Updated: October 22, 2021 06:44 PM
Created: October 22, 2021 03:55 PM
Thirty-four men and women joined the ranks of the Minnesota State Patrol on Friday.
The new class of cadets includes five women, 12 military veterans, two pilots, and three cadets with family members in the state patrol. Plus, there are plenty of unique aspects to the class — including a Guinness World Record holder for barefoot water skiing.
"We got 38 bare-footers at one time," said Patrick Fitzgibbons, one of the newest troopers.
This class also includes the tallest trooper in the history of the Minnesota State Patrol.
"Seven foot and three-quarters of an inch without shoes or boots," said Kristian Jensen, one of the newest Troopers with MN State Patrol.
They all have a story to tell, including Kristian Jensen, who started out in education and has called 10 different countries home.
"I've always enjoyed working in service jobs, and thought this would be a good service for the community that I live in," Jensen said.
On Friday, Jensen joined 33 other men and women to celebrate graduating from the Minnesota State Patrol's 63rd Training Academy. They come from all different backgrounds, but now these 34 Troopers are united in one common goal.
"We want to save lives, I want to save lives, make a difference," said LeeTou Yang, one of the newest troopers.
Like Yang, many of these men and women have absolutely zero experience in law enforcement.
"I did work in retail for about 12 years," Yang said.
They talked about the rigorous training at Camp Ripley that helped prepare them for this moment.
"Sun up to sun down, every day," Yang said.
"It definitely tests your mental and physical skills, but it's definitely worth it in the end," Fitzgibbons said.
The 14-week course featured all sorts of training that included crash investigations, traffic law, how to operate emergency vehicles and scenario-based de-escalation training.
"I think each one of us had a different experience but the commonality between us is that it was difficult," Jensen said.
Friday's graduation comes at a time when Lt. Gordon Shank admits it's not as easy to hire.
"We're not shy about the fact that recruitment has its challenges right now but we need troopers, and we need people to apply; we need people out here to make a difference," Shank said.
"If you want to go out and make a difference, go out and do it," Yang said.
For more information on the State Patrol's Law Enforcement Training Opportunity click here.
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