MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Three dozen Connecticut State Police Troopers were promoted to lieutenant colonel, lieutenant, or sergeant on Thursday. State police are hoping these promotions lead to longer tenures.

Lt. Humberto Henriques says being promoted is a dream come true. He emigrated to the U.S. from Portugal when he was 6 years old and has spent the last 15 years with the Connecticut State Police.

“There’s always been that struggle of learning the [English] language and realizing that this is the best country in the world and that you can reobtain your goals,” Henriques, said.

After working in New York City Transit, Brooklyn-born Sgt. Troy Biggs says his commitment to serving Connecticut has come to fruition.

“I worked hard for the last 12-and-a-half years doing everything that the agency has asked of me, and this is some of the payoffs,” Biggs said.

The Connecticut State Police is facing a staffing shortage, like other law enforcement agencies across the country. The state had about 1,100 sworn troopers a decade ago. Officials tell News 8 that they currently have about 800 members on the force, and they hope these promotions will help with retention.

“A lot of our leadership has retired, so getting new and fresh troopers into these positions will not only benefit themselves, but it will also benefit the agency,” Sgt. Christine Jeltema said.

The newly promoted troopers want to help build the agency and bond with the community.

“Anyone that wants to come on this job, just know that it’s the best job in the world,” Henriques said. “No day is the same.”

“Sometimes negative things come out about the state police,” Biggs said. “It is a family, and I do believe that we help a lot of people in the state of Connecticut.”