governor mark parkinson speaks at the graduation exercises for the kansas highway patrol on thursday, aug. 19, 2010 at the kansas highway patrol training academy. (photo by jeff cooper/ salina journal) | buy journal photos


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principal deputy assistant attorney general mary lou leary speaks at the kansas highway patrol graduation exercises on thursday, aug. 19, 2010 at the kansas highway patrol training academy. (photo by jeff cooper/ salina journal)

kansas governor welcomes newest kansas highway patrol troopers


salina journal

by gary demuth

salina journal

kansas gov. mark parkinson said he was honored to welcome 20 new troopers to the kansas highway patrol.

especially since there hasn’t been a graduating class since december 2008.

because of statewide budget cuts, new troopers could not be hired until the kansas highway patrol was awarded an american recovery and reinvestment act grant in 2009 from the u.s. department of justice.

the grant allows the patrol to hire new troopers to form a domestic highway enforcement team to help deter crime and drug trafficking on kansas rural and interstate highways.

parkinson was the keynote speaker during graduation ceremonies thursday at the kansas highway patrol training academy, 2025 e. iron.

the governor told the new troopers, friends and family members and law enforcement officers from around the state that no one was more proud to welcome new troopers to the khp than him.

“budget cuts have forced us to cut everything to the bone,” parkinson said. “through this federal recovery act, we were able to apply for a grant that authorizes training and salaries for the next couple of years. without it, we couldn’t do this.”

even with the grant, parkinson said, only a select few out of hundreds of applicants were invited to kansas highway patrol training academy this year.

“we can only select people who are super-qualified, and you 20 are part of that select group,” he said. “the highway patrol in kansas has a rich history. we hope you’ll give 30 to 40 years of great service to the state.”

the new troopers underwent more than 900 hours of training during more than five months at the salina academy, said col. terry maple, kansas highway patrol superintendent. after graduation, they will spend another 70 days in field training.

drugs along the highways

also speaking at the graduation was mary lou leary, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the u.s. department of justice in washington, d.c.

leary said she was proud her department was able to distribute $4.7 million in recovery grants to law enforcement agencies such as the kansas highway patrol.

“with that, we’re now able to hire officers like you,” leary told the graduates.

having more well-trained troopers available is vital because of the dramatic increase in drug trafficking along kansas highways, especially on heavily used highways such as interstate highway 70, leary said.

“millions of dollars of drugs are transported along kansas highways,” she said. “through the domestic highway enforcement team, which these funds are being used for, we’ll all be working together for public safety. because of the recovery act, we’ll see an impact for years to come.”

nreporter gary demuth can be reached at 822-1405 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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