Virginia’s Finest welcomed 74 additional new troopers and one special agent accountant to the department’s ranks Friday, January 8, following the 123rd Basic Session’s graduation ceremony. Commencement exercises were held in the Virginia State Police Gymnasium.
Two Patrick County natives are among those beginning their new patrol assignments Monday in the Commonwealth:
Trooper Austin L. Albright, 22, of Fairystone, is Greensville County’s newest trooper. Trooper Albright sought a career with the state police for its career opportunities and for the department’s reputation for being “very professional.”
For Trooper Joshua D. Cockerham, Botetourt County is his first patrol assignment. The 27-year-old Ararat native is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice. Joining the state police fulfills a longtime aspiration for Trooper Cockerham, “I have always wanted to be in law enforcement, and help protect and serve my family and community.”
“Law enforcement is one of the most honorable calls to service,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Why endure 28 weeks of a physical, emotional and demanding academic environment? It’s because the men and women who take this oath have a passion to protect their communities and understand what it means to sacrifice and serve.”
The state police graduates are comprised of individuals from every part of the Commonwealth to also include the states of Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The class also graduates an individual born in the Czech Republic.
Members of the 123rd Basic Session began their probationary training phase February 25, 2015, followed by 28 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the academy. The probationary phase requires trainees to complete two and a half weeks of introductory training at the academy before being assigned to a field training officer (FTO).
The new troopers have received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including crime scene investigation, survival Spanish, judicial procedures, self defense, cultural diversity and firearms.
Following graduation, the new troopers’ final phase of training began Monday, January 11, when they reported for their individual duty assignments. Each trooper will spend a minimum of six weeks with an FTO learning his or her new patrol area and day-to-day duties.