New Indiana State Police troopers begin solo patrols amidst pandemic

Trooper Hope Mueller is one of 35 new troopers hitting the road for Indiana State Police this week. (WTHR photo/Rich Nye)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Despite the coronavirus pandemic keeping most Hoosiers hunkered down at home, the state of Indiana still needs men and women willing to protect and serve.

Thirty-five new state troopers are out on Indiana highways this week. The graduates of the 79th Indiana State Police recruit class were issued new Dodge Chargers to start their patrols.

"We just got our cars, got to turn on the sirens for the first time, turn on the lights for first time, check out all of our new equipment,” said Hope Mueller, a trooper assigned to the Indianapolis post. “Then we just got to drive it for the first time and I'm excited drive it home."

The 22-year-old Mueller is from Avon and is engaged to be married. But first she said "I do" to a career as an Indiana state trooper.

"To interact with the community, be able to be out there first line, especially in the situation that we're in today, to be a friendly face out there while everyone is facing the fear of the world,” said Mueller, “just be able to be a face out there that they know that they can be helped when we arrive on scene."

Trooper Adarius Washington was a track star at Warren Central, then Indiana State University. (WTHR photo/Rich Nye)

Adarius Washington is 27 years old, another new trooper at the Indianapolis post. His wife is a registered nurse. So, both of them are on the COVID-19 front lines.

"It is obviously a weird time to be in,” said Washington. “We want to stay six feet apart and do what we can while still doing our job."

Washington is a former All-American hurdler at Indiana State University. Now he’s wearing a new Indiana state uniform.

"This uniform has a lot of history behind it,” said Washington, in full uniform and standing next to his police car. “There have been 44 troopers who paid the ultimate sacrifice wearing this uniform. So, it means a lot for me to be able to put it on every day. I shine my brass every day, do everything I need to do."

Washington graduated from Warren Central High School on the east side of Indianapolis. Now he's patrolling the neighborhood and his state police post is only about a mile away from his high school.

"It feels good to come back to this area to show support for what the community gave to me I can give back to the community,” said Washington.

The new troopers started 25 weeks of training at the Indiana State Police Academy last June, then completed 14 weeks riding with a training officer before beginning solo patrols Wednesday.