35 cadets graduate from Kentucky State Police Academy

Thirty-five new Kentucky State Police Troopers were sworn in at graduation ceremonies held in Frankfort on Friday. | Photo contributed

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky State Police Academy presented diplomas to 35 new troopers at a graduation ceremony held in Frankfort on Friday. Their addition to the force brings the agency's strength to a total of 809 troopers serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.

"It is a profound honor today to welcome the newest members of the Commonwealth's 'Thin Gray Line'," said Gov. Matt Bevin. "The Kentucky State Police's 97th cadet class carries forward an incomparable tradition of servant leadership to our communities. As Kentuckians, we are grateful for their sacrificial service, we pray for their safety, and we commit to support them even as they serve and protect us."

KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the new troopers were a welcome addition to the ranks, noting that 58 troopers retired from the agency in 2017. "Who will fill their shoes," he asked. "Who will walk in their footsteps and protect the citizens of the Commonwealth?"

Sanders challenged the families and friends of the new troopers to help in the recruitment process.

"One of the best ways to support current troopers is to make sure the agency has a steady flow of quality recruits to maintain our strength in the field," he said. "So keep us in mind when talking to your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and neighbors about careers. Law enforcement is a noble profession that provides opportunities to contribute to society in many positive ways."

Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley praised the dedication of the new troopers.

"I'm immensely proud of the hard work and commitment these troopers have demonstrated at the academy and eager to have them serving our communities," he said. "We should all be thankful to have so many professionals at KSP who are dedicated to public safety and willing to make sacrifices on our behalf."

The new troopers are part of the agency's 97th cadet class. They reported for training on Aug. 12, 2018, in a class that consisted of 61 cadets. Twenty-six resigned during the program.

The training included more than 1,000 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigation, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, land navigation, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials.

Several members of the class earned special recognitions including valedictorian Brandon Boggs of Lawrenceburg and salutatorian Weston Sullivan of Campbellsville.

Matthew Spears of Lawrenceburg received the Ernie Bivens Award, an honor presented to the cadet who, in the opinion of the KSP Academy staff supported by input from the cadets themselves, shows distinction as a class leader, strives for academic excellence and has excelled in all phases of the academy's physical and vocational training.

Steven Davidson of Hyden received the Commissioner's Commitment to Excellence Award, which is presented to cadets who demonstrate leadership, the desire to get the job done and the determination to be the best every day.

Seven cadets earned associate's degrees in general occupational and technical studies from the Bluegrass Community and Technical College during the training. They include: Jonathan Bowman of London, Nicholas Brummett of Pineville, Shane Jacobs of Pippa Passes, Casey Keown of Caneyville, Jordan Matthews of Glasgow, Katan Parker of Bowling Green, and Austin Ramage of Boaz.

The cadets are the second group to benefit from new hiring guidelines established by the legislature in 2017. Through this revision, anyone who possesses a high school diploma or GED and has three years of full-time work experience can apply for employment as a Kentucky State Trooper and earn an associate's degree during the training process.

The following is a list of the new troopers, their duty assignments and their hometowns or residences:

POST 1, MAYFIELD

Justin Fox, Scottsville, Ky.

Austin Ramage, Boaz, Ky.

James Stewart, Steele, Mo.

POST 2, MADISONVILLE

Trevor High, Tompkinsville, Ky.

James Martin, Belton, Ky.

Ridge Porter, Beechmont, Ky.

POST 3, BOWLING GREEN

Brent Davis, Bowling Green, Ky.

Jordan Matthews, Glasgow, Ky.

Matthew Spears, Lawrenceburg, Ky.

POST 4, ELIZABETHTOWN

Casey Keown, Caneyville, Ky.

POST 5, CAMPBELLSBURG

Sheldon Kapp, Buckner, Ky.

Tyler Shaw, Louisville, Ky.

POST 6, DRY RIDGE

Jonathan Bowman, London, Ky.

Rickey Elmore, LaGrange, Ky.

Chris Johnson, Corbin, Ky.

POST 8, MOREHEAD

Darrell Hicks, London, Ky.

Tanner Johnson, Annville, Ky.

Leoncio Leal, Los Angeles, Ca.

Logan Miracle, Middlesboro, Ky.

Phillip Montgomery, Winchester, Ky.

Gary Smith, Morehead, Ky.

POST 9 PIKEVILLE

Billy Ball, Prestonsburg, Ky.

Nicholas Brummett, Pineville, Ky.

Shane Jacobs, Pippa Passes, Ky.

Mahala Lewis, Pleasureville, Ky.

Dylan Mullins, Melvin, Ky.

Katan Parker, Bowling Green, Ky.

Joshua Scott, West Van Lear, Ky.

POST 12, FRANKFORT

Brandon Boggs, Lawrenceburg, Ky.

Matthew Brumley, Somerset, Ky.

POST 14, ASHLAND

Patrick Bailey, Hazard, Ky.

Steven Davidson, Hyden, Ky.

Jansen Hacker, London, Ky.

James Rowland, Flat Gap, Ky.

POST 15, COLUMBIA

Weston Sullivan, Campbellsville, Ky.

Each new trooper will be supervised by a training officer for eight weeks after reporting to their post assignments.

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