INSTITUTE, W.Va. — State Police Superintendent Col. Jan Cahill says an increase in locality pay this year is one of the reasons why they’re seeing an uptick in recruitment.

“We’ve had three pay raises over the last five years, but the last one was historic,” Cahill told MetroNews.

State lawmakers approved a $10,000 pay raise for troopers earlier this year. Cahill said the raise, which kicked in July 1, has lead to the largest cadet class in nearly 30 years.

The 71st Cadet Class was sworn in during a ceremony Monday morning at the State Police Academy in Institute. There are 63 new members, the most since 1994.

“It’s our second largest class we’ve hired in our 103 year history, so as you can imagine we’re extremely excited about this,” Cahill said.

Cahill called it “a hybrid/blended class” that is a mixture of 38 certified officers and 25 non-certified officers. The certified officers will start conducting rotations across the state as part of their training.

“If an officer is from Princeton, he’s going to go to Wheeling or Martinsburg and work all over the state,” Cahill said. “We feel like that makes a more well-rounded trooper.”

The non-certified officers will start rotations after graduation. All 63 new members will graduate on the same day.

Cahill said he believes expanding testing opportunities to other parts of the state have also generated interest in becoming a trooper.

“We go to Charles Town, Martinsburg, Morgantown, Beckley, Elkins. Way back many years ago if you wanted to test, you came here to Institute, but we go all over the state and even hire people from out-of-state,” he said.

State police training is expected to last 20 weeks.