A Camano Island man is among the Washington State Patrol’s 31 new troopers, following the Dec. 13 swearing in ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia.
The ceremony is a tradition that began 97 years ago on June 21, 1921, when six brave men kick-started their Indian motorcycles, strapped on an arm band and started a proud tradition known today as the Washington State Patrol, according to John Shaffer, WSP communications director.
It continues with the graduation of the 110th Trooper Basic Training Class at the Capitol Rotunda, signaled by the stream of shiny white patrol vehicles parked in the lanes leading up to the Capitol steps.
Among the new troopers, Brandon Visser of Camano Island was assigned to the District 7 Marysville region that covers Northwest Washington from Monroe to Blaine. He was hired April 2. Visser is a state certified EMT-B (emergency medical technician) who graduated in 2012 from Blaine High School and earned a degree in fire science in 2017 from Everett Community College.
Another of the new troopers, Jessica Hartman of Oak Harbor also was assigned to District 7 Marysville, which includes the north Puget Sound islands. Luke Visser (no relation to Brandon) from Mount Vernon was assigned to District 2 Bellevue, which includes Seattle to Enumclaw.
It took six months — more than 1,000 hours — of rigorous training, eight weeks of field exercise and a tremendous amount of support from family and friends for these cadets to make it to this point, according to John Shaffer, WSP communications director.
The Washington State Patrol Academy conducts about three cadet classes each biennium, which accounts for 100 to 120 new troopers. Historically, only about 4 percent of all applicants make the grade to become WSP troopers, Shaffer said. Since the beginning of the agency in 1921, only 3,323 have earned the right to wear the WSP badge.