November 16, 2023

East Central Community College (ECCC) officially entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for a Preferred Candidate Program in collaboration with the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) on November 16 in Decatur. 
This initiative marks a significant partnership. Dr. Brent Gregory, President of ECCC, expressed enthusiasm, stating, "East Central Community College is thrilled about this collaboration with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Based on studies and other community colleges in Mississippi with this program, completion of a college degree significantly enhances the knowledge and skills of officers across various domains. We are excited to be part of this program in central Mississippi." 
Under the terms of the agreement, enrolled individuals can pursue either an A.A. or A.A.S. degree in ECCC’s Criminal Justice program. They will have the opportunity to engage with an MHP recruiter and apply for the MHP Preferred Candidate Program, allowing them to receive preferred candidacy when applying to the Mississippi Highway Patrol. 
To successfully graduate from the MHP Preferred Candidate Program, students must complete two or more semesters of the MHP Candidates on Rapid Entry curriculum, obtain an associate’s degree from ECCC, fulfill the C.O.R.E. Patrol School PT requirements, and undergo an MHP application and background check.  
The MHP C.O.R.E. program is tailored for students focused on a Criminal Justice degree, offering a direct path to employment with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Recruiters from MHP will collaborate with ECCC’s instructors to introduce a two semester curriculum, including topics such as Trooper responsibilities. The C.O.R.E. program will serve as an additional credit course attached to select Criminal Justice classes, overseen by a class instructor.   
MHP C.O.R.E. Instructors will also administer a weekly PT program for C.O.R.E. candidates, preparing them for Cadet School. Additionally, recruiters will visit classes and host recruiting tables during the spring to attract students to the program. Students must register for the MHP C.O.R.E. program, meet specified requirements, and sign a waiver before participating in the semester curriculum. Upon completion, sophomores will be encouraged to submit an MHP application upon graduation from ECCC. 
ECCC’s Criminal Justice Technology is a comprehensive two-year degree program offering specialized training in various aspects of law enforcement. 
This agreement is effective for 2024 and automatically renewable for successive 12-month periods.