Next year, there will be 34 new Kansas Highway Patrol troopers on the job throughout the state. It’s the largest class the Patrol has graduated in 14 years. The new troopers chanted and marched on stage during a graduation ceremony Thursday at the Highway Patrol’s training academy in Salina. KHP launched an aggressive recruiting effort last year because there’s been a shortage of manpower for many years. In 2015, the patrol set a goal to hire 75 troopers in the next three years to bring the agency to nearly-full capacity. Trooper Stephen LaRow says they stepped up their social media campaign and hired a full-time recruiter, Trooper Cory Beard. "In a time that we’ve been struggling to find applicants, to graduate a class this size I think shows a lot about his efforts and basically, how far our reach in social media has gone," LaRow says. This 56th trooper class began their basic training at the academy back in July. They completed 23 weeks of classes on driving, firearms, legal issues and other subjects. They also learned techniques for how to respond to people with special needs. LaRow says this year’s graduating class of 34 is a milestone—this is the largest trooper class to graduate since 38 new troopers graduated in 2002. He says this is also the first class to come under the new recruiter. "We have a full-time recruiter who goes out and attends job fairs, goes to college campuses," LaRow says. "He’s very interactive with people –answers a lot of questions through phone calls and emails, and things like that." LaRow says another change may have also helped their recruiting efforts. The Highway Patrol now offers the application test a lot more, and at sites throughout the state. In previous years, it was only offered once or twice a year. The new troopers will now have to complete three months of on-the-road field training with a senior trooper before they begin their full-time assignments.