Good news, Washington! We’re about to welcome 39 new officers to our force. That means our roads are about to get even safer.

Today marked the first day of celebrations for these cadets/soon-to-be troopers, starting with a traditional badge pinning ceremony and an open house at the WSP Academy for family and friends. Throughout the day, you could see the excitement of tomorrow’s graduation starting to set in on these new officers.

Before they receive their commission cards tomorrow afternoon from Governor Jay Inslee and WSP Chief John R. Batiste, a few cadets were recognized for their achievement during the training process.

Top Driving Award: Logan A. Swift

Top Firearms Award: Daniel L. Johnson

Top Fitness/Top Control Tactics Award: Karl A. Fenster

Top Academic Award: Logan A. Swift

Top Collision Investigation Award: Logan A. Swift

Top Overall Cadet Award: Logan A. Swift

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The WSP also presents a Core Values award every graduation. The award recognizes the trooper cadet who demonstrated great courage to overcome obstacles, unwavering dedication to stay focused on reaching their goals, and their ability to give 100% in every aspect of their training. The recipient is given this award after an anonymous vote of his or her classmates. The award itself is sponsored by the Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation and honors the most recent State Patrol employee to give their life in service to the citizens of the state of Washington. Trooper Brent L. Hanger died in the line of duty on August 6, 2015. The award will be presented in Trooper Hanger’s honor by his wife, Lisa Hanger. You’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see who takes home this honor.

Tomorrow’s graduation follows more than 1,000 hours of rigorous training…both in and out of the classroom.

Fox Kelvin_DSC0213_preview.jpgOn September 13, Cadet Kelvin Fox was on his coaching trip with Trooper Jeff Evers when they were called to Freeman High School in Spokane where there were reports of an active shooter. Cadet Fox was one of the first WSP troopers to arrive on scene. Once on site, Cadet Fox put on his ballistic vest, grabbed his rifle, and took part in the incident. He assisted with escorting EMS crews to kids who had been shot, joined in a search for possible additional suspects and helped secure areas for parents to re-unite with their children. Fox responded to the entire event without any hesitation and with extreme professionalism.  This is far from a typical day for a trooper-in-training. All cadets undergo multiple coaching trips before they become full-fledged troopers. They are typically eight week coaching trips. The coaching trips allow troopers to mentor and oversee cadets as they respond to real world emergency calls. Most of these calls are for speeders, impaired drivers and other roadway violators. The shooting is an extraordinary call for a trooper-in-training.

Ford Jared_DSC0217_preview.jpgOn October 6, 2017, Cadet Jared Ford was also on his coaching trip when a call came over the county dispatch radio that there was an explosion and multiple structures on fire. Cadet Ford and his coach Trooper Matthew Rabe saw the plume of smoke and the glow of the fire. They followed two Ocean Shores Police cruisers to the fire scene. Immediately the trooper and the cadet went door to door, knocking on doors evacuating nearby residents for an entire city block. After getting everyone out of the nearby homes, they stopped traffic to allow the first firetruck on scene.

The initial fire engine only had one firefighter. So Trooper Rabe jumped on the top of the engine and sprayed the hose line over the house fire. Cadet Ford, who is also a volunteer firefighter for a Mason County agency, jumped into action. Cadet Ford pulled the hose line from the fire engine to the house fire. Next, he manned the hose line on the ground until fire crews could get all of their firefighting protective equipment on and run the hose line. Ford also used bolt cutters to cut through fences and allow firefighters better access to the flames. In addition, Ford used a pry bar to pull a hood off a burning vehicle to allow fire crews the chance to disconnect the battery and put out the car fire. Cadet Ford acted above and beyond what could be expected of a cadet on a training trip according to his coach. After approximately an hour at the fire scene, Cadet Ford didn’t have a dry stitch of clothing on him.

Being a first responder is in Cadet Ford’s blood. His dad is a retired police officer out of the San Diego area.  His dad is now a volunteer chaplain at a Mason County area fire department where Ford is a volunteer.

We, as an agency, are proud of these men and women and are confident that they will serve this state and its citizens with integrity and professionalism.

Tomorrow’s official graduation ceremony will take place at the Legislative Building Rotunda, starting at 2 p.m. We understand that not everyone can make the trip to Olympia for the graduation, but don’t worry…whatever your situation, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be live-streaming tomorrow’s graduation on Facebook and Twitter as well as giving you behind-the-scenes looks and interviews on Instagram. However you want to tune in, we thank you for your support and look forward to sharing this special event with you. If you can join us, be sure to use and follow the hashtag #WSPGrad108.

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