Merced man to graduate from California Highway Patrol Academy

A Merced man is set to graduate today from the California Highway Patrol Academy, according to a spokesman.

Christopher Benivedas, 22, will graduate from the CHP academy in West Sacramento during a 10 a.m. ceremony, Officer Moises Onsurez said. Benivedas was enrolled in a 27-week academy.

Benivedas, who was born in Merced, was a member of the Merced CHP Explorer Post in 2010-12. The program allows people ages 15 to 21 to work with CHP officers.

He earned an associate degree from Merced College before entering the academy. He said the academy’s high-speed driver training was particularly difficult.

“It was challenging physically and academically, it was also stressful, but it was worth it.” Benivedas said in a news release.

After graduation, Onsurez said, Benivedas will report to the Redwood City CHP Area Office and begin its field training program. He hopes eventually to return to the Merced area to serve the community.

Another cadet set to graduate the same day is 31-year-old Turlock native Patrick Shaw. After suffering an injury during the academy in 2007, Shaw underwent rehabilitation.

Shaw will be posted in the Gilroy area, Onsurez said, but also hopes eventually to work in the Merced area.

Before the end of the year, the CHP will be accepting applications for more cadets. For additional information on the hiring process, go to