There were several factors that went into Jonathan Miller’s decision to apply to join the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“They are considered to be the most prestigious law-enforcement agency in the state,” says Miller. “They offer really good benefits such as health insurance and life insurance among other things.

“Also, having your own car that you get to take home is pretty cool.”

Miller, who was the 2020 Law Enforcement Outstanding Graduate at Missouri Southern State University, recently learned he has been accepted into the patrol’s academy.

The rigorous hiring process began with a physical fitness test, a polygraph exam and background investigation. A board interview led to a conditional offer of acceptance pending a psychological and medical examination before he was given his final offer.

“(The offer) was roughly nine months later in my case, due to COVID-19,” Miller says.

Miller, who grew up in St. Charles, Mo., says he’s always had a passion for criminal justice and law enforcement.

“I think the one event that has happened in my life that sold me on this field, was what happened in Ferguson in 2014. At that time I was a junior in high school and this happened practically in my back yard.

“I figured this is the best way I would be able to serve my community, which I know is very cliché, but it is true. If I could just change one person’s perspective on police officers, then it would all be worth it.”

He joined Missouri Southern’s law-enforcement program after two years at a community college.

“I never had a bad experience with the program (at MSSU),” he says. “All of my professors went above and beyond to make sure their students understood the material and would do anything to make sure they succeed.

“My professors were more than just teachers, they were mentors. They are people I look up to for advice.”

Miller will soon begin the Highway Patrol academy process and hopes to eventually serve in Troop C, which covers eastern Missouri – the area where he grew up.

“At the beginning of the hiring process, they ask you what your top three choices of troops are,” he says. “It depends on your performance in the academy if you can get your top choice. They can move you anywhere in the state, but being top in your class helps.”

The Missouri Highway Patrol currently has 1,100 officers serving in 21 patrol divisions. Lt. Collin Stosberg, assistant director of the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Public Information and Education Division, says having patrol officers serve in their own communities is the ideal situation.

“Our training is some of the best in the country. We want our officers to represent the communities they serve,” says Stosberg. “Our officers live and work in their communities. They’re parents, coaches, school board members.”

Stosberg says the patrol is always hiring, and those interested in applying can find more information at https://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/.