MONROE, Ga. - Sgt. 1st Class Buck Buchanan thought he would finally have enough troopers at Georgia State Patrol Post 46 when he learned three graduates of School 102 would join his staff.
Buchanan, like most GSP post commanders, runs a lean operation with little more than a dozen troopers to provide 24/7 coverage of roads in Walton, Newton and Rockdale counties.
Buchanan’s hopes of a full staff to allow flexible scheduling soon went off the rails.
Two of his three new troopers were called up to active military service in the first few days on the job. And one his veteran troopers, Cal Barton, was promoted to corporal and transferred to the Milledgeville post.
Effectively, that leaves the post where it started in terms of numbers, but Buchanan said he was more than happy to have the three new faces.
James Jeffery, who grew up in Monroe, grew up wanting a career in law enforcement. At first, he looked at local agencies, but upon learning of opportunities in the GSP, he changed his mind.
“This was my first choice,” he said of the application process. “It was just interesting to me.”
He said filling out the application was his first interaction with anyone from the department.
“I was never even pulled over by them,” he said.
Cervando Luviano’s first contact with the GSP came from a traffic stop.
Luviano, who grew up in Covington and lives in Buford now, asked about working for the GSP after the trooper pulled him over.
Luviano graduated from training in May and soon after learned he will be deployed to Afghanistan with his military unit when it is activated at the end of the summer.
Sam Trammell, from Morgan County, will be joining him in southwest Asia as he deploys with a different military outfit.
He is the only of the three who had law enforcement experience before joining GSP. He previously was a Greene County sheriff’s deputy, but wanted the opportunities available with the state agency.
“I like the work, and I just thought I wanted to do it at the top,” he said.
Trooper school is an 18-week classroom course followed by a few months of field training. A trooper is ready for solo patrol as soon as he or she joins a post, Buchanan said.