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THP graduates new class of troopers

On January 15th, 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. This was the first time in the department’s history that a regular 16-week trooper cadet class and an eight-week lateral trooper cadet class simultaneously attended training. The lateral class returned from their district assignments for the graduation ceremony that took place at the Tennessee Highway Patrol Training Center in Nashville.

The 29 graduates of Trooper Cadet Class 121 included three prior law enforcement officers, 11 cadets with prior military service, five cadets with Associate’s degrees, 13 cadets with Bachelor’s degrees and four cadets with Master’s degrees. Lateral Trooper Cadet Class 1120 graduated seven trooper cadets composed of all prior Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified law enforcement officers. Class 1120 had two cadets with Bachelor’s degrees and one with an Associate’s degree.

The new troopers completed intense physical and classroom training which earned them their badges. The new graduates will continue their training with troopers classified as Field Training Officers, totaling more than 400 hours of hands-on experience in the field.

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Two cadets will now serve in Coffee County – Tyler Griffin and James Thompson. (pictured above)

Governor Lee served as the keynote speaker during the graduation ceremony and welcomed the class. Commissioner Long swore in the new troopers as they delivered their oaths of office in the presence of Governor Bill Lee.

“You are going to accomplish great things as you leave here today,” said Governor Bill Lee. “You will make a difference and you will save lives during your career.”

“It’s was a great honor to join Governor Bill Lee as we graduated our new troopers,” said Commissioner Jeff Long. “They went through extensive training and preparation. They came here not knowing one another, but they leave here with a new extended family.”

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“Throughout your career you will continue to be challenged,” said Colonel Matt Perry. “There are times that require us to change, adapt and grow. Maya Angelou said, “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” “Today I challenge you to rise up to the adversity you will face and never let it reduce you. “You do not serve yourself; you serve the citizens of the state of Tennessee and those that travel to and through our state,” said Colonel Matt Perry. “Governor Henry Horton said it best, you go not as Lords but as servants of the people.”

Bethel University presented a $5,000 scholarship to Trooper Melton Black. Trooper Black will serve at the Haywood County Scales in the Memphis District.

Trooper DeVonte Quinn of class 0120 and Trooper Thompson Stickler of class 1120 were named the top cadets for their respected class and presented with the Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence for their leadership, work ethic and academics. The award was named in honor of the late Trooper Calvin Jenks, who was killed in the line of duty in January 2007.

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