32 New Troopers Graduate from Academy in Selma

Courtesy of ALEA

Alabama now has 32 new state troopers to help keep the roadways and communities safe.

Thanks to funding from Governor Kay Ivey and the legislature, the first of three 2019 trooper classes graduated on Thursday. Each graduate completed a 10 week training program at the Alabama Criminal Justice Center in Selma.

Troopers and their loved ones participated in a badge pinning, flag ceremony and commencement featuring ALEA’s Trooper Honor Guard.

“Training was tough. It was strenuous. You had to think and you had react under very tough situations as if you were on the road. You don’t have time to come up with a plan you just have to revert back to your training,” said State Trooper Class 2019-A President, Derrick Hodges.

Hodges began his career in law enforcement at the young age of 19. However, he was drawn to serving as a state trooper because of the sense of tradition and family.

“What sold me on being a state trooper is becoming family. You know, the tradition that happens. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around a state trooper but when they get on scene or the they show up, the whole thing changes,” Hodges said.

“You find out real quick in this line of work who you can depend on and who you can’t depend on. We’re just a lot like family. We may not always agree with each other but we can count on each other. And you do. We develop a brotherhood and a sisterhood with each other that just lasts. There are individuals that I went into the academy with that I talk to every week,” said Senior State Trooper Jeremy Burkett.

For Pate Nelson, the family ties run a little deeper. Nelson is now a fourth generation Alabama State Trooper.

“I didn’t think there was anything else I was going to do when I needed a career ’cause this was kind of the only thing I really knew,” said Nelson.

“I’m extremely proud of Pate,” said Pate’s grandfather and retired ALEA Captain Doug Nelson. “Of course I’m extremely proud of my son too. His grandfather, he and I were all captains and Pate, we hope, one day will be a captain also.”

Special guest speaker Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said he was honored to be part of the commencement at ALEA’s Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center, in Selma. He said it was important to celebrate not only the graduates’ achievements thus far, but what they will accomplish as they embark on this new adventure as ALEA Troopers. They are a select group of men and women who are called to public safety, who are willing to risk their own personal safety and who are joining a proud organization.

Trooper Class 2019-B, a 24-week academy for individuals who are not APOST-certified, is currently in session and set to graduate in the fall. A third class, Trooper Class 2019-C, is set to begin Sunday, Oct. 6.

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Categories: News, Statewide, West Alabama