that I can be.”
Jeffrey Evans, 26, lives in Marysville, but calls Hilliard his hometown. The son of Patty and Jeff Evans has a twin sister, Jen, and another sister, Christy.
He has spent time as a Manger of Discount Tire and served four years in the U.S. Marines infantry.
Evans said he wanted to be a trooper to “stay with the best” and continue living the military lifestyle.
So far, the job is what he expected, he said.
“Every stop is different,” Evans said.
Looking into the future, he said he would like to become a K-9 handler, as he was in Iraq, and try to earn the Ace award.