Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 116 new Troopers

DPS Graduation December 2016

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 [Friday] were joined by Texas Sen. Donna Campbell and Texas State Rep. Mark Keough as the department commissioned 116 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony.  Sen. Campbell was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held today in Austin.  “The people of Texas will forever be grateful to the courageous men and women – past and present – who pledge their lives to protecting and serving others no matter the cost, and today, 116 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers join that esteemed legion,” said Sen. Campbell.  “Thank you for answering this honorable call of duty – your grit and enthusiasm are an inspiration, and I know you will make us all proud.”  The C-2016 class – which includes 14 former peace officers, 47 military veterans and a set of twin brothers – will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training.  “I want to thank and congratulate all of our graduates here today.  Your perseverance through the many months of demanding training has certainly paid off – you’ve earned the right and privilege to be called a Texas State Trooper,” said Chair Leon.  “We appreciate your willingness to serve and are pleased to officially welcome you to the DPS family.”   The troopers began the 23-week training academy in July. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, tr affic 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.  “Not everyone has the mettle necessary to pursue a career in law enforcement, which requires an unwavering devotion to duty and countless sacrifices not only from the officer but also from their loved ones,” said Director McCraw.  “DPS and the entire state are thankful for these 116 graduates who have risen to the challenge to become Highway Patrol Troopers sworn to serve their communities and protect Texas from a full spectrum of threats.”      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 47 troopers from Class C-2016 will be stationed in Regions 3 and 4 as part of this initiative, bringing the total number of positions to the authorized 250.  “I am pleased to say that today’s graduation marks the completion of filling those 250 new positions directed by state leaders – more than eight months ahead of schedule,” said Director McCraw.  “Additionally, the department is proud of the impact our men and women have made during the past two years of around-the-clock security operations combating threats posed by a porous Texas-Mexico border.”  As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,632 for DPS Trooper Chad Blackburn, who was severely injured this year when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver; $750 worth of gifts for the Toys for Tots program; and $200 in school supplies for an elementary school.

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Meet 'Statie" the elf, the newest Massachusetts State Police Recruit

MA Elf

Internet-savvy police departments across the country started posting images of “Elf on the Shelf” dolls to their social media accounts this month ahead of Christmas, Massachusetts State Trooper Dustin Fitch decided he wanted to buck the trend.  So he got creative.  In early December, Fitch, who handles social media operations for the state police, had a minuscule police uniform custom-tailored for an “elf,” slapped a teeny badge onto the blue suit, and then debuted to the world the newest pint-sized police recruit: “Statie” the elf.  “I just wanted to add a little holiday humor,” said Fitch of the elf doll, which has appeared on Twitter and Facebook dutifully helping officers with daily tasks. “I wanted to use an elf to humanize us. ... It shows how we are all just people, too, looking to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, like everyone else.”

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Tennessee Highway Patrol graduates 33 cadets

THP graduation December 2016

Governor Bill Haslam served as the keynote speaker for the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s graduation ceremony of Cadet Class 1216 at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory on Friday.  The 33 cadets earned their badges and were officially recognized as Tennessee State Troopers for the first time.  The 33 new state troopers took their oaths of office after completing 16 weeks of intense physical and classroom training at the THP Training Center.  This was THP’s first-ever lateral class, meaning 100% of the graduating class had prior law enforcement experience.  Included in the cadet class are six veterans, seven with bachelor's degrees, an associate’s degree graduate and 20 who have college experience.  “The law enforcement experience this class of cadets brings to the Tennessee Highway Patrol is impressive, and their skills and knowledge will be needed with the challenges facing state troopers today.  These cadets are putting themselves on the front lines to help protect the citizens of Tennessee and the millions of visitors to our state.  I thank them for their continued service and congratulate them on this accomplishment,” Governor Haslam said.  “It’s my privilege to join our state’s leadership today as we graduate the first lateral trooper cadet class in the history of the Highway Patrol," Commissioner David W. Purkey said.  "These men and women are going through a training academy for the second time because they recognize the responsibility of serving as a Tennessee State Trooper.  They were specifically chosen from a field of some 500 applicants, and today they will don the same uniform that I once was privileged to wear.  Congratulations to each of them as they celebrate with their families – they’ve absolutely earned this honor.”  “I am very proud of our newest trooper class,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.  “The cadets came to our training program as individuals from a variety of law enforcement backgrounds.  As they underwent an intense training regimen they bonded and became a unit.  Today I am proud to call them Tennessee State Troopers.  There is no doubt they are going to face increasing challenges, but I am confident that they are going to approach their duties with honor, pride in service, and as professional law enforcement officers.”   As part of a class community service project, Class 1216 participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.  The class collected 31 units of blood that served over 93 patients.  Class 1216 also collected over 700 donated food items that will be delivered to the Gatlinburg area.  The cadet class and the Tennessee State Trooper Association donated money to a fellow trooper cadet and his family that lost their home in the Gatlinburg wildfires.  The new graduates will continue their training, totaling more than 400 hours of hands on experience in the field. 

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South Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 62 new troopers

SCHP graduation picture

The South Carolina Highway Patrol announced the graduation of 62 troopers from its Highway Patrol Basic Class 100 Thursday.  According to the press release from Communications Director Sherri Iacobelli, Basic 100 brings the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 816.  Basic 101 will report to the Academy in January.  Today’s graduating class began training on July 15 and graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy on October 30.  An additional 15 prior certified officers joined on October 14. The class continued with specialized training from the Highway Patrol in all areas of law enforcement.  The SCHP Basic Training Program consists of 21 weeks of extensive law enforcement training in-residence.  After graduation, troopers must complete a minimum of 400 hours of field training.  Troopers are assigned to areas based upon population, calls for service, and the number of licensed drivers/registered vehicles in an area.  The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.

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Highway Patrol Troopers go shopping with children in Sampson County, North Carolina

NCHP kids shopping

Local Highway Patrol troopers enjoyed filling up baskets with toys such as tractors, Transformers, Legos, dolls and Pokemon.  The Sampson County branch (Troop B, District 2) took 16 children shopping for the holiday season.  Clothing items were purchased first.  Next, it was the toy section. Children were selected after letters were sent to local elementary schools and guidance counselors contacted Tina Byrd, the station’s office assistant, with suggestions.  Byrd was assisted by Trooper Evelyn Campos.  First Sgt. David Kinlaw was grateful to participants, sponsors and donors from a golf tournament held in June.  Those funds went towards helping fellow residents.  “It’s our way of giving back to the community,” he said. “It’s something we look forward to every Christmas.”  The golf tournament began in 1989 to honor deceased Trooper Randy Ward.  It began to help less fortunate children and became more popular.  Along with the Christmas shopping, troopers were able to add funds for scholarships for students attending Sampson Community College.  Kinlaw assisted with plans for the golf tournament.  Trooper Chris Strickland collected funds for the tournament. In 2015, he was helped by Sgt. Bryan Smith.  Kinlaw said the events builds a rapport with the community by helping needy families.  “Especially this year, with the hurricane and flooding and people losing their homes, it’s good that we can have something like this,” Kinlaw said about giving back to the community.  “It helps the people who are less fortunate and makes their Christmas a little bit brighter.”

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