VASSALBORO — Maine State Police graduates got their marching orders Friday.

Twelve graduates of the 61st Recruit Training Troop were told the core values of state troopers are fairness, integrity, compassion and excellence, before receiving their badges at an official ceremony Friday at the Maine Criminal Justice Police Academy.

After nine months of strenuous training, graduates changed out of their ceremonial attire and into their uniforms Friday, then drove away from the academy in their assigned vehicles.

They will take a one-week vacation then they will report to their assigned regions.

Keynote speakers were Gov. Paul LePage and Maine State Police Chief Col. Robert Williams.

Officers representing the New England State Police Administrators Conference Colorguard attended the ceremony from Maine, Connecticut, Massachussets, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“On behalf of the great state of Maine, I commend you on this great accomplishment,” LePage said. “You represent the very best this state has to offer. Whatever challenges that meet you tomorrow, I know you are prepared to meet those challenges.”

The governor stressed that being a state trooper is only part of the job. They also must be good family members, friends and neighbors in their communities, he said.

Seventeen candidates applied to become state troopers nine months ago, Williams told the graduates. Fourteen showed up on the first day and 12 endured the rigorous program that includes 500 hours of classroom instruction and “many hours of discipline and self-restraint,” Williams said.

Students of the academy rise before 5 a.m. and often don’t go to bed until midnight.

“Every challenge was designed for a specific purpose,” Williams said, adding that a large part of their training requires that troopers exercise critical thinking skills on the job, under stressful circumstances.

Williams boiled his speech down to a few main points: The job, he said, is an awesome responsibility and troopers must care for the general public, their families and for themselves. Troopers must listen.

He said all the people they come in contact with will have something to offer; this includes fellow troopers, family members and even people they have to arrest.

“Never forget who you are or who you represent,” Williams concluded, reciting the core values.

Jillian Monahan came to the academy from South Hampton, Mass., and will report to Troop F in Houlton.

“It’s the best training you could receive,” she said. “You think, ‘What is the purpose of this?’ But it always reflects back to the skills you need.”

Monahan and her fellow graduates will spend the next couple of months training with a fellow trooper on the road.

Just before the end of the ceremony, graduates turned to face the audience and recited the State Trooper pledge. Their final formation as they marched through a corridor of family and friends broke when troopers exchanged handshakes and smiles.

John Maguire is a Kennebec Journal correspondent who lives in Whitefield.


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