The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon, and members of the Public Safety Commission (PSC) today were joined by Texas Rep. Tony Dale as the department commissioned 134 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony. Rep. Dale was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held Friday in Austin. “The men and women here today have selflessly pledged their lives to protect the people of Texas by joining law enforcement – a noble profession that requires immense courage and sacrifice,” said Rep. Dale. “The state is profoundly grateful for your dedication to becoming our newest Texas Highway Patrol Troopers.” The D-2016 class, which is the department’s 158th training class and the largest since August 2000, includes 16 women, 16 former peace officers and 58 military veterans. The oldest graduate is 51-years-old and the youngest is 21-years-old. 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. “I know each of you has worked tremendously hard in order to get where you are today, and your perseverance and achievements have been nothing less than remarkable,” said Chair Leon. “We are honored to welcome you to the DPS family, and I know you will make us all proud as you walk out these doors to begin your new career serving and protecting your communities.” The Troopers began the 24-week training academy in September of last year. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, traffic and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness. “These 134 men and women have risen to the challenge of DPS’ months-long training to prove their proficiency and dedication, and the department is honored to add them to our law enforcement ranks,” said Director McCraw. “From this day forward, you will serve on the front lines protecting our communities from the full gamut of public safety threats, and Texas will be a safer place because of your commitment to duty.” As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,866 for the Green Beret Foundation; and $1,150 for the Louisiana State Troopers Association (to assist Troopers affected by flooding in Louisiana). In addition, the class established the “158th Fund,” which will provide future recruits with financial assistance for miscellaneous medical expenses. Members of the class also volunteered to be tested as potential donors for a national bone marrow registry.