CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time since 2015, the West Virginia State Police has a new cadet class.

The graduation ceremony for 40 new West Virginia State Troopers was held Friday at the University of Charleston’s Riggleman Hall.

“We are so excited about this,” Col. Jan Cahill, West Virginia State Police Superintendent, said. “It’s been almost four years since we had hired a State Police cadet class.”

This new class of troopers took part in an accelerated course. They came from law enforcement backgrounds such as county, city, campus, or natural resource police officers.

West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Jan Cahill

The accelerated class took about 10 weeks to complete with a couple weekends, according to Cahill. The basic class, that all of the 66th graduating class had already been through, is for trainees new to law enforcement and it takes between 25 and 30 weeks.

“It was just a great class,” Cahill said. “This class just jived well together. After the first week, they were like a division one football team. They really worked well with each other and were talking last night at their dinner.

“I think they wouldn’t have minded staying a few more weeks, they liked it. They liked the camaraderie and brotherhood together. It was an outstanding class.”

Cahill said the force is up to around 630 with this graduating class, not as high as they’ve seen in the past with 690.

“Any police agency across the state and nationwide will tell you recruitment, retention, and attrition are all the challenges of law enforcement right now.

“It’s a tough job, It can a thankless job but it’s a rewarding career. The guys that put this uniform on, they never regret it.”

Cahill and Governor Jim Justice announced at the ceremony that there is enough money for a 67th Cadet Class that will be starting January 7. It will be around the same size as the 66th class.

Justice was among a number of speakers as he gave a graduation address.

“I could not be more proud of you,” Justice said. “I mean that from the bottom of my heart. God bless you in every way. Thank you so much for having me and thank you for all those who came today to support you.”

The 66th Cadet Class finished with an average GPA of 96.8, according to Cahill. The valedictorian of the class was Carolton E. Smith, who finished with a 99.9 GPA.

Smith gave acknowledgment to the class as the class representative.

“Don’t ever forget that honesty, respect, courage, compassion, and integrity must always be at the forefront of what we do. The moment we stray from these values is the moment cease to be effective on-duty and this is something we cannot afford.

“We showed up at Academy Drive as classmates, but I’m now proud to call you my brothers.”

Jonathan D. Morton was given the Perseverance Award while Kevin C. Raymond was given the Outstanding Officer Award. The class was under the direction of Cpt. D. M. Lee.

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