The highways of Mississippi will soon be a little safer thanks to a new batch of eager state troopers.
Ten of Mississippi's 59 newest highway patrol officers got a final word before they started there new positions. After 21 weeks of rigorous training, Sergeant Joe Gazzo says it's time to hit the roads.
"When they come out, they're ready to go to work," Gazzo said.
With the addition of the 59 new troopers, sergeant Joe Gazzo says the Mississippi Highway Patrol is almost at full strength.
"We've had a shortage for a number of years but this administration has brought in a number of new troopers," Gazzo said.
The troopers say they've been anticipating this moment for a long time.
"I've been in law enforcement for the past year. I was a deputy sheriff in Clarke County, and I felt like I wanted to step it up a little bit and get on the state level," said Anthony Chancelor.
"My dad's a trooper, and he's been a trooper, and it's something he has always wanted me to do and something that I have always wanted to do," said Brandon Gann.
Each trooper has a story, even Pamela Stewert.
She is the only woman in the graduating class. She's also the smallest of the bunch. But don't mistake her size or her sex for her ability.
"I like to be first just so that I can set the standards for what I want everyone else to do," Stewart said.
The Moss Point native says she's glad to be back home and is looking forward to protecting the streets of South Mississippi.
"Actions speak louder than words. If you don't do what I tell you to do, then I'm going to have to make you," Stewart said.
The troopers will spend the next 12 weeks with a seasoned officer before getting on the roads on their own.