WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- After an unprecedented 75 weeks of training, more than one hundred California Highway Patrol cadets completed a long-running tradition Wednesday morning.
With their family and friends cheering them on, 119 cadets took off from the CHP Academy in West Sacramento before dawn.
Running past the Tower Bridge and through Capitol Mall, the class made up of 18 women and 101 men ended their 5-mile run at the California Peace Officers' Memorial near the State Capitol.
The site serves as a reminder of the 1,600 brave women and men who sacrificed their lives while serving the people of California.
It's been a long road for the cadets and their families -- like proud dad Al Castillo.
"My son, this has been his dream for about 12 years," he said.
Castillo's son survived a motorcycle accident and COVID-19, and now he is less than 48 hours away from being sworn in as a CHP officer.
"What else can you say as a parent, this is what you live for!" the proud father said.
The time-honored tradition marks the completion of the cadets' training – which under normal circumstances would have taken about 29 weeks, but due to COVID safety protocols, this day was 75 weeks in the making.
One Fair Oaks family came to watch their son Gavin complete this major milestone in his law enforcement journey.
"It's been a long time – you know it's been up and down – a roller coaster – but he's hung in there, he thought I'm going to get through this one way or another, and he did," Gavin's mother said.
After an unprecedented year, these cadets will soon be donning the badge and taking the oath to serve and protect communities up and down the state.
"This is definitely going to be a different class. This is the longest class in the history of the CHP and they are going to be a group to reckon with," Castillo said.
Sixteen cadets are from the Greater Sacramento area. Graduation is set for this Friday at 10 a.m. The next class of cadets starts in August.
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