SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) He officially hit the road and began patrolling the highways of Utah one year ago. In this week's Behind the Badge report we catch up with Trooper Preston Hurst.
"Absolutely loved it. It was a blast." Trooper Preston Hurst recalls the moment he knew he wanted to work for UHP. He had gone on a ride-along with a trooper and decided this was it. "I set my goal for highway - that's what I wanted to do." One year ago he completed the police academy and went to work. "It's so much better than I could have ever imagined."
While he was new to patrolling our streets - he joined UHP with some law enforcement experience. He had worked as a guard with the state prison. "You learn how to talk to people and you learn how to read people." And he worked at a treatment facility. "Helped offenders get back into the community." He says both jobs helped prepare him for dealing with people.
Trooper Hurst says one constant on the job is dealing with people who drive way too fast. "I've pulled people over in downpours going over one hundred miles per hour." "In a 35 they were doing upwards of a hundred." "I'm in plan view people will pass me 20 miles per hour over the speed limit." He says he tries to make speeding stops a learning experience. "I do take the opportunity to educate people."
The 26-year-old has only been through one winter as a trooper. However, it was a winter he won't forget. "I had one where I had to jump out of the way." Hurst says during a stop - a car coming down the road nearly hit him. "Tried to hit their brakes and started sliding right into me." "They were within 12 inches of me and my car." While he can do without the close calls - Trooper Hurst says he loves highway patrol because of the different types of calls he gets to handle. "One day you're just going to stop a bunch of cars and go that route. One day you might arrest three people in a day or handle five accidents in a day."
While we were out with Trooper Hurst - he asked us to remind the public of two things. One - if you ever get pulled over - please pull over to the right shoulder not the left. And, two, if you come up on flashing lights - slow down and move over one lane away from the cars.
To see our Behind the Badge stories and to nominate an officer for a future story go to: http://www.good4utah.com/badge
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