44 new highway patrol troopers hit the road in time for holiday

By Drew Stewart - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - On Monday, 44 new South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers will hit the highways to keep them safe. They graduated just in time for the end of the holiday weekend.

But their graduation came at a time of great uncertainty thanks to an extremely tight state budget for next year.

Department of Public Safety Director Mark Keel lobbied hard at the last minute and won $11 million in the state budget. The budget was sent to a committee between the House and Senate to have differences between the bodies hashed out.

After the graduation, Keel said that come next fiscal year, these troopers will have jobs.

"It makes it assured that come July first that these guys are going to be on the road in an effort to try to save lives and protect the public," said Keel.

Had the money not been added, students like Bridget Wyant would have been left on the side of the road.

"The colonel and the director have been very honest with us," said Wyant. "And we had all of our faith in them that they would come through for us."

This weekend is Wyant's last before she hits the road for the job she's spent the last 19 weeks of her life training for. She'll be living it up before she becomes another one of the highway's finest.

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