Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today was joined by members of the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) as the department commissioned 97 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers. Major General John F. Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, was the keynote speaker during the recruit graduation ceremony held in Austin. “This class of Texas State Troopers represents the best of our country: men and women of different backgrounds from Texas and beyond, all with a shared commitment to public service,” said Major General Nichols, who oversees the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard. “Texans can rest easy knowing there are brave men and women like those graduating today who work to keep our communities safe every day. The Texas Military Department is fortunate to call the Department of Public Safety one of our closest partners, and I am proud to serve alongside today's graduates to protect and serve the people of Texas.” “Each of you has worked tremendously hard to get where you are today, and your perseverance and accomplishments have been nothing less than remarkable,” said PSC Chairman Steven P. Mach. “We are confident you will make us all proud as you walk out these doors to begin your new career serving and protecting our state as a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper.” The D-2017 class, which is the department’s 162nd recruit school, included 18 women, 16 former peace officers and 36 military veterans. The oldest graduate was 42-years-old and the youngest was 21-years-old. The class suspended training for a week to assist disaster relief operations in downtown Houston during Hurricane Harvey. They also raised money for school supplies for an Austin elementary school and law enforcement families who had a loved one killed or injured. There were recruits who moved to Texas to join the Academy from 11 different states, and this is believed to be the highest number of women graduates in one class in the department’s history. “You now represent DPS and the State of Texas in all that you say and do, so let the department’s core values – integrity, excellence, accountability and teamwork – always be your guide,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Thank you for answering the call to serve and protect your state. Today you step into the important role as our state’s newest public protectors, and we are extremely proud of each of you.” 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. The Troopers began the 24-week training academy in July. 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.