Many of today’s police recruits lack the military background that was typical at some points in the past, says the Hartford Courant in a feature story on the life of Connecticut state police trainees. Twenty years ago, almost everyone who entered law enforcement was in their early 20s and had served in the military. In recent years, the state police have been accepting more candidates who are older, have no military experience, and who chose law enforcement as a second career. They arrive for training more mature but less disciplined and unfamiliar with a highly structured environment.
Public Safety Commissioner Leonard Boyle said state police serve a diverse population and must hire troopers from different backgrounds. “Having people from those backgrounds provides us with a better understanding of the world we are serving,” Boyle said. “In general, having people who have a little bit more life experience brings a certain degree of maturity.” Trainee Robert Byrnes 48, is a former house builder and convenience store owner. Since high school, Byrnes had been his own boss. No one told him what to do or when to do it. Now every moment was orchestrated. “Nothing prepares you for this. Nothing at all,” he said. “My age didn’t help. I was stuck in my ways.”