HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – The Kentucky State Police announced 51 cadets have graduated the agency’s training academy and are now ready to report for duty across the commonwealth.

Cadet Class 103 graduates increase the number of KSP troopers protecting Kentucky’s 120 counties to approximately 940, the highest number of troopers the agency has employed since 2006.

KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. pledged the agency’s commitment to continue providing exceptional training and critical resources to the 51 graduates to ensure a long and successful career in law enforcement.

“I am pleased to welcome these cadets to the rank of trooper,” he said. “It’s been a hard-fought journey for each of them, and they have more than earned the honor to wear our badge.”

KSP states Cadet Class 103 reported to the KSP training academy on February 26 to embark upon 24 weeks of intense training to learn the job skills necessary to perform the duties of a state trooper. The graduating cadets will uphold the mission of KSP to promote public safety through service, integrity and professionalism using partnerships to prevent, reduce and deter crime and the fear of crime, enhance highway safety through education and enforcement, safeguard property and protect individual rights.

KSP also states the graduates received more than 1,000 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defense tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigation, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials.

The Post 16 graduates of the 103rd KSP Training Academy included: Alena Dunaway, Owensboro, Ky., Christopher Meador, Shepherdsville, Ky., Samuel Mizner, Shepherdsville, Ky., Charles Rafferty, Leitchfield, Ky., Lukas Shephard, Beaver Dam, Ky., and Richard Thompson, Shepherdsville, Ky.

Several members of the graduating class also received special recognition during the ceremony with Trooper Richard Thompson received the ‘Ernie Bivens Award’. This honor is presented to a cadet who, in the opinion of the KSP Academy and fellow cadets, shows distinction as a leader, strives for academic excellence and has excelled in all phases of the academy’s physical and vocational training.

Trooper Samuel Mizner also received the ‘Commissioner’s Commitment to Excellence Award’. This is presented to the cadet who has demonstrated leadership, the desire to get the job done and is always determined to be the best every day.

KSP says the recruitment branch is currently accepting applications for the upcoming cadet class 104, which is slated to begin January 2024. The deadline to apply is by close of business August 31.