Trooper recounts first year of work in job he 'truly loves'

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A state trooper celebrating one year on the job is offering advice to drivers about staying safe on the road.

The advice comes in the midst of an Indiana State Police effort to put more troopers on the road.

Trooper Christopher Hanson celebrates his hire every Valentine’s Day. It’s a job he happens to love.

Eyewitness News joined Hanson for a ride-along in 2017 on his first day on the road in his own cruiser. It’s been a busy year for Hanson and 53 other troopers who hit the road that day.

“Even in my first year I have definitely got a lot of exposure to a lot of different things even I didn't think I get that much exposure to,” said Hanson.

Hanson wants drivers to practice not only leaving enough room on the road to react to the unexpected, he also advises against driving with distractions. He says drivers should put down the phone.

“Numerous stops where people are on social media, watching a movie or a video or something else being distracted by it,” said Trooper Hanson.

The practice would also help keep officers safe as they do their jobs, particularly while they work on highway shoulders. Hanson said it it breaks his heart when he hears about counterparts across the country being injured.

Just this week, a state trooper in Massachusetts got into a horrific crash on the a turnpike. In Florida. a driver recently crashed a trooper's cruiser, reportedly on purpose.

Hanson recounted almost a dozen close calls he’s experienced on the road. In many cases, it’s because drivers were not paying attention.

“You want to have a least amount of crashes in your zone and the least amount of crime, which is what you are trying to deter.”

Since becoming a trooper, Hanson has a new baby boy, a 9-week-old boy. Hanson keeps a photo of his son in the cruiser.

“I try to keep him with me to remind me each day that to make sure we go home,” said Trooper Hanson.

At the end of this shift, Hanson will head home after his shift to spend Valentine's Day with his wife and son.

It's work Hanson would recommend to others, saying it's a job they would "truly love." The first-year salary for an Indiana State Trooper is a little more than $38,000 per year. Pay during training is about $1,500.00 biweekly.

The deadline to join the ISP’s 78th recruit class at ISP is fast approaching. The application process closes at midnight on February 25th.

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