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Spin Control

Pull over, sonny

The Washington State Patrol is hiring. The woman’s voice on the radio ad seems to be offering an interesting job opportunity, but the line at the end of her pitch is a bit surprising.

“If you’re between the ages of 18-and-a-half and 65. . .”

Wait a minute. How many troopers get started at 65?

None, actually, because 65 is mandatory retirement age for the state patrol, said Sgt. Freddy Williams, the public information officer for the patrol. In theory a recruit could enter the academy in their early 60s and work a few years, or months, until Social Security kicks in.

In practice, it’s highly unlikely. A recruit must score better than 40 percent of the general public in a physical fitness test called the Cooper Standards just to get in the academy, and better than 60 percent of the public upon completion of that course.

When Williams joined the patrol in 1987, he was the oldest recruit the agency ever had, at 37. Since that time, recruits who were 50 have made it, but they tended to be retired military personnel in good physical shape, he said.

So why even say 65? “That’s the mandatory retirement age established by the Legislature,” Williams said. To rule out anyone that age or younger is age discrimination.




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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.