By Morgan Eads

Kentucky State Police announced Thursday that the agency will change its requirements for becoming a state trooper recruit.

Before, applicants were required to have 60 hours of college credit or two years of military or law enforcement experience to apply, Sgt. Brad Arterburn said Thursday.

Now, applicants with a high school diploma or GED and three years of work experience can qualify to become a state trooper, Arterburn said. Recruits will earn an associate's degree in criminal justice while in the academy, fulfilling the previous college credit requirement.

"So, if after high school if you went to work in the factory, or the coal mines, or you went to the Peace Corps, or family farm or whatever, now's your chance to see if you have what it takes to join our ranks," Arterburn said.

All applicants will still have to pass written and physical tests, an oral board interview, a polygraph and background investigation before reaching the academy, Arterburn said. The academy training itself lasts 24 weeks.

"What I don't want you to misunderstand here is thinking that we're lowering our standards by any means," Arterburn said. "We're not lowering our standards. What we're doing is broadening the pool that we have to choose from."

Applications are being accepted through June 23 for the next academy class, Arterburn said.

(c)2017 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)