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Recognizing that 2015 and 2016 have had a spike in serious injury and fatality crashes, the Florida Highway Patrol revitalized their Arrive Alive campaign, which was originally unveiled in 1970. FHP has partnered with many of the law enforcement agencies within the state to target high crash corridors, or hot spots in order to drive down serious crashes. The Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriff's Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration have all voiced their support of this initiative. The Arrive Alive campaign will incorporate law enforcement presence, media outreach and road safety assessments in high crash and high crime areas through a data driven approach. The information on each area will be shared with each partner agency and the area will be patrolled by both the local agency and the Florida Highway Patrol. Florida currently boasts a population of over 20 million residents and hosted over 105 million visitors in 2015. Considering the population explosion in Florida, the amount of visitors and the amount of highway freight transportation, the Florida Highway Patrol recognizes that leveraging technology and a partnership approach to traffic safety is a necessity in our effort to save lives. The Patrol is utilizing a web based portal to collect data from each law enforcement officer working the hot spots in order to provide quarterly updates to our partners and to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. This is not an enforcement campaign, this is a sustained statewide effort to reduce serious traffic crashes. Together with their partners, the Florida Highway Patrol hopes this campaign will work towards driving down the number of traffic fatalities in the state.
On a recent morning, two members of the Vermont State Police Bomb Squad stared intently at two screens inside their truck parked outside the Williston barracks, their hands pressing nobs and softly moving joysticks on the computer's operation board. The mission: retrieve a hat and gloves from a visiting photographer's camera bag using two of the squad's three robots. It was gentle work, as the robots arms carefully hovered over the bag, grabbed its zippers and prodded the bag. Within 10 minutes, the robots had successfully handed the items to the photographer. "Mission complete," said Sgt. Bill Sweeney, a member of the squad. "That wasn't even that hard." While this task was just to show what the robots can do, the nine-member Bomb Squad faces real situations where the machines are used, said Sgt. Paul Ravelin, another squad member. The robots were seen in action on Jan. 6 at the Federal Building on Elmwood Avenue in Burlington after a suspicious package was found at the post office. "It was an unknown to us," Ravelin said this week of the suspicious package. "We had information to believe that the package we were looking at had been moved by someone prior to us being there. Not knowing what it was we were approaching, we felt the best way to do it was to send a robot down and see what we would be dealing with." Each call for the Bomb Squad is different, and members typically initially assess whether the robots are needed. "We can put a robot downrange, instead of having human beings exposed to an unknown threat," Ravelin said. "We can do everything a human can do, but we can actually do it robotically." The squad uses three robots that are different sizes: a large robot that weighs about 500 pounds, a medium robot which weighs 125 pounds, and a small "point-man" robot weighs about 15 pounds and stands about one foot off the ground. Vermont State Police used funding from U.S. Homeland Security for the robots, Ravelin said. The largest robot cost $140,000, the medium robot was about $150,000, and the smallest robot cost about $25,000. The middle robot is the newest, purchased about a year-and-a-half ago, Ravelin said. The two larger robots have arms that can grab objects, and the smaller robot is used for reconnaissance. The largest robot, which is 14 years old and made of steel and aluminum, can also drag up objects up to 600 pounds. "A bomb tech in a suit weighs up to 300 pounds on average, so if a bomb tech goes down, we can use the robot to go down and pull that tech into safety," Ravelin said. The largest robot also allows for two-way communication: members of the bomb squad speak from a walkie talkie inside the squad truck, and those in the field can speak back through a speaker on the bot. Ravelin said the two-way communication could come in handy during a hostage situation when other attempts by crisis negotiators to contact a subject are unsuccessful. The robots have yet to be used for that purpose, but Bomb Squad members have trained for that possibility, he said. The Bomb Squad trains at least three times per year, sometimes alongside members of the Vermont Air National Guard, Ravelin said. The nine-member Bomb Squad team responds to about 25 to 50 calls per year throughout the state, according to the Vermont State Police website."If we can minimize the amount of time that we're actually standing over an IED, that's better for us in the long run," Ravelin said. "And if we're utilizing the robot to do that, and that's the better option, we'll take that opportunity every time."
