84 new troopers cheer at graduation

March 13, 1994|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,Sun Staff Writer

Bathed in theater lights and patriotic fervor, 84 freshly trained troopers let out a collective cheer yesterday as the Maryland State Police Academy graduated its first full class in three years.

The graduation at Catonsville Community College ended six months of relentless training in marksmanship, police procedure, physical endurance and criminal law. Many called it the most demanding experience of their lives.

"I just got out of the military after seven years in the Army, but the training I received at the Maryland State Police Academy was much tougher," said Deneen Green, 29, of Baltimore, who recalled seemingly endless push-ups, sit-ups, swimming, boxing and other tests of physical skill.

One of eight women to graduate this year, Ms. Green said her training included boxing against male and female classmates.

"You figure that as a state trooper, most of our suspects will quite likely be male. I liked it. The men didn't pull any punches."

This was the first full class to graduate from the Pikesville academy since 1991, when budget pressures forced staff cuts in the statewide force. Previously, the school -- one of a few residential academies in the country -- graduated one or two classes a year.

The academy plans to begin another class in July or August, said Lt. Gregory M. Shipley of the public affairs unit.

Yesterday, eight graduates joined the force alongside their fathers, while a ninth joined his brother as a trooper.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer used the occasion to call for the adoption of a bill, now before the state legislature, to ban assault weapons. A Senate committee narrowly approved the measure Wednesday, giving the full Senate its first real chance to vote on such a ban. It was a victory for Mr. Schaefer, who has tried for years to bring an assault weapons ban to a full vote.

"I don't understand how an assault pistol can be allowed on the streets of Baltimore," said Mr. Schaefer, explaining that he does not want to deprive people of reasonable means of protection.

Col. Larry W. Tolliver, the state police superintendent, said the troopers should follow the example of Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen -- balancing their jobs with a love of home and family.

"It is these values which give purpose to our lives and our cause," he said. "It is these values which center us and make our lives meaningful."

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