Louisiana State Police welcomes more than two dozen graduates
BATON ROUGE- After five months of training, more than two dozen cadets have graduated the academy and are ready to join the Louisiana State Police.
Twenty-seven cadets are now troopers after graduating from the Louisiana State Police Training Academy on Friday.
Those men and women range from 22 to 48-years-old, and hail from all over the state. Now, they're all sporting the gold boot badge.
But of all the newly installed troopers, one stands above the rest. The top cadet is an honor given to just one graduate in each class. This trooper is the one who has received the award in academics, emergency driving, firearms, and physical fitness.
This year, Travis Blanchard of Lafayette took home the honor.
Besides the additional recognition, the top cadet earns another special token. In a sea of Crown Victoria patrol cars, a lone Tahoe stands out. And it's Blanchard's new ride.
It wasn't until Blanchard saw his wife in the audience that he knew what was happening.
"They pulled it out and I saw his name, and I started smiling. I saw him looking at me and I was like he knows...he knows it's coming," Blanchard's wife said.
Along with diplomas, twenty-seven sets of keys were distributed.
Blanchard and his prized patrol unit headed back home to their troop to protect and serve.