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Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Julio Velez rescued an American Bald Eagle on the Florida Turnpike.
After an Oregon State Trooper lost his battle with cancer, his friends created a challenge to honor his memory. lost his battle with cancer on July 22, 2016. His good friend and Colorado State Trooper Jeremiah Sharp created The Greg Walker Challenge to take Trooper Walker's OSP challenge coin across the country. The goal is to get a photo of the challenge coin in the hands of troopers in 49 states. On Sunday, the challenge coin made it to the Indiana-Ohio border where Indiana State Trooper Eric Fields and Ohio State Trooper Steve Ilo were pictured with the coin on I-70. “When the coin has completed the journey, another recipient will follow. Trooper Walker's Challenge will remain a movement in Greg's honor, to recognize the challenge of other Law Enforcement Professionals who are fighting for their lives," the Facebook page reads.
We’ve all see the headlines of people carrying backpacks containing explosives into public spaces. Sometimes their actions result in death, other times the public is spared. And now our state has a “new line” of defense against these threats. They’re called “vapor wake dogs” and the Michigan State Police has been gifted one of them. He’s a genetically bread Labrador named Louie, and his handler is Michigan State Police Trooper Tim Johnson. “Their sense of smell is greater than human beings. It’s not that we can’t smell the odor but we have to be much closer to it and there’s no way we can follow it like the dogs do,” explains Trooper Johnson. Louie is a 15-month-old Lab, still a puppy, but ready to work. He’s called a vapor wake dog, trained to detect the scent of explosives when they are in motion or in a crowd. “If you’re walking in a mall and man or woman walks by you with perfume or cologne on you get a couple steps past that person after they’ve passed you smell that in the air, the perfume. And that’s the way the dog does the vapor wake,” adds Trooper Johnson. The two tested out their skills this past weekend walking through the crowds at Michigan State before the football game. “He’ll grab the odor and then try to figure out what person has it on them and then trail the odor until they come across the person that has it on them and continued to follow them until the person stops,” says trooper Johnson. “So he is locked on the lady that’s walking at a faster rate than all the other people and he will follow continue follow her until she stops or we tell her to stop.” If these dogs pick up the scent of a bomb they can follow the vapor plume up to the length of several football fields. Louie and other dogs like him are trained at Auburn University in Alabama.
Two Massachusetts State Troopers jumped into action on an extra-special assignment Sunday night, helping assist a woman as she went into labor on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The call came in just after 7 p.m. Sunday evening from a Framingham couple who had pulled over on Interstate 90 Eastbound at the Allston Brighton tolls, State Police said. Trooper Joseph Hilton arrived first, followed quickly by Lieutenant William Nee, beating Boston EMS to the scene. The couple, meanwhile, had pulled into the parking lot just after the toll booth at Exit 18. The woman, by this time, was in active labor, according to State Police, and both troopers jumped in to assist. State Police said EMS arrived around 7:35 p.m., and the baby boy was delivered inside the ambulance. The baby and his parents were then taken to Mass. General Hospital. "Excellent work by all involved," State Police said in a press release. Police did not disclose the couple's name, but did share a photo of them and their newborn from MGH, with Trooper Hilton standing by.
A class of more than 220 new troopers graduated from the New York State Police Academy's Basic School last week, and they will report for duty across the state on Thursday. At least five of them will begin their service with Troop E, which is headquartered in Canandaigua. The academy program lasts for 26 weeks, and is followed by an additional ten weeks of field training. It's the 204th graduating class in the academy's history. Seven of the graduates are originally from Monroe County, including trooper Olivia Beck, who said she's really looking forward to getting out on the road. "It feels great to finally be able to say that I'm a state trooper," Beck said. "It's a great feeling to see myself and all of my classmates walk across the stage in uniform, to see all of our hard work pay off after seven months, and not just the last seven months at the academy but the years that in took in preparation to get to the academy." Beck will be assigned to Troop D, which is headquartered in Oneida and serves seven counties in central New York. The graduation ceremony was held at the Empire State Plaza Convention Hall in Albany, where Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul congratulated the graduates and thanked them for their commitment to public service. "Six months ago these outstanding men and women answered the call to serve, and after the rigors of training they are ready to join one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the world," said Hochul. "This class chose the motto ‘Protecting New York to the core, we are the 204’, and nothing could speak more to their courage and sense of dedication." Hochul also said she was encouraged to see that the number of women in each class of troopers continues to grow. "Last time I spoke (at an academy graduation) there were 28 women among your ranks", Hochul said, "and today there are 42." Among them was Samantha Hartmann of Remsen (Oneida county), whose mother Beth Lamphere is also a state trooper. They are believed to be the first mother and daughter to both serve with the New York State police. In addition to honoring all graduates from the 204th academy class, New York State Police Superintendent George Beach presented individual awards to a handful of students. Trooper Joseph A. Sparacino, who will join Troop E in Canandaigua, received the Academic Achievement award for attaining the highest level of academic performance during training. Sparacino, 27, was a police officer with the town of Tonawanda before joining the State Police. "It's been my dream to be a trooper," Sparacino said. "I'm just excited to get back on the road and do the job I love doing."
