Photo/Story Gallery 2008

116th Recruit Class Graduation

116th Recruit Class.Troopers ready, lead all day!
The 116th is here, make way!

On December 18, 2008, at Tallahassee Community College’s Turner Auditorium, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp, the Commencement Speaker for the Florida Highway Patrol’s 116th Recruit Class, congratulated 52 new State Troopers as they joined the ranks of the Florida Highway Patrol. Forty-eight men and four (women) were sworn-in today by Colonel John T. Czernis, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, taking an oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida. Thirty-eight of the 52 troopers attended the full basic recruit academy of 27 weeks, and 14 additional members joined them as certified officers, and they (all 52 members) attended the last 8 weeks together.

116th Final FormationEach member passed a rigorous selection and background process before he or she was invited to attend the FHP Training Academy. Approximately 3,500 men and women applied for the 116th Academy Class. Due to the rigorous selection and background progress, only one in every 50 applicants (2%) is offered employment.

These new troopers have been assigned to various places throughout the state—from Tavernier in the Florida Keys to Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle.

After graduation, these new troopers will report to their respective duty assignments—after a short period of R & R—and begin a 10-week Field Training Officer (FTO) program. Upon successful completion of the FTO program, they will be released to solo patrol (patrolling the highways of the state on their own).

Swearing in.This was a special day for the new troopers, their families, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the residents and visitors of our great state. During the graduation ceremony, Colonel Czernis asserted, “We are proud that these men and women have selected law enforcement as their career, and we are especially proud that they have chosen the Florida Highway Patrol. The expectations for quality and professional law enforcement services by both the residents and visitors of Florida require our troopers to be the best of the best. I assure you, these graduates represent some of the best there are in law enforcement.”


The Florida Highway Patrol Training Academy had its 2nd Family Fun Day event on December 17, 2008. This Family Fun Day was a reward to the 116th Recruit Class and their families for the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices made during this training. Further, this event provides a wonderful opportunity for the recruits to share some of their Academy experiences first hand with their families. Moreover, this event serves as another opportunity to bring our FHP family together; for we are a family-oriented agency. This was a full day planned for our new FHP families. The Academy had activities, tours of the Academy, displays (consisting of K-9 teams, FHP mobile command vehicle, and patrol vehicles), food, and an exciting demonstration at the driving range involving a staged shooting and chase with the FHP Dodge Charger patrol vehicles.


It is a tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol to have a recruit class banquet prior to their graduation. The 116th Recruit Class’s banquet was held on December 17, 2008, at the Ramada Inn on North Monroe. Members of the 116th Recruit Class, along with their families, and numerous others of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ family gathered together for an evening of fun, food, and fellowship. We were honored to have two special guests present—Representatives Sandra Adams and Richard Glorioso, Florida House of Representatives. Both Representatives eloquently addressed the audience.


Of the 52 graduates, eight were selected to receive special recognition awards. Executive Director Bustle and Colonel Czernis presented the awards:

  • Executive Director’s Award: Juan Sanchez
  • Class President’s Award: Richard Taylor
  • Public Speaking Award: Gabriel Keyes
  • Marksmanship Award: Donald Jones
  • Defensive Tactics Award: James LaRose, Jr.
  • Physical Fitness Award (Most Improved): Richard Rodriguez
  • Physical Fitness Award (Best Overall): Jean Torres
  • FHP Director’s Award: Stephen Michael

The Florida Highway Patrol is proud to welcome these men and women into their ranks. Good luck Class 116!!