A State Police trooper pulled over on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Blandford Saturday morning to help what he thought was a driver and a disabled car. Instead the trooper ended up helping deliver a baby. Trooper Carlos Nunez saw the car in the breakdown lane of the highway around 1:30 a.m. He soon learned a woman inside the car was in labor. "Trooper Nunez immediately requested an ambulance, but after an on-scene medical assessment, he determined that a delivery was imminent," State Police said. "Trooper Nunez made preparations for the delivery and, a short time later, the woman gave birth in the vehicle." The trooper provided care to the mother and newborn until Westfield EMS arrived. The mother and child were transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.
A group of local Utah Highway Patrol troopers were part of a 40 member squad sent to Washington, D.C. this week, to provide security during the inauguration events for President Donald Trump. Trooper Phil Rawlinson was one of four men, chosen from Section 1 that covers Cache, Rich and Box Elder counties. He, Sgt. Jason Kendrick and troopers, Josh Preece and Jason Jensen were selected last year, before Trump was even elected. Rawlinson said they were flown to Washington Wednesday so they could have a day for orientation. On Thursday, they met with Utah Governor Gary Herbert and received training from the D.C. Metro Police Department. “We were sworn in as U.S. Marshals just for the event,” explained Rawlinson. “When the inauguration parade was over the swearing-in, deputization expired. That was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” The troopers woke up at 2 a.m. Friday so they could be to their post by 5 a.m. They, along with the other troopers from Utah and Colorado, were stationed on a side street off Pennsylvania Ave., about 200 yds. from the east-side of the White House. Rawlinson said they could hear on their radios about the protests that were happening in nearby areas. Most of the people around them though were peaceful and expressed appreciation for them being there. “There were a few protesters and things that we did see, carrying signs and chanting, but we had more people than we could count come up to us and say 'thanks for being here, we are so glad you are here.' Some would say, 'Oh you're from Utah,' and they would have some tie to the state. They would tell us they had been to Park City skiing or another man said he went to Alta High School. “They were pretty happy to see the Beehive and thanked us for being there. They were happy that there was a big showing of law enforcement because they felt safe while they were there.” All together, more than 3,200 troopers, officers, and deputies from around the United States helped with security. Rawlinson said it was special for him to be with other law enforcement members from around the country. “I have never been to Washington D.C. and so I think being part of history and being with other police officers was something pretty neat. The troopers remained at their posts for thirteen-and-half-hours Friday, until the parade and festivities were over around 6 p.m. Rawlinson said even though it was a long day, it was a once in a lifetime experience that he's glad he got to do. “It was a pretty neat opportunity for all of us to be able to come and be a part of it. To be here as a police officer and wear the Utah Highway Patrol uniform here in Washington D.C. is pretty cool." The troopers flew back to Utah on Saturday.
