CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Virginia State Police force will be a little bigger Monday after 80 new troopers graduated the 30-week training program. The new troopers received their diplomas during a commencement exercise Friday at the State Police Training Academy in Chesterfield County.
"The new troopers have received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management," a Virginia State Police spokesperson said. "Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia the week of February 18. For their final phase of training, each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area."
Despite the addition of the new troopers, Virginia State Police remains short staffed.
"We have a number of vacancies still in the department of state police," Col. Gary Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent, said.
"This is going to help us tremendously."
Among the new troopers are several with ties to Central Virginia:
Trooper Farris R. Gartrell II, 48, is a Texas native who currently resides in Powhatan County. The 48-year-old served more than 21 years with the U.S. Air Force before joining VSP. He will report for duty next week to Buckingham County, which is in the Department’s Appomattox Division.
Trooper Daniel C. de Nijs, 25, of Henrico County, will be reporting to duty on the Eastern Shore next week. His first patrol assignment is to Accomack County. De Nijs is an active member since 2016 with the U.S. Army Reserves. He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business.
Glen Allen resident, Trooper Charles A. Mills, will remain in Henrico County for his first patrol assignment. The 29-year-old served more than four years with the U.S. Marine Corps, during which time he served two tours in Afghanistan.
Trooper Marco J. Grooms, of Richmond, is a graduate of Germanna Community College with an associate’s degree in Administration of Justice. The 34-year-old will report next week to the VSP Culpeper Division for his duty post in Stafford County.
Trooper Myranda L. Bigger, 22, of North Chesterfield. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Russian. For the past nine years she has been a Relay for Life volunteer and volunteers with the Grace Equine Rescue and Therapy for Humans. Bigger reports for duty next week to Caroline County, which is in the Department’s Richmond Division.
Midlothian native, Trooper Dylan T. Ray, 22, is a member of the Amelia Volunteer Rescue Squad. His first duty post will be on patrol in Dinwiddie County, which is within the VSP Richmond Division.
North Chesterfield resident, Trooper Jaleel C. Thacker, 24, is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served four years with the USMC prior to joining VSP. Thacker’s first patrol assignment is in his home county of Chesterfield.
Northern Neck native, Trooper James T. Kilman, will be reporting to duty in New Kent County next week. The 30-year-old Warsaw resident worked five years at the Haynesville Correctional Center prior to joining VSP. He is a graduate of Rappahannock Community College with an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.
BY SCOTT WISE