Governor Bill Haslam on Friday welcomed 56 state troopers to the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) in a graduation ceremony at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church in Hermitage. This is the third consecutive and largest trooper cadet class to graduate under the Haslam administration.
The graduating troopers in Cadet Class 713 took their oaths of office after 19 weeks and more than 1,000 hours of extensive classroom and law enforcement instruction at the THP Training Center. The class motto was “Live with Honor. Serve with Pride.”
“Congratulations to Trooper Cadet Class 713 on graduating and becoming a part of Tennessee’s finest,” Governor Haslam said. “‘Live with honor. Serve with pride.’ is the motto that you have chosen for your class. I hope you will take those six words to heart, wear the badge of the Tennessee Highway Patrol with integrity and help protect the citizens of this state with courage and pride.”
The THP Cadet Academy began with 64 prospective troopers on March 1. On Friday, 56 cadets graduated, including 25 with law enforcement and military experience, 20 with bachelor’s degrees and 10 active military members. Four of the graduating cadets are female.
“As a result of a change in our state law proposed by Governor Haslam known as the TEAM Act, we were able to apply higher standards in the selection of this trooper cadet class,” said Commissioner Bill Gibbons. “These new troopers represent the very best from over two thousand applicants. Our state will benefit greatly from their public service.”
The trooper cadets participated in several community service programs during the four-month training. They held two blood drives for the American Red Cross, donated more than 50 personal hygiene kits to children of foster care through the Department of Children’s Services, and raised $600 to the Frankie N. Watson Scholarship Fund, a scholarship program for high school students in east Tennessee. The scholarship fund was established by Sgt. Lowell Russell, a friend of fallen U.S. Marine Frankie Watson.
Trooper Joe Taylor was named the top cadet and presented the Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence for his leadership, work ethic and academics. The award was named in honor of the late Trooper Jenks, who was killed in the line of duty in January 2007. Trooper Taylor was assigned to Greene County in the THP Fall Branch District.
“We have given you the resources to be successful as a Tennessee State Trooper. Once you walk out of those doors, it’s up to you to use the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to the best of your ability,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “I challenge each and every one of you to make a difference in your assigned counties and be of good service to citizens statewide."
The new graduates will now advance to a maximum of 10 weeks of field training.
Friday’s ceremony included a processional of graduates, the presentation of the colors by the THP Honor Guard and the Oath of Office administered by Commissioner Gibbons.
A list of the new troopers and their assigned counties can be found on the following link: http://www.tn.gov/safety/thp/class713.shtml