The Marshall Project

Shattering the Maximum Security Ceiling

“I want to do the work that the guys do.”

I always wanted to be that FBI agent. You know, Jodie Foster in “The Silence of the Lambs.”

I grew up in northeast Philadelphia and majored in administration of justice at Penn State University. During the summer of my senior year, I interned at the Pennsylvania State Police. By the time it was done, my heart was set on becoming a trooper.

That same summer I applied for a job there. To play it safe, I also applied to several other agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. By fall, the corrections department offered me a job. The application process for the Pennsylvania troopers was still underway, so I accepted as a backup plan. But I never intended to really take it: I was determined to be a trooper.

Applying to become a state trooper was a long process. First you have to fill out an online

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