On Friday, 42 new Washington State Patrol troopers were sworn in by Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Stephens in a ceremony held at the Washington State Patrol Academy in Olympia.
Among them were Christopher Kuo, of Roy, and Brandon Meade, of Yelm.
Other area graduates include William L. Austin, of Olympia, Zachary D. Brown, of Graham, and Cody Allen, of Tumwater.
“The 42 cadets graduating today endured a rigorous application process, extensive background investigation, and received the best training, unmatched anywhere else in the nation,” said Chief John Batiste. “Today, they will join the ranks of Washington’s finest, as troopers of the Washington State Patrol, a tradition that began 99 years ago on June 21, 1921, when six brave men kick-started their Indian motorcycles, strapped on an armband and started a proud tradition known today as the Washington State Patrol.”
It was the 112th Trooper Basic Training Class at the WSP Academy.
Graduates have more than 1,000 hours if training, according to a state patrol press release.
The academy produces approximately three cadet classes each biennium, which accounts for about 100 to 120 new troopers. Historically, only about four to six percent of the total number of applicants makes the grade to become WSP troopers, according to the state patrol.
Colten D. Von Fleet, of Olympia, was presented with the Core Values Award, which goes to the caded “who most typifies the training division core values, which includes strong leadership, effective partnerships, professional excellence, acting with integrity and accountability, respecting and protecting individual rights and earning the trust and confidence of the public.”
The award is provided through an anonymous vote by fellow cadets. The award 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 Aug. 6, 2015. The award was presented in Trooper Hanger’s honor by his wife, Lisa Hanger. In addition to this award, Batiste presented seven trooper cadets with awards at a ceremony held on March 12.
These awards included:
Top Academic Award
Presented to Trooper Kelsey T. Dove. This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of the cadet who attains the highest grade point average compiled over 30 exams and quizzes. The class average GPA for the 112th Trooper Basic Training Class was 91 percent. Dove’s GPA was 95 percent.
Top Driving Award
Presented to Trooper Graysen J. Foust. This award recognizes the highest level of proficiency with respect to driving skills and techniques, decision-making and mindset, and steady and constant improvement through each phase of driver training.
Top Firearms Award
Presented to Trooper Zachary D. Brown. This award recognizes the highest level of proficiency with all weapon systems, marksmanship scores and skills, and demonstration of sound judgment during practical encounter scenarios.
Top Physical Fitness
Presented to Trooper Mark T. Schenck. This award recognizes the highest level of drive and tenacity in physical fitness testing and training. The recipient of this award consistently performed at the top of the Trooper Basic Training Class during physical training. In addition, this award recognizes the highest level of proficiency in control tactics techniques, to include self-defense, handcuffing, searching and use of force thought process.
Top Control Tactics Award
Presented to Trooper Andrew J. Willard. This award recognizes the highest level of proficiency in control tactics techniques, to include self-defense, handcuffing, searching and use of force thought process.
Top Collision Investigation Award
Presented to Trooper Graysen J. Foust, this award recognizes the highest level of proficiency regarding collision investigation, including mathematical computation, scene investigation, information and evidence gathering, report writing and teamwork.
Top Overall Cadet Award
Presented to Trooper Colton D. Van Vleet, this 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 percent in every aspect of their training. Trooper Van Vleet demonstrated the necessary skills, abilities, and judgment to be an excellent trooper, and he made extra efforts to make continuous improvements.