Highway Patrol welcomes new class of graduates
Published 3:05 pm Monday, June 26, 2023
On June 23, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long and Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Matt Perry welcomed the newest graduating classes of Tennessee State Troopers. The department simultaneously instructed a regular 17-week trooper cadet class and an 11-week lateral trooper cadet class. The lateral class returned from their district assignments for the graduation ceremony that took place at the Hermitage Hills Baptist Church on Lebanon Road in Nashville.
The 15 graduates of Trooper Cadet Class 623 included six cadets with prior military service, two cadets with associate’s degrees, six cadets with bachelor’s degrees, and one cadet with a master’s degree. Cadet Class 623 additionally hosted a blood drive with the American Red Cross and Blood Assurance.
Lateral Trooper Cadet Class 523 graduated 14 cadets composed of all prior Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified law enforcement officers from across Tennessee. Class 523 included three cadets with associate’s degrees, one cadet with a bachelor’s degree, and four cadets with prior military service. The lateral class brings a combined 109 years of prior law enforcement experience to the THP.
Chief Operating Officer Brandon Gibson served as the keynote speaker during the graduation ceremony, and Commissioner Jeff Long swore in the new troopers as they delivered their oaths of office.
“It was our honor to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of these two cadet classes today,” said Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long. “These new troopers have earned the privilege to serve the people of Tennessee in one of the most well-respected law enforcement agencies in the nation. I commend each of them for their willingness to protect and serve our great state. Congratulations on this tremendous accomplishment.”
“Joining any law enforcement agency makes you a part of something far bigger than yourself. The citizens of Tennessee have placed their trust in you, and that trust must be earned every day,” said Colonel Matt Perry. He reminded them of the challenges of the job, the split-second decisions that would have to be made, and the risk to their personal safety. He continued, telling the newest members of the Highway Patrol, “You have embarked on a career of service in the Volunteer State. When you leave here today remember that service is at the heart of being a Tennessee State Trooper.”
Trooper Lance Willis of class 623 was named the top cadet for his class and was presented with the Trooper Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence for his 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.