Highway Patrol graduates 27 new troopers

MHP 104th Graduation Class

The Missouri Highway Patrol's 27 newest troopers were reminded Friday their new lives will be much different from their old ones.  "In the past 26 weeks, recruits, you have undergone grueling training, endured exhausting hours and endured vast amounts of information," Attorney General Josh Hawley noted.  "You have endured, and now you have the honor of being part of this prestigious company.  "But today represents an end to something more, recruits — it represents an end to your life as a private citizen."  As servants of the public, Hawley added, "the men and women of our state will depend on you, look to you, trust you to uphold one of the most precious inheritances we have as Americans — the rule of law."  Superintendent Sandra Karsten, who joined the patrol in 1985 as part of the 57th Recruit Class, told the graduates of the 104th class: "Today, you're making a promise not only to represent yourself, but every trooper in the entire Missouri State Highway Patrol.  "You are representing the people of the state of Missouri.  "In and out of uniform, know that you've worked hard to wear it and that you hold the public trust and that you're held to a higher standard."  The attorney general explained the difference: "A career is pursued for the good of the person who performs it.  A vocation is work that benefits the good of all (and) is a calling, a summons to serve — to use one's talents and skills and effort to make better the lives of those with whom you live, and to make better the place that you call home."  In his nearly seven-minute keynote address, Hawley referred several times to the importance of the rule of law as the basis of American society — and reminded the new troopers they will play an important role in keeping the rule of law working.  "Your calling is to ensure that fear and terror do not rule the day, but that peace and security, afforded by our laws, is available to people indiscriminately.  Your calling is to protect the weak, the vulnerable, the oppressed among us."  But, while upholding the law, Hawley reminded the new troopers life won't always be easy.  "(Your calling) includes those who use the liberties granted by your protection, to treat you with scorn, to treat you with contempt — even hatred sometimes," the attorney general said.  "It's no secret that we live in a moment in our nation's history when the rule of law and those who uphold it have become targets, subject to intense scrutiny, subject to intense back lash, even derision.  And I'm afraid to say, you will most likely not be exempt from this trend."  Cadet Commander Evan Macomber, of Lebanon, reminded his classmates "we are defined by the public's perception" of previous Highway Patrol troopers they've met, and the bar has been set high for the new class as they head into their new jobs.  Brant Masek, of Fulton, was the only Mid-Missourian in the class.  He's being assigned to work in Franklin County, which is part of Troop C.  None of the 27 new troopers were assigned to Jefferson City-based Troop F.  Karsten reminded the graduates to rely on all the points of their training, including: "Never stop learning, never stop training (and) never stop planning for the what-if situations you may encounter."  She urged the new troopers to remember the basics, such as watching the hands of the people they deal with in traffic stops and other situations, "never assume anything, never turn your back on traffic — and always be ladies and gentlemen who enforce the law."  And, she said: "Remember what makes a trooper is not the Glock or the Taser on your gun belt.  It's not the uniform or the campaign hat — but a cause worthy of sacrifice.  Our mission of service and protection gives each of us something worth sacrificing for."