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Photo courtesy of KHP

professional throughout the entire traffic stop, and he left a

lasting impression on me.”

What makes this story even better?WhenDarrin applied

for the Kansas Highway Patrol, guess who completed his

background check? You guessed it, retired Master Trooper

Lowell Scott!

More than 16 years later in his KHP career, Darrin

got his first chance to be a FTO, which actually made him

nervous. He wasn’t sure who was more nervous, him or

his trainee! Part of his nervousness was because he did

not know what to expect. Therefore, he combined what he

learned at the FTO class with experiences from his time

as a trainee and prayed for the best. Another reason for his

nervousness was the burden of responsibility that weighed

on him to not only get himself home to his family each

day, but also his trainee. He was confident the rest would

fall into place while Tyler was being molded into the fine

trooper he is turning out to be.

When Darrin first met Tyler his first thought was, “This

fella is tall and skinny, and he better put my seat back

where it was at the end of the shift!” At the beginning, he

was clearly the FTO, but by the end of their time together

Darrin said Tyler felt like his partner. He enjoyed seeing

Tyler’s motivation and progress growing into a road


After all these years as a trooper, the FTO process gave

him a fresh perspective of things through another opinion,

and he found that he had things to offer and teach Tyler.

Darrin says the most important part of the FTO time is

“going over what they can do and what they can’t do, as

soon as they sit down in your car!” He said whether you

volunteer, or are assigned, each FTO has the responsibility

to mold the trainee into being a part of an elite law

enforcement agency and to help them build on what they

have learned at the academy.

Since his time as a FTO, Darrin has transferred from

Troop H into Troop I as a Motor Carrier Safety Assistance

Program (MCSAP) weight enforcement trooper. He has

been married to his wife for 19 years and they have three

children. He is stationed in Montgomery County.

Tyler’s second FTOwas Lieutenant Mike O’Hara. Mike

joined the KHP in January 2004 as a member of class #40.

As with both other men, Mike had several influences in his

life that led to his decision to be a trooper. Growing up in

Massachusetts, Mike always wanted to be a state trooper.

His uncle retired as a lieutenant with the Massachusetts

State Police, he has a cousin who works for the FBI, and

his brother is a sergeant with the Tucson Arizona Police


Mike is a well-seasoned veteran of the FTO program

and knew the process well. He has had four other troopers

as trainees. His biggest fear was that Tyler would get

injured while under his supervision. However, Mike

mentioned it was enjoyable to be around someone who

is eager and loves the job. He explained you can always

learn something when working with a trainee. One way is

through the process of enforcing less common statutes or

statutes that you haven’t enforced for a while. A few other

ways are being reminded to not get complacent while on

traffic stops and gaining a new employee’s perspective.

To Mike, the most valuable part of the FTO process is

watching them grow as they begin to gain confidence and

start excelling at the job.

Tyler was likely Mike’s last trainee. Since that training

period was completed, Mike was promoted to Lieutenant.

He supervises road troopers in Troop H, Zone B. Mike has

been married to his wife for 18 years, and they have three


I think it goeswithout saying that the threemen involved

in this training process all found high value in this piece of

the training puzzle. I want to encourage all employees to

view training new personnel as an opportunity. Regardless

if you are a trooper, dispatcher, administrative assistant, or

one of the many other titles that contribute to the function

of the Kansas Highway Patrol, when you train someone,

you are helping guide the future of our great agency. This

is not to be taken lightly. Many hours and many funds can

be spent throughout the hiring process. It is the duty of

each one of us to embrace such an opportunity to continue

past traditions and do our part to help advance the Kansas

Highway Patrol.

Find archives of the Kansas

Trooper magazine in the

members only section of the

KSTA web site -



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