By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s a rare call-out for CHP cadets. For the last few years, the agency has not accepted any cadet applications, but it will be next month.

It’s rare to be able to apply. It’s even more rare to be selected.

“So we are absolutely looking for the best of the best” said Cassie DeLucca, a CHP recruiting officer.

You could see the focus in their faces. Men and women from all ethnic backgrounds and walks of life who found a crack in the door that’s rarely open. Dozens of interested applicants attended a Tuesday night CHP cadet open house in Sacramento.

“A lot of people in that room right now have been waiting for us to start hiring for three, four years,” DeLucca said.

The wait is over. Budget constraints have kept the CHP from accepting applications for three years. One look at the packed cadet open house and you know “this is a big deal.”

Nearly 100 men and women listened to what would be expected and how very few are accepted. The chief even poked his head inside to remind them “a lot of people apply, but very few are chosen.”

In fact, out of 60,000 expected applicants, “we will probably only accept the top 2 percent into our September 2013 class, which is the class we’re looking to fill.”

Daniel Fernandez longs to be in that class. But he wasn’t in the room Tuesday after a late arrival – he drove all the way from Redding. But this young father of four isn’t giving up:

“You’ve got to expect there’s going to be thousands upon thousands of applications, especially with the three- or four-year hiatus,” he said. ” You just kind of have to expect it.”

And everyone who applies can expect a grueling process. Even if they become one of the 150 chosen for the September class, there’s no guarantee they’ll be patrolling our highways.

In the last cadet class, 40 percent dropped out.

It was so packed at Tuesday’s open house, about a dozen people were turned away. But the CHP has added a second open house Dec. 27.

The cadet applications will only be accepted online during three-day recruitment effort Jan. 3-5.


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