Tahlequah Daily Press


September 26, 2013

New troopers hit roads

TAHLEQUAH — After 20 challenging weeks at the state’s 61st Oklahoma Highway Patrol academy, four rookie troopers are patrolling the roads of Cherokee and Adair counties.

OHP Lt. Chris Arnall said 40 cadets graduated on July 18 and are now in field-training across the state.

“The reason we had so many new troopers in this area is because we lost three troopers just in Adair and Cherokee counties who got transferred to the lake patrol,” said Arnall.

New troopers Cody Cox, John-Michael Moore and Aaron Wall reside in Cherokee County, while Trooper Matthew Williams now calls Adair County his home.

“The cadets were given a wishlist and got to pick three places, three counties they’d like to try to go to, and the chief does his best to try to give them one of their picks,” said Arnall.

The latest OHP academy began with 54 cadets, but 14 dropped out before graduation.

“People who have been in the military say the academy is similar to a boot camp, which is pretty tough. It’s physically and mentally challenging,” said Arnall.

Cadets spent the first four weeks of the academy on-site in Oklahoma City, and after the first month were allowed to go home on weekends.

“When you have family, kids, it makes it tough,” said Arnall, who was on the training staff for the 61st academy.

The area’s four new troopers have now been on the roads for approximately two months riding with other troopers. They’ll begin to fly solo as a trooper sometime in October.

Trooper Cody Cox

Cox grew up in Heavener and lived in Wister, south of Poteau.

“I was working at a chicken poultry factory and had worked there for about five years doing human re- sources,” said Cox. “After sitting in the office for a while, I decided that I wanted to do something that would actually make a difference and help the area I lived in, versus an office job.”

Cox, 27, said his wife’s friend married a state trooper, and after a few ride-alongs, Cox began to take an interest in law enforcement.

Then it came time for the academy.

“Everybody can tell you how hard and how mentally and physically challenging it is, but until you get there and actually do it, you can’t really understand. It’s not something you can explain.”

Cox said his first request was to work the Cherokee County area.

“I’m really excited to be coming to this area,” said Cox. “I hadn’t been up here a whole lot, not nearly as much as some others, but I’d driven through several times and really like the scenery here. All the people seem really nice – even the people I’ve dealt with through work. The majority are very polite and considerate.”

Trooper John-Michael Moore

At age 23, Moore is the youngest trooper in the area.

“I’ve always figured being a state trooper was the best, and that’s why I wanted to be part of the elite program in the state,” said Moore. “I really like the fact that we get freedom, but yet we have so much responsibility at the same time.”

His decision to be a trooper, and his success at completing the academy, was also partly in -spired by his late uncle, Leon Bench, who joined the OHP in 1982 and was killed during a traffic stop the following year.

“The thought of him going through the same thing I did helped me get through the academy,” said Moore.

He described the training process as “rough” and “very intense.”

“How do you eat an elephant? You’ve got to take it one bite at a time,” said Moore, who moved to Cherokee County from Broken Arrow. “That’s how they explained it to us; that’s how you handle the academy. It’s one hour at a time, one day at a time. After one week on the road, I realized it was worth it to me.”

Trooper Aaron Wall

Wall is a Locust Grove native and hoped to work in the Cherokee County area because of its familiarity.

“There’s not a better place to be than northeastern Oklahoma,” said Wall, 27.

Wall was an apprentice electrician and also worked with heat and air before he chose to pursue a life as a state trooper.

“Being a trooper is a career,” said Wall. “I plan on doing this until I retire; it’s a great organization. I hated doing the same stuff over and over again, and wanted a job I loved. As a trooper, everything is different; you’re going to deal with something different every day.”

Wall wasn’t entirely prepared for what the academy threw at him, he said.

“No words can describe exactly what goes on inside the academy,” he said. “You always have that inkling to quit because it’s such a tough academy, so you need all the support you can get. I couldn’t have done it without my family.”

And now, Wall understands why he and the other cadets were put through such stressful situations.

“If you lose your head, it could be the last day you go out there,” said Wall.

Trooper Matthew Williams

Williams moved from Okmulgee to Stilwell for his assignment as a new trooper. He was already familiar with the area, and graduated from Northeastern State University in 2008.

“I’ve got a brother in law enforcement, and he kind of got me interested in it,” said Williams.

“The highway patrol just kind of appealed to me. It’s going to be a career; it’s a great job.”

Williams enjoys the freedom of his job and the variety of issues he runs across on a daily basis.

“A lot of times you get to help people with things like motorist assists,” he said. “You’re not always the ‘bad guy.’ You might help change a tire, or help someone who ran out of gas.”

Williams believes success as a trooper hinges on how others are treated.

“You treat people well, you respect people,” Williams said. “They’re human, too, and everybody makes mistakes. Just because they are speeding doesn’t make them a bad person. If you treat them with respect, they’re going to treat you the same way.”


Log on to TahlequahTDP.com for an exclusive slideshow of the area’s four new Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers and the 61st state trooper academy.


Text Only
  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • renee-storyteller.jpg Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event

    Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1-ts CN opt 1.jpg Cherokees commemorate Act of Union

    Cherokee Nation dignitaries met on the historic courthouse square Tuesday to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Act of Union following the end of the Trail of Tears Removal.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-vol-July.jpg Firefighting fills a big role for Kimble

    Community service is both work and volunteering for Cherokee County 911 Coordinator/Director Marty A. Kimble.
    Kimble is also fire chief for Gideon Volunteer Fire and Rescue, president of the Grand View School Board, and northeast regional vice president of OklaNENA (National Emergency Number Association).

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-artist-July-2.jpg Fulk discovered art talent after retirement

    It’s not unusual for retired folks to turn their hand to the arts. Count George Fulk among that number.
    The former optometry professor at Northeastern State University and bird-watching enthusiast has found he also has a talent for watercolor painting.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • de-Sewing-Ruth-Kennedy.jpg OHCE members have ‘sew’ much fun

    Sewing machines were buzzing and conversation was flowing at the Oklahoma Home and Community Education Woodall Club’s quarterly workshop last week.
    The group assembled was working on placemat notebook organizers, made from regular table placemats.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong