COLUMBIA ─ Troop F, the mid-Missouri division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol based in Jefferson City, gained eight new troopers this month. They begin their assignments Jan. 6, 2014.
The Troop F area covers Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Gasconade, Howard, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan and Osage counties.
The new troopers belong to Missouri's 97th class, which graduated Dec. 20. The 30 members of the class were distributed among the state's nine patrol divisions.
There is at least one graduating class every year, said Lt. John J. Hotz, public information officer for the Highway Patrol.
With the additional eight recruits, Troop F's ranks will increase to 117, just two short of its 119 allocation, Lt. Darewin Clardy said.
One of the new troopers, Eric Penrod of Elsberry, has been assigned to Boone County. Before becoming a trooper, he served in the Army from 2007 to 2012.
Recruits are assigned across the state based on transfers, promotions and retirements from the previous year, Clardy said.
To be accepted to the Law Enforcement Academy, applicants must have two years of active military service, two years of sworn law enforcement or 60 credits of college education, Hotz said.
Applicants are given written, physical and psychological examinations before being hired, according to the Highway Patrol website. Then they spend six months in training in Jefferson City before working for another three months under supervision. Troopers then have a one-year probationary period.
The starting salary for a probationary trooper is $37,140, according to the Highway Patrol website.
Four of Troop F's new recruits have bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, according to the Highway Patrol press release.
Of the rest, another new trooper has a degree in general education, another attended college at the University of Central Missouri and another has an associate's degree in general education.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.