NEW JERSEY - It's recruitment season for the New Jersey State Police. Like many law enforcement agencies, there are challenges attracting new recruits these days.
Anyone who does step up could be met by a trooper at the Academy with a unique title. Let's just say he doesn't have any trouble running after potential suspects.
I found that out the hard way.
"I started competing at track and field at five years old," said Trooper Alan Laws as we were warming up on the Bauer Track and Field Complex at Rutgers University.
"I feel like me being in top physical shape has helped me in all the elements as far as whether it's shift work, whether it's every day patrolling, getting in and out of the car every day whether it's having to chase somebody down," he said.
"Has anyone ever gotten away from you?" I asked
"They haven't even tried," he said.
There's a very good reason not to try and run away from Laws and yet, it was at this point, that I decided it would be a good idea to try and keep up with him for a medium-speed sprint around the track.
We started at the 200-meter mark -- the first of a series of runs we were supposed to do. I wanted to give viewers of FOX 5 a real taste of what it's like to run with him.
It only lasted about 15 steps. My 41-year-old hamstring gave out in the most embarrassing possible way. He glided to the finish without breaking stride.
I should have known better because this New Jersey State Trooper is the fastest law enforcement officer in the entire country.
The 32-year-old recently competed at the United States Police and Fire Championships in San Diego and left little doubt.
"I've got four gold medals," he said. "For 400 meter, 400 hurdles, 4 x 400 relay and 4 x100 meter relay."
That particular track meet brings together law enforcement and fire department officials from agencies throughout the US to complete. He cleaned up.
Laws had a successful track career at Pleasantville High School in New Jersey and Delaware State University before deciding to join the NJSP in 2017.
"For starters, it takes a lot of discipline. And that's pretty much what's going on a lot of the time when you're in that academy for 20 to 24 weeks, or whatever the case may be," he said.
The discipline and elite physical fitness, helped him after joining the force - first on patrol, then on a tactical unit and now training new recruits.
"A lot of people feel that once you put the badge on, or whatever, you got to become robotic, because of the fact that you have a standard set of procedures or there's a guideline as to what you have to do to follow the rules of law enforcement. but you can stick to those rules and continue to be yourself. and I feel like that's what's made me successful as a trooper."
So now, in addition to his day job of keeping his community safe, Laws also trains and competes professionally several weekends a year.
He's hoping his story will inspire others to serve.
I asked him about recruitment season now underway for NJSP.
"Not for everyone," he said. "But those who are willing to go out there and take on such a task to being a trooper and take on the qualities of honor, duty and fidelity right now NJTrooper.com applications are open."
New Jersey State Police started accepting applications earlier this month. The campaign lasts just a few weeks, until August 2. If you're interested you can find more information is at NJTrooper.com
Anyone who joins may end up meeting Trooper Laws. He's often at the Academy helping with the physical fitness part of the training. If there's anyone qualified to do it, it's him.
So when's his next race?
"It should be within the next two weeks."