A group of Kansas Highway Patrol recruits had their badges pinned on Thursday afternoon in Salina and officially became troopers. The 11 new state troopers were part of KHP Recruit Class #53, the latest graduates from the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy.
Kansas State University Head Football Coach Bill Snyder spoke. Coach Snyder focused on the topic of perseverance. Snyder said that two of the people he admires the most for their perseverance are Abraham Lincoln, and his daughter Meredith.
Snyder said that Lincoln failed the first seven times he ran for office, he went bankrupt, and he lost love of his life. But he never gave up, persevered, and became president.
Snyder became emotional at one point as he talked about his daughter Meredith. He said that when she was 17-years-old she was in a crash that left her paralyzed from the neck down. The family was told that Meredith would never walk again. Snyder said that doctors did not know what he did, how strong a person Meredith was. She was in the hospital for 6 months, and when she left she walked out on her own with a little assistance from a cane.
Snyder said “it is not about how fast you are or how strong you are, it’s about what’s in your mind and your heart and how hard you will work.”
Snyder told the new troopers that they have been fortunate during their training to be surrounded by people who care, and that they they need to be caring. He told them “you can and will make life better for others”.
Trooper Gregory Etris, Class #53 President, responded for his class. “We all have pushed each other to give our best each day,” he said. “We stand ready to protect the innocent from those who would do harm. These men are my brothers. They are my comrades.”
The class then took their oath of office and received their badges, each being pinned by one of their loved ones. KHP command staff members addressed the audience and the class; and the new troopers’ family members were thanked for their support thus far in the training of the 11 newest members of the Patrol. In a tradition of the Patrol, the 10 KHP troopers who have lost their lives in the line of duty were honored. Richards also provided the benediction.
Throughout their time at the training academy, recruits have gone through classroom and practical training. They have learned accident investigation techniques; testing of impaired drivers; Kansas laws and statutes; among many other things. They have practiced car stops; at the firing range; defensive tactics; testing for DUI; and other critical training components that they will need to incorporate as they are on their own out on the road.
New troopers have been assigned to the following counties: Bourbon, Finney (2 troopers), Franklin, Johnson, Lyon, McPherson (2 troopers), Riley, Sedgwick, and Thomas. Following graduation, these new troopers will begin field training with seasoned road troopers for several months.