By David Madden and Syma Chowdhry
GLASSBORO, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey State Police are hosting recruitment events throughout the state.
Top New Jersey criminal justice officials traveled to Glassboro, NJ, on Thursday to meet with more than 50 Rowan University students who are pondering careers in law enforcement.
It’s all part of a recruitment drive aimed to not just bolster the ranks of the state police, but to diversify it geographically as well.
Students attending the session are pursuing law and justice degrees, and most are at least considering applying to become a state trooper.
“Down here in South Jersey is really the lion’s share of our rural policing responsibilities, so it’s very important to us,” explained Colonel Rick Fuentes.
Acting New Jersey attorney general John Hoffman (photo below) notes a particular need for greater numbers of South Jersey residents to join the force. But he added this cautionary note:
“This is not a job. It is a calling. It is a vocation. If doing something like this is only in your head and it’s not in your heart and it’s not in your soul, it’s not for you.”
“We want the leadership of the state, which is the state police, to reflect the diversity and to reflect the character and the composition of the state. It’s very important; it’s the only way law enforcement can be effective and can be trusted,” Hoffman added.
State police are also reaching out to potential candidates through social media.
“We would certainly be remiss if we didn’t take advantage of that,” Fuentes said.
If you’re accepted for the next cadet class, he added, you commit six months of your life to a rigorous training program.
But there are more than a hundred career paths available to troopers, Hoffman noted, not just patrol work.
Students interested in law enforcement understand the value they’d bring to the community.
“Being able to relate to people, you need to have a diverse group of people in order to deal with the public in general,” student Alex Woyshner said.
Applications are being taken online through May 5th at njtrooper.com.