The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) [Friday] was joined by the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) as the department commissioned 95 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers. PSC Commissioner Manny Flores was the keynote speaker during the Class B-2016 recruit graduation ceremony, which was held [Friday] in Austin. “It takes an extraordinary individual to make the momentous commitment to taking on the responsibilities of a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper,” said Commissioner Flores. “DPS and all Texans are deeply thankful of your service, and our state can rest easy knowing all of you will be serving on the frontlines.” The new troopers will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training. “This is a proud moment for Class B-2016, and I want to congratulate each one of you,” said PSC Chair Cynthia Leon. “You have inspired us all with your accomplishments during the many months of rigorous training, and this is a day you will never forget – the day you became a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper.” The troopers began the 23-week DPS Training Academy in March. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, traffic and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, crash reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness. The B-2016 class includes: 11 former peace officers, including a former trooper with the Virginia State Police and a former trooper with the Georgia State Patrol; 28 military veterans, including a retired Navy SEAL, who is the class’s oldest recruit at 52; the youngest recruit is 21; and the first-ever married couple in DPS history to start and complete a recruit school together.“The department is pleased to welcome 95 new Troopers to our ranks – their specialized law enforcement training will be indispensable in fulfilling our mission to protect and serve Texas,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS and the state of Texas appreciate their willingness to commit their lives and career to serving others.” In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott authorized 250 additional Trooper positions to be permanently stationed in the border area (DPS Regions 3 and 4) by August 2017, as well as additional DPS recruit schools to help fill that need and address vacancies across the state. A total of 51 troopers from Class B-2016 will be stationed in Regions 3 and 4 as part of this initiative, bringing the total number of positions filled thus far to 203. By the end of 2016, all 250 positions will be filled. DPS is currently accepting applications for recruit classes scheduled for 2017. The next application deadline is Sept. 21 for the class beginning March 12, 2017. To apply or for more information about joining the Texas Department of Public Safety, visit www.joindps.com. In addition, DPS schedules recruiting events throughout the year.