Dozens of Georgia state troopers are in Washington this week to help with security at the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. The Department of Public Safety on Thursday posted a series of photos to social media accounts showing members of the State Patrol in the nation’s capitol preparing for Friday’s swearing-in. The troopers were sworn in as temporary deputy U.S. marshal’s. Many states send law enforcement officers to major national events to help with security. Several Georgia units were in Cleveland and Philadelphia this summer for the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
The Oregon State trooper critically injured in a Christmas Day shootout has taken his first crucial steps, literally, toward going home from the hospital. Nic Cederberg's family on Monday posted a video on YouTube showing the trooper in gray pants and a black t-shirt taking 26 steps with the support of nearby hospital workers. Cederberg suffered multiple gunshot wounds after he chased a homicide suspect in Washington County. "On Saturday, he walked 342 feet using a walker during his five physical therapy sessions," brother Jeff Cederberg wrote Monday on his Facebook page. "And on Thursday, he walked for the very first time since the shooting. He was only able to cover about six to ten feet before taking a short break, but it was much needed progress for him and for us." Jeff Cederberg could not be immediately reached for comment. A GoFundMe page, which also shows the YouTube video, has raised $86,595 out of a $100,000 goal from 1,202 people as of noon Tuesday. His brother was shot seven times at close range, in both arms, his abdomen and spinal canal, Jeff Cederberg wrote on Jan. 9. A bulletproof vest blocked another five bullets that police say were shot from James Tylka, who is suspected of killing his estranged wife, Katelynn Armand, in King City. Cederberg has suffered intense pain and numbness "described as having his right leg wrapped in white hot metal," his brother wrote. "Simply blowing on it would send him up the pain scale." But the pain did not discourage the trooper, and as the suffering subsided, Cederberg's resolve has swelled. He is signing up for as much extra physical therapy his facility will allow. "He always sets the bar higher the next day," Jeff Cederberg wrote, "because the only way he said he is willing to go home is if he can walk through the front door on his own with (wife) Hayley Shelton right beside him."
Working in public safety can often be a thankless task, but after recent tragedies have struck law enforcement agencies across America, now more than ever is an important time to recognize their commitment to serving. Growing up as the son of a firefighter, 5-year-old Connor Marcy knows this firsthand. A family friend and his mother Rebecca contacted WMAZ about their son’s birthday party at Monkey Joe’s in Warner Robins. However, it wasn’t a normal birthday party – it was also a celebration of law enforcement. In lieu of gifts, Connor asked guests to bring a cash donation for the families of fallen Peach County deputies Daryl Smallwood and Patrick Sondron. Rebecca spoke to Peach Sheriff Terry Deese about the party, and he contacted several other local agencies and asked if they’d be guests at Connor’s party. Deputies from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Peach County Sheriff’s Office, officers from the Byron Police Department, and Georgia State Patrol troopers arrived as the guests of honor. The troopers even helped Connor out in a tug-of-war match with the rest of the children at the party. He was allowed to get into the patrol vehicles and speak over the radio to Houston County. All of this was a surprise to employees and the owner of Monkey Joe’s, who publicly announced on Facebook they’d be making a donation in his honor. In total, they raised several hundred dollars with more incoming from people who were unable to attend Connor’s birthday. His mother says they gave him several options, and it was his own decision. She even says he’d tell you he’s giving his money ‘to help with the cops who are in heaven who died from the bad guys.’ She also says that although Connor has a growth deficiency, it hasn’t stopped his huge heart from growing.
A retired North Carolina Highway Patrol lieutenant received the Purple Heart award 27 years after saving himself and a fellow trooper on duty. Maurice Chilton was assisting with a car chase on May 9, 1989. The suspect pulled over on an interstate ramp, and ran off into the woods. When Chilton found him, the suspect had compromised the other trooper's gun and was attempting to shoot him. "This guy had overpowered the trooper, had taken his gun away from him, was sitting on top of him, and was attempting to shoot him in the head," said Chilton. When he saw Chilton, the suspect switched his target. He pulled the trigger and hit Chilton in the forearm. "My badge was right here [on my chest] and it hit right there about an inch from my heart, an inch over and it would have got me right in the heart, and that would have been it I guess,” said Chilton. Chilton found a way to shoot his pistol with his left hand and hit the suspect several times. Chilton recovered and spent 13 more years on active duty before retiring in 2001. The Highway Patrol will honor one trooper each year that shows courage in the line of duty.
