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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."
What started as an ordinary day for one local trooper ended up with him being recognized across the state as a hero. Trooper Jonathan Gouge with Troop F in Burke County was awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence for Safety and Heroism in a ceremony on Sept. 27. Gouge said he was driving through Valdese with his wife on the morning of Jan. 2 when he noticed heavy smoke coming from a home on Eldred Street. Gouge was off duty, but that didn’t stop him from acting quickly. He said he pulled over to investigate, and a neighbor told him a woman was still inside the apartment. Gouge tried to get someone to the door, but no one answered, so he tried to kick in the door only to find it had been dead bolted. The trooper wouldn’t be deterred though. He wrapped his hand in his hooded sweatshirt and broke through a window in the door to get into the home. Gouge said he found a stunned woman, who didn’t appear to know what was happening, standing outside of her bedroom. “I think she was sleeping,” Gouge said. “I think I had just woke her up when I tried to kick down the door.” Gouge said the woman was screaming and confused, but he helped her out of the burning apartment then headed back inside to get her medications. But Gouge’s heroism didn’t stop there. The quick-thinking trooper headed back into the flames once again and ushered out two of the woman’s small dogs, then located a third and brought it safely outside. Along with the Governor’s Award, Gouge has been recognized locally by Chief Charlie Watts with the Valdese Fire Department, who said he was told on the scene that a trooper had helped the woman outside. “I think, had he not been there that day, there would be at least one victim,” Watts said. “The elderly lady in the apartment would have died or suffered serious injury. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.” Gouge also was commended by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. “I received the Valor Award,” he said. “That’s the highest one you can get from Highway Patrol, so I was very honored. That was pretty cool.” Gouge said he has never had any special training and has never worked or volunteered as a firefighter, but he just did what he hoped anyone in the same situation would do. “I’d hope someone would stop and help my family,” he said. “I feel like we should just help each other out.”
While at Harlan Elementary in September, Iowa State Troopers Miller and McCreedy were approached by a young boy in a wheelchair who is battling cancer. He told the troopers that his teacher had just killed their classroom fish. Trooper Miller jokingly stated that she should probably be arrested, so the young boy invited them into the classroom where the students and State Troopers discussed the options for funeral arrangements. Collectively, they came to the agreement not to arrest Mrs. Schechinger, say goodbye to their fish and take a few photos with some great State Troopers.
The State Highway Patrol proudly welcomed 30 new troopers at a graduation ceremony September 30th for the 139th basic highway patrol school. The celebration ended 29 weeks of extensive academic and physical training.
"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.