NASHVILLE – On March 17, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Matt Perry welcomed the newest graduating classes of Tennessee State Troopers at the Hermitage Hills Baptist Church on Lebanon Road in Nashville.
The department simultaneously instructed a regular trooper cadet class and a lateral trooper cadet class. The regular trooper cadet class graduated 21 troopers that completed 16 weeks of rigorous training to prepare them for their new law enforcement career. The lateral trooper cadet class graduated 29 troopers. They completed 10 weeks of specialized training, which was designed to build upon their previous law enforcement training and experience. Each member of the lateral class is a prior Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified law enforcement officer.
Combined, these newest graduating classes have five troopers with associate’s degrees, nine troopers with bachelor’s degrees, and include 17 troopers with prior military service.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee served as the keynote speaker for the graduation. “Law enforcement is more than a career – it’s a calling. The Tennessee Highway Patrol plays an important role in protecting Tennesseans, and I commend Tennessee’s newest trooper class for answering this important call to protect and serve our state,” said Governor Bill Lee. “Tennessee stands with law enforcement, and we’ll continue to make strong investments to put additional officers on Tennessee roads, support our officers with high-quality training and provide the resources needed to protect Tennessee communities.”
“Today, we recognize the hard work and perseverance you have shown during several months of difficult physical and academic training,” said Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long. “You are now part of a thin blue line that brings order during chaos. Congratulations on joining one of the most respected law enforcement agencies in the United States.”
“Joining any law enforcement agency makes a cadet a part of something far bigger than yourself. The citizens of Tennessee have placed their trust in us, and that trust must be earned every day,” said Colonel Matt Perry. “These cadets have embarked on a career of service in the Volunteer State. Every day as we don our uniform, we remember that service is at the heart of being a Tennessee State Trooper. Governor Henry Horton said it best when he said, ‘Go not as lords, but as servants of the people.’”
Trooper Michael Withers was named the top trooper cadet and was presented the Trooper Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence for achieving the overall highest average. The award honors the late Trooper Calvin Jenks, who was killed in the line of duty in January 2007.