Record-setting MSP class of trooper candidates graduates

The Maryland State Police welcomed 47 new troopers from the 147th Trooper Candidate Class during a graduation ceremony at Century High School in Eldersburg Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.

ELDERSBURG — The 147th trooper candidate class joined Maryland’s finest Friday morning as they were pinned with the badges of Maryland State Police troopers in a ceremony at Century High School.

The auditorium was filled with friends and family of the graduates as well as staff members who saw the candidates through their training, members of various law enforcement agencies throughout the state and beyond, and Gov. Larry Hogan.


During their time in the academy, the class of 47 set records. From the start of their training until the awarding of diplomas 27 weeks of rigorous work later, only one candidate did not complete the training, the fewest members lost in state history.

They also raised funds in the 2017 Komen Maryland Race for the Cure and raised more than $11,000 for Special Olympics Maryland during the 2018 Polar Bear Plunge.


Trooper Ryan Hollinger, who will join the College Park Barrack, grew up in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and lived in Westminster before he began his training in the academy. His said his motivation for becoming a trooper is his family and gaining the ability to protect them and his community.

Through his training and the support of his instructors, he said he has experienced profound personal growth.

“From the way I carry myself to the way I talk to other people — all of it has changed,” he said.

Trooper Colin Rogers, who will join the Easton Barrack, said he feels well prepared to fulfill his duties after completing the academy. Though the training was difficult, there was a turning point after the first month or so when he knew he would be able to complete the challenge before him.

At that point, he said he realized, “I can do this.”

Hogan spoke to the graduates prior to the presentation of badges and diplomas.

Maryland’s governor shared an anecdote from 2014, on the day he became the governor-elect and troopers from the Maryland State Police arrived to serve as executive protection. He said the full responsibility of the office and the men and women he oversees became clear to him.

He said that though they would face difficulty and criticism in their careers, he and his office would stand behind them with pride.

“You will always have the full support of your governor,” he said.

Capt. Michael Tagliaferri, commander of the Education and Training Division, addressed the class of candidates who were his first as commander of the division.

“It was an incredible experience to watch you each as you develop and grow as individuals,” he said to the class.

He advised them to, most importantly, never forget the core values of the Maryland State Police: integrity, fairness and service.


Col. William Pallozzi, superintendent of the MSP, also spoke to congratulate the 47 graduates on a badge that is “earned, never given.”

He emphasized that the responsibilities of troopers are serious and vital.

“You will be looked upon as the one person in an out-of-control situation who can restore order,” he said.

The ceremony took on a somber tone as several speakers took time to remember two law enforcement officials killed Wednesday: Cpl. Mujahid Ramzziddin, of the Prince George's County Police Department, who was killed while responding to a domestic incident; and Sgt. Chris Howard, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident.

Law enforcement officers in attendance at the ceremony wore a black mourning band over their badges. Each of the 47 would do so following the ceremony. Later that day, Pallozzi and Hogan traveled to attend the memorial service for Ramzziddin.

As a group, the class took their oath of office before they were individually pinned with a badge and presented their diploma. As one of the final moments of the ceremony, the graduates recited their class motto as one: “In times of strife, we came to life.”

On a day that marked the beginning of a career for 47 troopers, retired 1st Lt. David Lauder, one of the oldest living retirees of the MSP at age 95, reflected on his time in the agency. He said if he could do it all again and join the force, he would be on patrol that afternoon.

His advice to the graduates? “Smile when you can, but be polite to everyone all the time. Only growl and look stern when you have to.”

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