TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida Highway Patrol is growing. Ninety-five new troopers joined the rank and file on Thursday.

Thursday’s graduation marked the first time two classes of recruits trained and graduated simultaneously. They join 1,800 troopers on patrol around the state, the FHP announced.

“As we mark our 75th anniversary of the patrol, these new troopers represent the agency’s future and will carry on FHP’s traditions and dedication to public safety in the years to come,” said Col. David Brierton, director of FHP.

Member of the 126th and 127th recruit classes went through 23 weeks of physical training and academic study. Their courses included human relations, law, firearms, defense tactics, vehicle operation and first aid. The recruits also participated in community service activities, including blood drives and working with those with developmental disabilities.

New troopers Alec Ritter and Margarita Sanchez were honored with the Executive Director’s award for achieving the highest grade point average at the academy. Troopers David Gonzalez and Ryan Dalton were given the Director’s award for demonstrating extraordinary courtesy and dedication during the 23 weeks of training.

Attorney General Pam Bondi was the key note speaker at the ceremony in Tallahassee.

“For 75 years the Florida Highway Patrol has worked to build a reputation as one of the best state law enforcement agencies in our country,” she said. “I am honored to be a part of this historic day and to welcome these 95 troopers who will build on FHP’s legacy of providing public safety and assistance to the millions of residents and visitors who travel Florida’s highways every day.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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