LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Two dozen Michigan State Police cadets graduated Thursday from a week-long school, which will prepare them for their paid internship next year at MSP posts.

“I’m excited,” said recruiting officer Sgt. Kellie Gillam-Shaffer. “Because when we opened up the application process, we had an influx of individuals who wanted to apply.”

The cadet school started back up in 2020 after MSP found a need to fill various positions and additional help at several state posts. This month’s graduating class trained 26 cadets, ages 18 and older, all enrolled in an accredited college or university.

“I’ve always been interested in law enforcement, ever since I was little,” said 18-year-old Erika Terry. “I tried going through a different avenue, going into nursing, and just realized my heart wasn’t in it.”

Cadet Terry will now return up north to ride along with troopers and help respond to crashes, domestic calls and other incidents that may occur.

“The opportunity came to come to the cadet school here, and I said this will help me decide if it’s really what I wanted,” she said.

The cadet school training included weapons safety classes, hand-to-hand training, inclement weather driving and community policing classes.

The school is meant to help fill the shortage of troopers across the state and perhaps assist some of these young men and women in continuing their way to the trooper academy.

“Our whole goal is to allow them to make the informed choice on what career path is for them before we get them in recruit school and they walk out on us,” Gillam-Shaffer said.