Forty-four new troopers join the Virginia State Police, including Virginia locals

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WJLA) - Forty-four new troopers are joining the Virginia State Police.

Commencement exercises for the 121st Trooper Basic Session are set for 10 a.m. Friday at the Virginia State Police Gymnasium in Richmond.

According to the agency, the graduating troopers come from every corner of Virginia as well as five other states. Many have experience with other police agencies or the military.

Among the new graduates is Trooper 25-year-old Luis A. Castellon-Rios of Ashburn, whose lifelong dream of becoming a VSP officer comes true on Monday when he reports for his first patrol assignment.

Trooper R. Blake Hasty, of Prince William County, will begin his career with state police on patrol in Hanover County.

"I wanted to begin my career of public service with a job that involves ensuring the safety of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said the 22-year-old Nokesville native in a news release from the VSP.

Other local graduates include Trooper Iman Kassim, 22, of Lorton, who joined the Virginia State Police "to be the best of the best." Kassim will report Monday to patrol in the City of Chesapeake.

Trooper Christopher D. McGowan will return to his native Arlington for his first patrol assignment. Priot to joining state police, McGowan, 27, earned a bachelor's degree in history from James Madison University, and a master's degree in terrorism and security policy from American University, according to the VSP.

The new troopers completed 26 weeks of academy training which included instruction on more than 100 subjects, including crime scene investigation, survival Spanish and more. When they report for duty Monday, they will begin a minimum of six weeks under the tutelage of a field training officer.