While the nation debates the future of law enforcement, in Austin the Texas Department of Public Safety has commissioned 77 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers in a graduation ceremony held on Friday, July 17. These new Troopers join the ranks of thousands of veteran commissioned DPS officers stationed across Texas. Governor Greg Abbott delivered the keynote address during Friday’s ceremony for Class A-2020. We didn’t know it but this was the DPS department’s 166th recruit class, and these new recruits range in age from 21 to 42 years old. Fifteen of these recruits had prior law enforcement experience, 29 served in the military and two recruits celebrated the birth of a baby while at the academy. This class even had a former NFL player in its lineup. This 77 member recruit class had to tackle some unique challenges during the 27-week Training Academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To do so, these recruits underwent twice-daily health screenings. This class were divided into multiple classrooms and even socially distanced during meals in the academy cafeteria. These top men and women who stood the test will report to their individual duty stations on Aug. 3. We thought this was an interesting report about this latest academy class of men and women beginning such an important new career. We checked with local supervising DPS Sergeant Rob Willoughby and learned none of those DPS rookies will be assigned to his area of responsibility.