After nearly a year away from the job, one Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper is back with the people he calls family. "From the moment that it happened, I had the OHP just take me in and just took care of me," said Jana Richardson. It was back in January on I-40 in Pottawatomie County, and roads were iced over. Trooper Jason Richardson was walking along the highway working previous crashes, when the driver of an SUV lost control and slid into the center median cable barrier. That vehicle overturned and hit Richardson forcing him into the roadway. He suffered a broken leg, and broken ribs, as well as internal injuries. After nine months recovering, Richardson is back with OHP and says he's thankful for his life, and his time to reflect on his faith. "I assure you, I'm ready," he said. "I'm ready to meet my maker. I don't want to leave my family, obviously but as far as the way I felt, again -- humbled -- and very appreciative." Richardson is from Latt. His wife Jana says, their family got tons of support from the community. "It's good to live in a small town because you're always going to have somebody there for you," said Jana Richardson. Richardson says that support helped his wife while he recovered. "The support has been overwhelming," Jason Richardson said. "I know we received cards and gifts and food, from numerous people." Richard says he hopes his story reminds people to take it slow on the ice or any other hazardous condition. "My safety is very important, I want to go home to my family," he said.
A group of Cedar Rapids police officers and state troopers help turn a bad situation into a positive one, with the help of a teddy bear. During the flooding in Cedar Rapids, Melissa Bishop had her car stolen. A week later, police found her car, but items inside were missing, including her 6-year-old daughter's "blankie." Her daughter was devastated. Melissa says, "That thing was kind of a constant for her. It was her one thing that she could count on, so to have someone take that from her... was very difficult. She was just inconsolable." A state trooper could see that, so he stepped in with "Trooper the Bear." It turned a bad moment into a special memory that Melissa hopes her daughter will always remember. Melissa says, "This showed my daughter that the good guys will always outnumber the bad guys, that there will always be someone there that is going to make it all better. I was struggling to figure out a way to do that ...and then he stepped in and made things right for her." Melissa does not know the trooper's name who went above and beyond for her daughter. She wrote a letter thanking the entire department for their small act of kindness that made a big difference for one 6-year-old.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is heading to San Diego, California this week to attend the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference to receive the top three awards. THP was named the “First Place Winner” in the Highway Patrol/State Police agency category consisting of 501-1500 troopers in the nation for 2016. Additionally, THP won two awards in “Traffic Incident Management and Technology”. THP competed by presenting programs and results of public safety efforts. All law enforcement agencies in the country (local police departments, sheriff’s offices, campus police, military police and state police agencies) were invited to submit a presentation or packet detailing their public safety efforts. The THP competed in the largest state agency category which is the “mid-size department” division of state police agencies between 501-1500 troopers. Additionally, THP competed against all law enforcement agencies in the special awards category. Over the last four years, THP was the only state police agency to place in the top three and won several special awards for their Commercial Vehicle Program. First Place - State Police Agency with 501-1500 troopers. Winner - The Technology Special Award Category for predictive analytics program in their TITAN Division. Winner - The Traffic Incident Management Special Award Category based on their training program and the facility that was built with the help of TDOT at our Training Center.
A State Trooper helped deliver a baby boy on Saturday. Trooper Joe Morris was responding to a call about a woman in labor headed for a College Station hospital. But she didn't make it to the hospital. Instead, Trooper Morris met the family at the Exxon gas station off of FM 50 in Burleson County. Together, he and the dad helped deliver a healthy baby boy. "It was pretty humbling because you can see how things can change so quickly and in such big ways. It's always neat if you get experience seeing a baby being born, a new life being brought into the world," Morris said. The Trooper met the family on Sunday at the hospital. Mom and the son are well and will be released soon.
A horse that was found wandering the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton Saturday morning has been captured and returned home safety, state police have announced. Massachusetts State troopers responded to reports of a loose horse on Interstate 90 Westbound between Exits 9 and 10 around 9:30 a.m. Officers were quickly able to capture the wandering horse and remove it from the highway without incident. The horse was returned home to a farm, which state police said is located near I-90. State Police said they believe the horse made its way onto the highway after slipping through a fence.
