Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
WSP Cadet Trooper Graduation
March 17, 2004

Thank you, Chief Porter. Good afternoon everyone. Congratulations to this 90th trooper graduating class.

It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as Governor the past seven-plus years. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most is coming to these trooper graduations. Each time, like today, I am filled with pride to see such promising new troopers. You are the best of the best.

The 28 men and women we honor today have completed an arduous course. Several months of intense study. Hard work at the academy. Demanding classroom, practical and physical training. More hard work on field training trips. Sleepless nights. Stressful days. Second thoughts. Soul searching. Gut checks.

Well, you’ve made it. And we are all very proud of you. Welcome to the Washington State Patrol.

Today you join a very proud tradition. This tradition began eighty-three years ago, back in 1921. Six brave patrolmen kick-started their Harleys, and the Washington State Patrol was born.

I have a unique relationship with the men and women of the State Patrol. They not only serve under my administration—they also guard my family. They keep us out of harm’s way. They are our friends. And many of you have, as cadets watched over the mansion and gotten to especially know Emily and Dylan. My how they’re growing.

Today’s graduates join a tradition of courage, service, public safety and duty.

Each of you today answers a very personal sense of duty. No one can say exactly where this comes from, only that it is deep within certain people. Such people place the needs of society above their own needs.

Such are the men and women of the Washington State Patrol—and such are our 28 graduating cadets this afternoon. Every one of you answers that call of duty that comes from within. We are all humbly grateful that you do.

You are also drawn to public service, and we’re grateful for that too. Because of your career choice, we already know a lot about you. You are the ones who always want to help. You are not afraid to get involved. You find satisfaction in assisting others. You want to make a difference. I assure you, each of you will make a difference. Every day, one person and one situation at a time.

Today you join Washington’s premier law enforcement agency. Judged number one law enforcement agency in America for 2002 with reduced accidents, fatalities and aggressive enforcement of drunk driving. You will safeguard our highways, investigate crimes, and help to see that justice is served. You will help keep our state safer and saner. We are grateful for that as well.

To you family members here today, congratulations! If you think back, this day probably explains a lot. And why they were always suggesting improvements to your driving.

I know you are all very proud of your graduates. I want to congratulate and thank you, too, for doing such a great job of supporting and encouraging these new troopers.

To our new troopers: congratulations and good luck. Be careful out there. Be safe. Be vigilant. Remember that there’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop. Rely on your training, and keep faith with the virtues and values that brought you this far. As you watch out for others, watch out for yourself as well.

Finally—be proud. Because we are all very proud of you. God Bless you, and God Bless the Washington State Patrol.

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