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AAST accepts scholarship applications from the dependents of trooper members for assistance with their post-secondary education expenses.
The Trooper Connection is the official newsletter publication of AAST. See what's going on around the country...
Connecticut State Police have trained and added ‘Selma‘ to their ranks. Selma is the first electronic storage detection dog in the world. State Police Detective George Jupin put canine Selma through her paces Tuesday morning looking for electronic devices. She is a one-of-a-kind Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) sniffing dog that can find hidden thumb drives, hard drives, computers, cell phones, and tablets. Detective Jupin says three years ago the State Police canine unit, computer crimes unit, and crime lab came up with a groundbreaking way in which dogs could sniff out electronic devices. We have a chemist named Dr. Jack Hubbal, and he was able to look at some of these devices and come up with a chemical used to train the dogs, and we put it altogether and it has been very successful and has been in the field for about three years.” The canine unit took this chemical in its pure form, and trained Selma in the same way they would train a bomb-sniffing, drug, or arson dog. Detective Jupin says this chemical is not harmful to her, or humans. “It is a specific chemical that you are going to find on the computer memory chips that you’re going to find in devices such as thumb drives or sell phones or hard drives or tablets.” The dog is in such demand that she could be busy 24 hours day, 7 days a week. The canine team assists federal agents, other State Police around New England, as well as local police. As an example, they were out until 11:30 p.m. last night working a case that ended in an arrest. Usually, detectives go in first and remove all electronic devices that they can find, and then they call in Selma. “Things that may have been concealed in a vent, or under a drawer, or under multiple layers of packaging, or concealed someplace, that is just out of your view or couldn’t be reached.” The State Police have had requests from all over the world, including Australia, to train dogs for other departments. They have recently trained FBI dogs to sniff out media.
On Tuesday September 27th around 9:00 p.m., Trooper Ryan Walczak of the Troop D Community Action Team (CAT) was on patrol in the city of Brockton when he observed a vehicle that had a suspended registration. Trooper Walczak attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled in an extremely erratic and dangerous manner. For safety reasons, Trooper Walczak did not pursue the vehicle. A short time later, Trooper Walczak observed the vehicle parked sideways on a nearby street. The vehicle was unoccupied and still running, backup was requested. Trooper Jason Trout also of the Troop D Community Action Team and Trooper Bill McSweeney of the K9 Unit responded. Trooper McSweeney deployed K9 Scully on a track from the vehicle. Scully tracked a short distance and located the female driver hiding in a bush. The woman was taken into custody. A subsequent investigation revealed the woman was under the influence of drugs, and also had four warrants for her arrest. She was also charged with failing to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and a suspended registration.
Miss Ella bought gum in the gas station with her own money. She went outside and saw Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Hale. After asking her mom if she could give him a piece of her gum she just bought, she bouncingly went and asked him if he would like a piece. Trooper Hale said yes, as long as he could have a picture with her. She was over the moon!
A grieving man who was rushing to be with his mother in Michigan after learning of his younger sister’s sudden death received some unexpected support after being pulled over during the multi-state drive in Ohio. Over the weekend, Mark E. Ross found out his teenage sister had died in a car crash. Around 3 a.m. Sunday, Ross hopped in a car his friend was driving in Indiana and sped toward Detroit, he said in a Facebook post. As the car passed through Ohio, an officer pulled it over. The driver was taken to jail in Wayne County, Michigan, and the vehicle was impounded. Ross knew this might be more than just a traffic stop for him too — he had a petty warrant out for his arrest, which meant he too was probably going to jail, according to CNN affiliate WDTN. As he began to tell the officer about the loss of his sister, Ross broke down crying. That’s when one of the troopers at the scene — Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. David Robison — started to pray with Ross. “He reaches over and began praying over me and my family,” Ross wrote on Facebook. “Everybody knows how much I dislike cops, but I am truly (grateful) for this guy. He gave me hope.” Robison also did one other thing for Ross: He offered to drive him 100 miles to Wayne County to bail out the driver and get him closer to Michigan. Ross snapped a photo of the himself with the sergeant and posted it on Facebook Sunday morning. As of Tuesday morning, it has been shared nearly 100,000 times on the social networking site.
Check out what this proud mom had to say about her little guy when he had a visit to his daycare from Trooper Tony Harper and other officers! Now that little happy face should put a smile on yours! Happy Friday! Celestine: "Raiden, once again, was on cloud 9 when the officers came to visit the daycare! I've never seen this kid love something/someone so hard...it's amazing how excited he gets when he sees any officer. If he sees anyone in uniform he can't contain himself. No matter where we are. I pray this never fades and he always knows these men and women are here to protect, not harm. They are here to love, not hate. Thank you Small Miracles and thank you to the officers who took time out to visit these kids!"
Maryland State Police troopers pulled over 129 drivers Wednesday morning as part of an initiative to combat distracted and aggressive driving on Interstate 270, First Sgt. Rebecca Bosley said. The stops resulted in 119 citations and 69 warnings issued to drivers, she said. Most were issued to people talking on their cell phones, Bosley said. The timing of the initiative followed four recent crashes involving police cars stopped on the side of I-270, and two troopers who were injured. Motorists have struck stopped police cars on Aug. 27 and 29, as well as Sept. 6 and 11, Bosley said. Two were at accident scenes, one was at a traffic stop, and one was rear-ended while in traffic. Eight troopers in separate cruisers from the Rockville barracks were assisted by two Montgomery County police cars during the initiative, which ran between 6 and 10 a.m. along the highway from I-370 to Democracy Boulevard, Bosley said. Failure to follow the state’s “Move Over” law—in which motorists are expected to slow down or, if possible, move a lane away from a traffic stop on the shoulder of a road—could lead to a $110 citation and 1 point on a driver’s license. The police were also targeting single motorists traveling in the I-270 HOV lane, in which cars must have at least two occupants. A violation can lead to a $90 fine and 1 point.
Two troopers based out of the Michigan State Police Lapeer Post received bravery awards "for their diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances and for going beyond what is typically expected of most law enforcement officers." On January 4, troopers Jared Grigg and John Sholtz responded to a house in the city of Lapeer. They observed the home fully engulfed and that the front door was unapproachable due to flames, according to a statement from the Michigan State Police. A bystander told them children’s screams could be heard from inside the home. Grigg and Sholtz gained entry through the back door of the home and searched the first floor, which was already engulfed in fire and full of thick smoke. Sholtz found an unresponsive 6-year-old boy on the floor of the attached garage and carried him outside to Grigg. Sholtz went back in and searched for additional children and shortly after, dispatch informed him there were no other children inside of the home. The boy was treated by emergency medical personnel and recovered. In awarding the department’s Bravery Award, the MSP Board of Awards found that the courageous actions of Grigg and Sholtz undoubtedly saved the child’s life, according to the statement. Grigg enlisted with the department in 2012, graduating as a member of the 124th Trooper Recruit School. Sholtz enlisted with the department in 1994, graduating as a member of the 110th Trooper Recruit School. Prior to serving at the Lapeer Post, Sholtz was assigned to the Hastings and Richmond posts, as well as the Gaming Section.
Today the preschool had a special visit from PA State Trooper Greene as part of their learning about careers curriculum. Trooper Greene sat and talked with them about how police officers like to help people. He also let them sit in his vehicle. They enjoyed talking on the intercom and sounding the siren. He gave them all Junior Trooper stickers. They know if they ever need help they can trust an officer. Special thanks to Trooper Greene for educating our little ones today!
Iowa State Patrol officers were captured on camera Saturday helping a lost boy at the Hawkeye game. Officers can be seen in the photo sitting next to the six-year-old as they worked to reunite him with his dad. Troopers Cody Reicks and Frank Burns say they were assigned to work the NW corner of Kinnick Stadium when they heard the boy was missing. “We hadn’t been there for maybe a minute and we heard the radio broadcast of a missing boy,” says Reicks. “The description was a young boy, six years old wearing a number six jersey,” Burns told us. It wasn’t long before the two spotted little A.J. in the large crowd all alone. “Frank looked up and pointed him out, said hey I think that’s him and I said yeah, matches the description,” Reicks says. The two troopers quickly made their way to A.J.’s side. “We sat down on the bench next to him, we were talking about the game, talking about Hawkeye football and where he was from and just kind of put him at ease he looked kind of tense at first,” Burns says. Matt Winchester, a Hawkeye fan sitting up behind the boy and the officers snapped a photo. “I literally thought it was just the patrolman just socializing with people and I thought that was cool enough, took the picture because I thought it was pretty neat I wanted other people to see it,” Winchester told us. The boy was soon reunited with his dad. “He gave him a big hug and obviously his dad was pretty relieved to find him,” Burns said. It’s something that could have easily been missed by the thousands at the game, but the hard work of Trooper Burns and Trooper Reicks, reunited a father and a son missing each other. “It’s more cool now that I know what was really going on,” Winchester says. “There were a lot of people looking out for him and I think it was a very good effort by all the law enforcement,” he added. Iowa State Patrol is unsure of who the family is, but the troopers tell us it’s just a nice feeling to reunite a child with their parents. We are told there were also many local police officers who helped get the boy and his dad back together. This whole incident happened just before kickoff, in time for the little boy and his dad to enjoy the Hawkeye game.
From Mr. and Mrs. Michael Landrum, Cleveland, TN.
"I would like to say THANK YOU to Trooper Apodaca, Badge #600. We were traveling through Atlanta today and had a blow out on our camper. Trooper Apodaca pulled in behind us which slowed the traffic around us allowing my husband to safely change the tire. THEN, the trooper got right in there and helped! When he finished, he saw that we safely entered back into the fast paced traffic of the interstate. I was soooo relieved. You better believe we BACK THE BLUE!! God bless our Law Enforcement where ever they are. Thank you Trooper Apodaca, Thank you Georgia State Department of Public Safety."
A five-year-old-cat who now goes by the name of Callahan is healing at the hospital after a Massachusetts state trooper found him lying on the side of the road inside Boston's Callahan Tunnel on Tuesday. Callahan is healing at MSPCA-Angell in Jamaica Plain after the trooper rushed him to the adoption center. "I saw the cat injured and lying motionless inside the tunnel next to the road and it was clear he'd been struck by a car and needed help," said trooper James Richardson, who was driving through the tunnel in his cruiser, in a statement. "We all love and root for animals and there was no way I was going to leave him-I'm really glad he's now in safe hands. "I was very relieved when my dispatcher suggested I bring this poor cat to the MSPCA and received quick confirmation that indeed he had been settled in and was getting the medical care he needed in order to recover," he added. That cat had experienced head trauma, a broken pelvis and scrapes. Dr. Cindi Cox, head shelter veterinarian at the MSPCA, examined Callahan when he came in and was surprised that the young cat survived at all. "It always amazes me that cats can survive these kinds of strikes," she said. "Fortunately his pelvic fractures aren't severe enough to require surgery; they'll heal with about six weeks of cage-rest and I expect his balance will improve once his head trauma resolves." Callahan isn't neutered and has no microchip or identification tags. He arrived dirty and scared, but is very friendly, said officials. "This is probably a cat who survived on hand-outs from kind people but who likely lived alone, without a home of his own," said Alyssa Krieger, adoption center manager at the MSPCA-Angell, in an announcement. The entire MSPCA adoption center staff extended its gratitude to trooper Richardson for coming to the stricken cat's aid. "He's a hero to us and certainly to Callahan," said Krieger. Callahan will be neutered and micro-chipped ahead of his adoption, which is expected to take place in about six weeks. Meanwhile, he'll be placed in a foster home to recover.
Welcome to Hampstead with its cornfields, two-lane roads and streets lined with American flags. It's a town of roughly 6,300 people that can't hide from the nation's heroin epidemic. "You here stuff around here, Westminster... you know a lot of different people that you wouldn't think how big of an involvement it is,” said Dawn Caltrider. “It's getting pretty big around here." But it's a little less big after an otherwise routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 landed a pair of drug kingpins behind bars after troopers discovered two kilos of cocaine in the trunk of their vehicle. At that point in the investigation, heroin in Hampstead or elsewhere was nowhere on their radar. "I was a Baltimore City police officer,” said Fred Geerken. “We had some of the same problems. How many police can you devote to that versus the other things that are going on, but I think maybe a task force---a special group." Enter the Carroll County Drug Task Force, which had already identified 32-year old Shani McDonald of Windsor Mill as a major heroin dealer in Hampstead, Manchester, Finksburg and Westminster. 49-year old Vernon Kidd, Jr. of Finksburg was the driver. "These two individuals were also suspects in what has been a six-month long investigation including law enforcement, not just in other states, but several departments here in Maryland and what they have found is that these two suspects were involved in the large-scale distribution of illegal drugs to include a lot of heroin, cocaine and other substances," said Elena Russo of the Maryland State Police. Police raided two houses tied to McDonald along with a pair of additional stash houses and turned up $140,000 worth of heroin, a pair of handguns and ten grand in cash, while shutting down a major distributor in Carroll County. "This operation has impacted the number of overdoses that we've seen particularly in Carroll County,” said Russo. “In 2015, there were 43 overdoses. In 2016, we are up to 113. That's a 162% increase, and again, our investigators believe that these two are directly impacting those numbers." At the time of their arrest, police believe the two men had just picked up the cocaine from New York and were bringing it back to distribute in Carroll County. A trooper initiated that stop when he noticed someone in the car wasn't wearing their seatbelt.
It's a busy late summer day on the Saint Lawrence River, and it's all to thank veterans and Fort Drum soldiers. Bob Cooke, North Country Troopers Assisting Troops said, "New Jersey State Police has an event like this. Some of our guys went there and said we would like to put something like that on here in a local sense with Fort Drum." North Country Troopers Assisting Troops hosted its fourth annual fishing event in Clayton Sunday to thank more than 80 active military members and veterans. The troops went out in boats with law enforcement and other sponsors to enjoy a day catching fish like walleye or pike. There were also 28 professional fishing guides from Cape Vincent, Alexandria Bay and Clayton, helping troops and troopers catch as much as they can. "We did better than last year," veteran Ryan Rhoades said. "I think all of us pretty much caught two or three fish a piece, so it's a pretty good turnout today." 10th Mountain Division soldier Isaac Rightnowar said, "We started out with a three and a half pounds mallmouth and we got that one in. These guys really took place in helping out and making sure that fish was in the live well." The fishing trip ended with a boat procession, led by the Coast Guard and a Clayton fireboat. Once they arrived back, they were greeted by civilians and state police officers, thanking them for their service. The troops said it means a lot. "The community coming out to thank us, we appreciate them," SFC Oswaldo Maldonado, 10th Mountain Division said. "We appreciate the New York state troopers. " Showing support with a calm summer day on the seaway.
"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.