Sparks ready to begin new law enforcement career with THP

Six of 83 graduates assigned to district that includes White County


Tennessee Highway Patrol recently held a graduation ceremony in which Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long and THP Col. Matt Perry accepted 83 new Tennessee State Troopers.

Of those 83 graduates, six were placed in District 6, of which White County is a part, bringing the district’s total number of troopers to 88. While six newly commissioned troopers will be on the roads, two of those troopers were part of the Lateral Trooper Cadet Class – including Jacob Sparks, a former deputy with White County Sheriff’s Office. All six of District 6’s new troopers will be assigned to what the department considers interstate counties and will still need to complete the Field Training Officer program in which they will ride with a FTO trainer for a period of time before they are given shifts of their own.

Trooper Class 624 presented 67 troopers for graduation alongside 16 troopers from the Lateral Trooper Cadet Class 524 which was composed of cadets who were previously certified as Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (P.O.S.T.) law enforcement officers. The two classes were instructed simultaneously for 11 weeks with the regular cadet class continuing for an additional six weeks of training. Once the entire 17 weeks were completed, the lateral class returned from their assignments to join in on the ceremony that took place in Hermitage, Tennessee.

One particular cadet in Trooper Class 624 stood out. Trooper Kirby W. Smith was named the top cadet in the class and was presented with the Trooper Calvin Jenks Memorial Award for Excellence. The award, which was awarded to Smith as a symbol of his leadership, work ethic, and outstanding academic standing, was named in honor of the late Trooper Calvin Jenks who was killed in the line of duty, in January 2007.

“Your goal of one day joining the ranks of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has turned into a reality,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long told the new classes during the ceremony. “Your hard work, persistence, and desire to serve your fellow man have paid off.  I am proud to welcome and congratulate you for earning your right to be called a Tennessee State Trooper.”

Col. Perry accepted the class into the THP and told them that they are now part of something bigger than themselves.

“Today, you represent the Tennessee Highway Patrol while in uniform and out. You will be held to a higher standard – not only by the public but also by your peers and your leaders.” Perry told them before speaking about the importance of the new positions they will hold. “You have embarked on a career of service in the Volunteer State. When you leave here today, and every day as you don your uniform, remember that service is at the heart of being a Tennessee State Trooper.”       


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