TFC Jay Thomas
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 1, Mayfield
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Twenty Cadets Graduate from KSP Academy's
First Accelerated Class
(Hickory, KY) - Trooper Harvey Baxter was one of twenty new troopers joining the ranks of the Kentucky State Police during graduation ceremonies held January 12 at Kentucky State University's Bradford Auditorium in Frankfort. Trooper Baxter, the class president and winner of the overall fitness award, was employed by the Paducah Police Department before joining the Kentucky State Police. Trooper Baxter, assigned to Post One will be patrolling Lyon County.
The graduates, which include two African-American males, are the first to complete the Kentucky State Police Accelerated Entry Program, a special training course for law enforcement officers with at least three years of previous law enforcement experience.
The accelerated entry program was created to expedite the selection, training and placement of individuals who already possess the skills, experience and certification to meet Kentucky's Peace Officer Professional Standards. Participants in the program receive 11 weeks of training rather than the standard 22 weeks required for cadets with no previous law enforcement background.
In awarding their diplomas, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Patrick N. Simpson drew attention to the pioneer status of the class. "As the first graduates of this program, these new troopers are making history. They'll have an immediate impact in boosting our field force. Many eyes will be watching them. However, I have every confidence that they will successfully meet all future challenges they may face and contribute to the public safety of the Commonwealth through service, integrity and professionalism."
Simpson also noted that due to the state's uncertain budget situation, this cadet class might be the last until fiscal year 2004. "Unfortunately, the Thin Gray Line might be getting a little thinner," he said. With the addition of the newly graduated cadets to the force, the agency currently has a strength of 957 sworn officers serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Normally, the Kentucky State Police Academy graduates one class of up to 80 cadets each per year. "With almost one-third of our existing force eligible for retirement by the end of fiscal year 2003 and the possibility of no cadet classes, our human resources might become strained in the future, affecting our ability to deliver the high performance service that the citizens of Kentucky expect and deserve," he added.
Several members of the class earned special recognition including: Valedictorian Charles Johnson of London, KY; Salutatorian Daren Phelps of Morgantown, KY.
Daren Phelps of Morgantown, KY received the Ernie Bevins Award, an honor presented to the cadet who, in the opinion of the Kentucky State Police Academy staff supported by input from the cadets, distinguishes themselves as a class leader, strives for academic excellence and has excelled in all phases of the academy's physical and vocational training