As a large, overflow crowd of family, friends, and fellow officers looked on, a group of Kansas Highway Patrol recruits had their badges pinned on Thursday afternoon in Salina and officially became state troopers.
The 34 new state troopers were part of KHP Recruit Class #56, the latest graduates from the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy. This is the largest trooper class to graduate since 38 new troopers graduated in 2002.
The recruits began training in Salina back on July 6th. There were 43 recruits that began on that first day. Of those, 34 ended up making it through the 23 weeks of rigorous training, and graduated on Thursday.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt was the guest speaker. The Attorney General quipped that it was probably “the safest auditorium in the country right now,” before addressing the crowd. Schmidt said that unlike some other parts of the country, Kansas is proud of and supports its officers. In return, it is the obligation of all officers to have integrity and honor, and to be courteous as they serve and protect.
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.
The new troopers will now take residence in their assigned counties, and will begin the field training with a veteran trooper in their assigned area. New troopers will be stationed in the following counties: Anderson, Atchison, Barber, Brown, Dickinson, Douglas (2 troopers), Jackson, Johnson/Wyandotte (4 troopers), Labette (2 troopers), Linn, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Pottawatomie, Pratt (2 troopers), Rush, Saline, Scott, Sedgwick (2 troopers), Seward, Shawnee, Sherman, Sumner, Thomas, Trego, and Wabaunsee (2 troopers).
(click photos to enlarge)