27 troopers graduate from academy in Jefferson City

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JEFFERSON CITY- The Missouri State Highway Patrol celebrated the graduation of 27 troopers in Jefferson City on Friday morning.

It was the 104th recruit class to graduate from the Patrol’s Law Enforcement Academy.

The group originally consisted of 38 individuals, but over the six months of training, 11 left. 

One graduate, Bradley Lueckenhoff, said the past 26 weeks weren’t easy.

“It started out very difficult, the last six months did," he said. Right off the bat it was a lot of physical training, as well as a big part of it was mental. Not a whole lot of sleep, kind of breaking us down a little bit."

Lueckenhoff said his class spent many days fighting, swimming, weight lifting and running to the Capitol.

Col. Sandra K. Karsten spoke at the ceremony.

She said it takes a special kind of person to be a trooper.

“It takes a commitment. You know that you’re going to be away from your friends and family for 26 weeks, during the week,” Karsten said. “We look for folks who have had a solid work history, solid family background and education, so all of those combine together to make a great trooper."

Karsten talked about why the 104th class was so special to her.

“It’s my first class to have graduated under my command as colonel and they were there whenever it was announced I was going to be the colonel,” Karsten said. "They were there whenever I took the oath of office, as the colonel and I have had a close connection with many of the members in this class.”

General Attorney Josh Hawley delivered the keynote address.

“Being a trooper is not a career. A career benefits the person holding the position. This is a vocation. A vocation benefits the good of all,” he said.

Sgt. John H. Lueckenhoff sang the national anthem with his son and the Troop F Color Guard presented and retired the colors.

The Academy presented four awards to the class. There were awards for firearms, physical fitness and academics. The overall award, The Superintendant’s award, was given to the trooper who preformed high in all three of those categories.

The graduated troopers will report to different troops throughout Missouri. Karsten said they will spend the next 70 days on the road working with field training officers.