DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency welcomed its largest class of new state troopers in the past 20 years last week.
The 55 new members all dedicated their careers to the same cause.
Jere Jensen has worked in law enforcement for years both as a sheriff's deputy and as a part of the National Guard, but the events of one night made him change career paths.
"Working for the sheriff's department, you never knew what was going to happen,” said Jensen. “We had so many responsibilities. We would answer calls for assistance. I was the guy that would get the wild animal calls."
Jere Jensen had plenty of bizarre stories from his time as a Geneva County Sheriff's Deputy.
He also had a number of scary experiences during his 26 years of military service, but the scariest night of his life was just a few months ago.
"February of this year I lost my daughter,” said Jensen. “She was killed in a traffic crash on I-65. That experience changed my focus."
Jensen's daughter Lindsey was just 22-years-old and left behind a young daughter.
He was so impressed by how the state troopers handled the situation; he joined the ranks and dedicated his career to her memory.
"I realized that if I got the chance to do this, I could directly impact safety and prevent, directly, the loss of lives of innocent young people like my daughter," said Jensen.
After hearing about Jere's inspiration, the other 54 members of his graduating class dedicated their careers to Lindsey as well.
"I think she would completely understand why this is my calling now, and I think she would be proud and honored that I have become an Alabama State Trooper,” said Jensen.
Jere just started his trooper career on Saturday.
He will be in field training for a few weeks, then will be on his own patrolling the western parts of the Wiregrass.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency will graduate the next class of state troopers next Tuesday.
The State of Alabama has allocated $5.5 million toward hiring and equipping new state troopers this fiscal year.