Governor Abbott Delivers Commencement Address At DPS Recruits Graduation Ceremony

December 18, 2015 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today delivered the commencement address for the Department of Public Safety's recruits graduation ceremony in Austin. Governor Abbott thanked the new troops, their families and DPS staff and instructors for their commitment to help ensure the safety of all Texans.

“DPS troopers are part of a select group of officers with a proud history in Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “The troopers will leave here today with the opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of public service for the citizens of our state, and an opportunity to leave marks that will make a difference for generations to come. All of Texas joins me in thanking today’s graduates and their families for their service and their sacrifice in keeping Texas safe.”

Gov. Abbott's DPS Recruits Graduation Ceremony Remarks

**Gov. Abbott often deviates from prepared remarks.

Thanks to Chairman Cynthia Leon for her service to the state. Thanks also to the honored guests, family members, friends and, above all, members of the DPS 2015 Class.

As Governor of this great state, it is a high privilege for me to participate in a conclusion that is really a beginning. It’s the conclusion of twenty-three weeks of training and I congratulate you on surviving what I’m sure were more than a few exciting classroom lectures on driver’s license laws and the Texas Penal Code.

I have a feeling that the training to use a 9mm Sig P320, the hand-to-hand combat and the driving course all may have been more fun than anything you did in the classroom.

Of course I know that each of you will miss the leisurely early morning jogs and the pleasant 2 a.m. wake-up calls by polite instructors who just wanted to make sure you were sleeping well. I am sure there are some things that are just as well left concluded.

But today is also a beginning. The beginning of your new careers in law enforcement. The beginning of your roles as guardians of the public safety.

Yours is a special class. Among you are 35 veterans who proudly served in our military forces, a former Secret Service agent, and two brand new fathers. The youngest among you is twenty-one and the most experienced is fifty-one, giving hope to all of us with a few grey hairs.

Yours is also a superior class. As the first to graduate as part of the new permanent border shield, you will be the frontline of defense for our state and for our nation. You will stand against threats known from the drug cartels, transnational gangs, human smuggling and trafficking operations, and threats unknown from those who seek to wage war against our freedoms and our liberty.

Yours is an extraordinary calling and you must have the tools to do your job well. That’s why I fought for $800 million, almost doubling funding, to enable DPS to hire 250 additional troopers to secure the border region, and many of you will be helping to fulfill that mission. This funding means you and your colleagues will have additional training and equipment to do your jobs as safely and effectively as possible.

I want to commend the DPS leadership, staff and the instructors who helped you, and perhaps occasionally pushed you, to complete one of the finest training programs for law enforcement officers anywhere in the world. You graduate better prepared than ever for the awesome responsibilities ahead of you. That’s a tribute not only to your own commitment but also to the professionals who helped get you here today.

And of course I want to recognize the friends and families who are here today. The parents, the husbands, the wives, the children, the people who have joined you on this journey. I know they share the pride you have this morning. Members of the law enforcement fraternity have perhaps the truest appreciation of the importance of a supportive family, for anyone who chooses this career path makes a life-changing commitment to law enforcement.

When I was Attorney General, I heard that role referred to as 'the state’s top cop.' But I know that the state’s top law enforcement officer is really the officer in uniform on the street, the officer people turn to for help in time of need, the officer from whom they expect protection and assistance. The real top cop is the trooper who takes the drunk driver off the highway, the officer who responds to the scene of an accident, even the officer who helps lost or runaway kids reconnect with their families.

For almost twenty-seven million Texans, those of you here today will be the face of law enforcement. You are the top cops. You are the men and women Texans will look to for help and for protection.

It’s a huge responsibility in a huge state and a job that’s only getting bigger. You enter a world that is changing swiftly and dramatically. More will be expected of this class of DPS troopers than any that has come before you.

As members of law enforcement you have the very real opportunity every day to make Texas a better and safer place. As DPS troopers, you are part of a select group of officers with a proud history in Texas. You will leave here today with the opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of public service for the citizens of our state and an opportunity to make a difference for generations to come.

As we count our blessings this holiday season the First Lady joins me and all of Texas in thanking you and your families for your service and your sacrifice in keeping our state safe.

I’d like to read part of a letter from Savannah Solis, a 10-year-old girl from Tyler, who has made it her mission to thank law enforcement officers for what you do. She writes, “What you do matters to me. You matter to me. To my heroes, I want to say: Please don’t give up. I will always respect you. I will always honor you. And I will always pray that God keeps you safe.”

May God Bless and keep you all and may He forever Bless the Great State of Texas.