Patrol employees statewide are accepting the challenge to perform 22 push-ups every day for 22 days. That figure represents the number of veterans who commit suicide each day, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol press release. “The colonel challenged each one of the troops within Missouri to do the push- up challenge, and of course, Troop H gladly accepted that,” said Sgt. Jacob Angle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop H. Angle said he and about 25 troopers completed the challenge on Tuesday. He also said patrol employees participating in the challenge are using social media to urge other agencies to join them. Angle challenged the Cameron Police Department. “After I challenged them, I learned they had already done the challenge, but that’s alright as long as they are participating,” Angle said. Angle said Troop H has several troopers who are veterans. He also said troopers have been willing to participate in the challenge. “They (veterans) go over there and help support our freedom, they serve every day to protect us,” Angle said. “It’s a great cause and a great group of people and the Highway Patrol totally supports them.” According to the news release, the Highway Patrol hopes the social media-driven awareness campaign encourages the public to make more connections with the people around them. “The Highway Patrol is very pro-military. ... So if doing this helps raise awareness for veterans, the Highway Patrol wants to be a part of it,” Angle said.
New Hampshire State Police helped save a wedding this weekend after the mother of the groom became lost in the woods. Officers were called on Sunday when a woman wandered off a property that she had been renting in Landaff. The missing woman had gotten lost in the woods and had been missing for four hours. Police say the missing woman and her family turned out to be from Massachusetts and were in the area for the woman's son's wedding. Thankfully, officers were able to track down the woman and safely reunite her with her family. The wedding was only delayed a few hours. "The bride and groom will definitely have a story for the future," New Hampshire State Police wrote on their Facebook page as they congratulated the couple on their wedding.
The fourth annual Hunger Action Month food drive came to a close this week with the announcement that 33,379 pounds of food, which is the equivalent of 27,816 meals, were collected at 15 community events hosted by the Maryland State Police (MSP) as well as several Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) locations throughout September. This collection, which also includes monetary donations raised at the events, via online virtual food drive platforms, and from state agency employees, will benefit the Maryland Food Bank. September is known nationally as Hunger Action Month and traditionally marks the month-long food drive hosted by the state agencies in partnership with the food bank. This year, in an effort to increase community engagement, MSP and MDOT officials hosted 15 special events across the state. From Oakland to Salisbury and many towns in between, these community events featured a variety of activities, including child safety seat installations, MSP Aviation tours, K-9 Unit performances, fingerprinting, Bomb Squad robot demonstrations, Barrack tours, and educational activities that focused on safe driving. “This year we tried something new, and we’re very grateful to the Maryland State Police and Department of Transportation for working so hard to host these wonderful events and food collections to help our neighbors in need,” said Maryland Food Bank President & CEO Beth Martino. “We wouldn’t be able to operate without the contributions of partners like MSP and MDOT, and we can’t thank them enough for once again joining us in our fight to end hunger in Maryland.” State Police and Department of Transportation employees joined together to collect donations for the Food Bank in La Plata, Md., on September 10. MSP and MDOT representatives were out in full force collecting donations throughout the month, while select MDOT locations also accepted food donations for those in need. Additionally, supporters who were unable to attend these events were encouraged to donate food online using the MSP and MDOT virtual food drive platforms.
The New York State Police sergeant pressed his face to the vibrating glass, watching a trooper the size of a plastic army man approach the cornfield below. "Walk around the perimeter," the scout said into his headset, his voice muffled by the helicopter's whirring blades. "There. Walk in about 20 rows." Five-hundred feet below the hovering aircraft, the trooper beat back cornstalks to reveal dozens of marijuana plants. "Yeah, that's weed," he said over the radio. State Police investigators tore out 48 marijuana plants during an eradication effort Monday. It's fall and around the region farmers are reaping seasonal crops. But State Police are also at work in the fields — and the sky — as they search rural pockets for marijuana growing among corn and other crops. The Monday haul spotted by helicopter was growing in four plots hidden within two adjacent cornfields in the Greenwich area in southwest Washington County. From above, the clumps of 6-foot-tall illicit plants glowed fluorescent green against the neatly sowed, browning corn. On the ground, investigators found tags identifying the plants.
"It tells me they know what they're doing," the aerial scout said about the labels. The pilot shook his head and added, "It means they're dealing." Monday's mission was one of the season's last. Marijuana grows from July to late September and the State Police are wrapping up their airborne eradication efforts for the past year. The troop that patrols the Capital Region was "especially productive this year" with more than 10,000 plants seized, State Police said. "We've really saturated the area," an aviation sergeant said. "We've had a very successful season."
"Your gift will further my education and allow me to follow in the footsteps of family members before me. My grandfather, Captain Joe F. Dixon (retired), served Florida Highway Patrol for 39 years and my dad, Major Jeffrey S. Dixon, has been on the patrol for the past 25 years. My family has been in FHP for several decades and someday I hope to join the ranks of the patrol and pursue a career in law enforcement.