Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Congratulates Recent Graduates from DPS Trooper Recruit School

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012  •  Austin, Texas  •  Speech

Thank you Cyndi [Leon, Chair, Public Safety Commission] for that introduction.

Can you believe you're coming up on your first anniversary as chairwoman?

Take it from me, time moves pretty fast, you just get comfortable and all of a sudden they're talking about how long you've been around.

But you've done a great job so far and I thank you again for all you do for Texas.

Speaking of people willing to serve their fellow Texans, there's all of you.

Today, you're taking an oath to serve and protect.

This is not an oath, or a job, to be taken lightly.

It's not a job for the faint of heart.

It's a job that requires a special person, a job that will make great demands upon you and your family members.

In fact, the family members here today might not be taking any oaths today, but they're all as much a part of the team as their trooper is.

I'd like to take a moment to show our appreciation for the husbands and wives, children and parents, with us today to support and celebrate the achievement of their loved ones.

Over the past six months, you all have gotten a taste of the kinds of sacrifice this job calls for.

Early wake-up calls, grueling exercise, and long stretches of classroom time and study.

The road to this chamber hasn't been easy for any of you.

But the lessons learned, and the training you've undertaken, will be a vital part of your career, and might make the difference between success and failure out in the "real world", a world it is now your responsibility to protect.

Again, this isn't a job for the faint of heart.

I'm reminded of the story told by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a retired US Army Ranger and author, about a veteran he encountered.

The way the veteran told it, there were three types of people, the first type is the sheep.

He didn't mean anything bad by it, you understand, to him, the sheep are the kind and decent folk, the ones who couldn't hurt a fly under almost any circumstances.

They live right, and avoid conflict and violence.

Then there are the wolves.

The wolves are everywhere, and for them, violence is a way of life, a way of getting ahead.

They think nothing about using violence and deception to get what they want at any point.

Left to their own devices, these wolves would prey mercilessly upon the sheep.

They are the evil that men do.

That's where the third type comes in, the sheepdogs.

Now, the sheepdogs are clearly not sheep, and they even look like they might have a little wolf in them.

There are times the sheep might even not like the sheepdogs all that much.

But the sheepdogs uphold the standards and values of the sheep.

They'll fight, and even die, to protect their flock.

The biggest difference between the two is, the sheepdogs realize that sometimes the wolves have to be fought on their own terms.

The sheepdogs are the warriors, they're the thin line between the flock and those who would prey upon it.

Not everybody can be a sheepdog.

As you take your oath and wear the Texas tan and badge, you're taking responsibility for your flock, and promise to stand guard against the wolves of our society.

In the months and years to come, your instructors won't be on hand to talk you through decisions.

But their investment in you will bear fruit as you bring to mind their teachings and attempt to follow their example.

You will also have plenty of help just a phone or radio call away.

You are joining the ranks of thousands of other patrol officers who stand guard over our state and over a thousand more commissioned officers on the DPS team.

These officers, who are now your peers, have a wealth of experience that will serve you well.

Your challenge is to muster the courage to ask questions and the wisdom to listen as they speak.

You're looking over a flock that is growing, and growing fast, and that presents its own challenges.

The reason we're growing so fast is that people are coming to our state, thanks to our strong economy, vibrant communities, and boundless opportunities.

As I've said many times, Texas is the best place in the country to live, work, raise a family and grow a business.

And you're a key part of that, because as good as our economy may be, nobody wants make their home or raise a family in an unsafe place.

As a Texas peace officer, you will be called upon to referee conflict between angry people, comfort people who have lost a loved one, and head toward trouble when everyone else is running the other direction.

Whatever challenges your new job presents, I am confident that your upbringing has prepared you, your training has refined you, and your personal integrity will guide you as you defend the people of our state.

You entered this room as recruits, but will walk out bearing a title rich with honor, history and prestige.

Today, you become state troopers, earning the respect and admiration of your families, your peers and your governor.

So, today, I salute you, you heroes of Texas, and commend you for your willingness to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of our nation and our state.

May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great State of Texas.


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