116 new DPS troopers hitting the Texas highways

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) graduated 116 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers on Dec. 16, 2016. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) graduated 116 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers on Dec. 16, 2016. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A sea of cowboy hats filled the room at the Texas Department of Public Safety graduation on Friday.

After completing 23 weeks of training, 116 Texas Highway Troopers will now patrol the state’s roads. Applause swept across the room as the troopers took the stage at the Great Hills Baptist Church.

Ricardo Vergara and his twin brother graduated side-by-side. They will both be stationed in Del Rio, Texas.

Ricardo Vergara and his brother.
Ricardo Vergara and his brother.

“I was already working with the police department there in McAllen. I saw a bunch of troopers, I spoke with troopers, I have friends that are Troopers and becoming a state trooper was my next step,” said Vergara. “This is a big step in my life and I have my twin brother that graduated with me today and this is a big moment for myself, my brother and my family.”

The twins aren’t the only ones heading to patrol the Texas and Mexico border. A KXAN investigation revealed how much DPS is spending on patrolling for drug smugglers. The nine-month investigation found that very few of the arrests DPS troopers are making on the border are the bad guys they were sent to catch. The data shows that despite heavy spending, drugs are still making their way across the border and into Central Texas.