(FORSYTH) – On Monday, Dec. 5, 24 newly graduated troopers will report to their assigned posts throughout the state of Georgia. This is the 98th Trooper School for the Georgia State Patrol. The graduation took place on Veteran’s Day, Friday, Nov. 11, at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, after 31 weeks of intense training. Brigadier General Joe Jarrard, Adjutant General of Georgia, was the keynote speaker. Additional remarks were given by Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and Captain Scott Woodell, Director of Training.  The Oath of Office was issued by Lt. Colonel Russell Powell, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.

Trooper Cadets spend 18 weeks at the academy, 12 weeks in field training, and returned to the academy for one week of preparation for graduation. The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) requires that all peace officers receive a minimum of 400 hours of Basic Mandate Training. At the completion of Trooper School, these newly graduated trooper cadets received over 1,500 hours of training, including driving, defensive tactics, vehicle stops, Spanish, criminal law and criminal procedure, firearms, accident investigation, and various other training which includes child passenger safety technician certification.

During remarks to his fellow class members, Tpr. Dwayne R. Porter, class president, reflected on their camaraderie as individuals who became one class…one family. He closed his remarks with words which have become the motto for the 98th Class, “Stay Strong, Push Hard and Lead Well.”

Four of the graduates received special honors for top performance in various fields of study. The honorees were:

•     Highest Firearms Proficiency – Tpr. Aaron M. DiGiacomo

•     Highest Driving Proficiency – Tpr. Eddie B. Smith

•     Highest Academic Average – Tpr. Brian A. Jones

•     Top Gun – Tpr. Eddie B. Smith

Tpr. Brian A. Jones was awarded for maintaining the highest academic average. He received a $1,000 scholarship towards a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Reinhardt University. Tpr. Jones maintained a 98.67 academic average.

Tpr. Markus L. White received “The Larry Simmons True Grit” award for displaying fortitude and perseverance through extraordinary personal adversity during the 98th GSP Trooper School. Tpr. White is the sixth trooper since 1999 to receive this award.

Additionally, the following graduates were recognized for their leadership:  Tpr. Curtis R. James, Vice President; Tpr. Ashley M. Barnes, Secretary/Treasurer; Tpr. Christoph T. Ayers, Sr., Sergeant-At-Arms; Tpr. Mar’kevious J. Thomas, Pennant Bearer; and Tpr. Eddie B. Smith, Chaplain.

Each newly commissioned trooper was assigned to one of the 52 posts throughout the state. See assignments below.




Christoph T. Ayers, Sr.

Toccoa, GA

Post 37-Cumming

Ashley M. Barnes

Mershon, GA

 Post 36-Douglas

Gig N. Brown

Tampa, FL

Post 48-Atlanta

Grzegorz Chmielewski

Lawrenceville, GA

Post 48-Atlanta

Matthew T. Cole

Lawrenceville, GA

Post 48 – Atlanta

Mathew J. Coptsias

Americus, GA

Post 30-Cordele

Andrew K. Davidson

Bainbridge, GA

Post 12-Thomasville

Aaron M. DiGiacomo

Martinez, GA

Post 25-Grovetown

Lavarus D. Dollar

Dublin, GA

Post 47-Forest Park

Sean P. Fagan

Brunswick, GA

Post 42-Rincon

Curtis R. James

Conyers, GA

Post 1-Griffin

Brian A. Jones

Macon, GA

Post 20-Dublin

Deionte M. McAllister

Suwanee, GA

Post 47-Forest Park

Daniel J. McMullen

Milledgeville, GA

Post 25-Grovetown

Tyler D. Parker

Arabi, GA

Post 30-Cordele

Dwayne R. Porter

E. Dublin, GA

Post 20-Dublin

Eddie B. Smith

Toccoa, GA

Post 6-Gainesville

Kiefer G. Smith

Toccoa, GA

Post 6-Gainesville

Mar’kevious J. Thomas

Tifton, GA

Post 2-LaGrange

Zachary R. Vines

Silver Creek, GA

Post 29-Paulding

Markus L. White

Allenhurst, GA

Post 11-Hinesville

Dante J. Williams

Warner Robins, GA

Post 15-Perry

Joshua C. Willingham

Andersonville, GA

Post 10-Americus

Nathaniel S. Wooten

Athens, GA

Post 32-Athens


Contact Information:

DPS Public Information Office - (404) 624-7597