The Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy graduated its 154th class earlier this month, and two of the 63 members have been assigned to the Marietta post.
In addition to Chesterhill resident Cody Quattlebaum, Justin Lowers, of Belpre, started work at the post on April 8. A former pipefitter, Lowers is making the transition to law enforcement at the age of 34. He will be under the guidance of field training officer Trooper Steve Rowe for the next three months.
Question: Why did you decide to join the patrol?
Answer: At the time I decided I wanted to change careers, I looked at many different career paths. And I decided I wanted to be part of something greater than myself and ... wanted to give something back to society. The patrol was one of the most inviting divisions I looked at and here I am now, nine, almost 10 months later.
Q: What was your training like?
A: The academy training is both physically and academically challenging. For me, being 34 years old, the physical challenges were just as great as some of the academic challenges, for I really hadn't been in school or been in that particular type of academic setting for quite some time.
Justin B. Lowers
Occupation: Trooper, Ohio Highway Patrol, Marietta post.
Pipefitter, Local Union 565 out of Parkersburg.
Q: Were you one of the older members of your class?
A: Yes sir. In fact I'm pretty much right at the highest age limit for being able to go through the academy and become an Ohio state trooper.
Q: Was that intimidating at all, knowing you were at the upper end of that spectrum?
A: Yes and no. It really wasn't intimidating; I just knew that maybe I would have to apply myself a little more in that regard because I maybe wasn't in as good a shape as some of the younger cadets.
Q: What's it been like working with an experienced officer?
A: It's been extremely helpful. Although the academy gives us a great foundation to begin our careers, I believe this is another of the important parts of starting a career. ... You get to take a senior trooper's take on the job and get to use that to your benefit as well. Plus it makes you a little more comfortable as you're going out into the field instead of coming out on your own.
Q: Have you been out on the road yet?
A: I've been out on the road. In fact I started on the road (last) week, making traffic stops and performing some of the duties of a trooper.
Q: What's it like making the transition from learning about the job to actually being out in the field?
A: It's a little bit intimidating at first, but I guess if it wasn't intimidating, I would think it'd be kind of weird. It's definitely intimidating, but in the same aspect, it's a well-welcomed challenge. This is something I've been looking forward to, to be able to get out, and it's nice to be able to get out in the field and actually utilize the ... training which we were taught. It's nice to get out there and be able to apply it. And to see some of the training maybe at first I didn't understand, now it's coming to light ... in real time and real-life scenarios.
Q: Being from this area, was getting assigned to the Marietta post the plan all along?
A: It was either one of two posts, either Marietta or Athens. I was truly hoping it would be Marietta but sometimes those posts don't always open. ... It just so happens and I was fortunate that the Marietta post needed two troopers.
Evan Bevins conducted this interview.