HELENA – The Montana Highway Patrol welcomed four new members to its ranks during a ceremony in Helena Friday morning.

New troopers Calvin Jimmerson and Toni Snelling of Billings, Branden Timm of Big Timber and Perry Woodland of Cascade received graduation certificates and their badges, after months of training in the MHP Advanced Academy.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was among the leaders who welcomed the graduates. He encouraged them to think about the importance of character.

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“Public service is really a time-honored profession, for which your reward will only be as meaningful as the effort, energy and heart you invest into your work,” Fox said.

Col. Tom Butler, chief of the Highway Patrol, asked the new troopers to build relationships in their communities, treat others with respect and take time for their own families.

“Today, I’m honored to have you joining the family of the best law enforcement team in Montana, as we continue the important work of serving the people of the great state of Montana,” he said.

The cadets selected Jimmerson to speak on behalf of their class. He decided to apply to MHP after several years working in IT.

“It’s a little bit different pace, going from sitting at a desk to sitting in a patrol car,” he said.

Jimmerson said he’s honored to carry on MHP’s legacy.

“I’m just overwhelmed by the support that we’ve had here for graduation and up to this point, the last six months of training,” he said. “There’s so many people that are behind law enforcement and it means a lot.”

Jimmerson will be working in his home community of Billings. As a trooper, he said he wants to help address drunk driving and drug trafficking in Montana.

All four of the new troopers will serve initially in eastern Montana, where leaders say they needed to account for retirements and other job openings.

Friday’s event was the 63rd graduation ceremony for the MHP Advanced Academy. Leaders said this graduating class was unusually small. They said, in many cases, the Highway Patrol receives fewer applications when the job market in other industries is stronger.

MHP is already preparing for its next round of applicants. The agency will start accepting applications for ten open trooper positions on March 6. You can find more information and instruction on how to apply at the MHP website.