A motorcyclist using a shoulder lane to pass traffic on State Route 52 accelerated into a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, striking him, officials confirmed to NBC 7 San Diego. The incident happened at approximately 3:15 p.m. Wednesday on eastbound State Route 52 at Summit near San Diego's Tierrasanta neighborhood, according to CHP officer Catano. At the time, three officers were responding to another accident when one standing on the right shoulder spotted the motorcyclist trying to pass everyone, according to officials on scene. One officer put his hands up to try and stop the motorcyclist, but instead, the motorcyclist accelerated and went straight for the officer, hitting him. Investigators believe the incident was intentional and are carrying on the investigation as assault on an officer. The suspect has been taken into custody. He is identified to be 26-year-old Christopher Ryan Warner of El Cajon. Medics were requested for one patient. An initial report showed the officer suffered minor injuries, though that could change pending a complete evaluation. Traffic on EB SR-52 came to nearly a standstill for afternoon commuters. No other information was immediately available.
Nic Cederberg, an Oregon State Police trooper injured in a Christmas night shootout, was shot 12 times in the arms and torso, his brother said this week. Jeff Cederberg posted on the family's GoFundMe account on Tuesday that his brother had given him permission to begin sharing details about the events of that night, which left two people dead and Cederberg in serious condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital. "What many don't know is how bad it really was that night," Jeff Cederberg wrote. "Most can speculate but few know what really happened." Jeff Cederberg's comments are some of the first detailed accounts of the shooting, which investigators have been hesitant to give out, citing the pending investigation by the Washington County Major Crimes Team and the district attorney's office. Cederberg, a state trooper stationed at the OSP's work site in North Plains, was shot by 30-year-old James Tylka, a former Beaverton Police Department cadet, whom police say had killed his estranged wife Katelynn Tylka-Armand, 24, of Beaverton, outside his parents' home in King City early that evening. Cederberg was having Christmas dinner with his family when he received a call about the shooting in King City. "I'm going to see what I can do to help," Jeff Cederberg remembered his brother saying during a candlelight vigilon Jan. 2. "Nic went out and saved lives that night. He put his life on the line to protect those who couldn't do it themselves." According to Sherwood Police Chief Jeff Groth, Cederberg chased Tylka and confronted him on Southwest Gimm Lane, just outside of Sherwood. Jeff Cederberg said that the shots were fired from about a dozen feet away, during a "gun fight in a phone booth" in Sherwood. "Almost every one of his rounds, three magazine's worth, had been fired when it was all said and done," Jeff Cederberg wrote. "When the shooting stopped and all went quiet Nic knew he was in serious trouble. As he lay there for a little more than two minutes by himself bleeding, he locked in mentally and found a way to survive." Five shots were stopped by Cederberg's bulletproof vest, but seven others struck him in both arms and torso, hitting his lungs and abdomen. Two others hit his spinal canal, nearly paralyzing him. Four bullets were still lodged in his body when he arrived at OHSU that night, Jeff Cederberg said. One is still in his lower spine, which Jeff Cederberg said will likely stay there for the rest of his life. Tylka was shot and killed by officers, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office. Five police officers fired their weapons during the gunfight, including officers from Hillsboro, Tualatin and Sherwood police departments. All remain on administrative leave as the investigation continues. After Tylka was killed, officers from Sherwood grabbed a trauma bag from his police vehicle and began to render first aid to Cederberg. Officers used tourniquets to stop the bleeding, Groth said. Groth said that the actions of those officers "played a vital role" in Cederberg's survival. "What (Nic Cederberg had) with him were experienced officers who knew how to pack bullet wounds correctly and this ultimately save Nic's life," Jeff Cederberg wrote. "…The only reason he is still here today is someone was watching over him that night, I firmly believe it. Any one of those 12 bullets should have killed him and they didn't." Cederberg's recovery is moving along, his brother said. Cederberg is expected to be released from the hospital soon to begin physical therapy. Money continues to pour into several GoFundMe accountsset up for victims of the Christmas night shooting. Cederberg's GoFundMe account has raised more than $80,000, which Jeff Cederberg said will help his brother get through tough times ahead. "This is not a reward or bonus for doing his job that night," Jeff Cederberg wrote in a previous post earlier this week. "What this GoFundMe account is really for is to give Nic as well as his wife Hayley what they need the most and that is time. Time to heal, time to rest, time to decompress, time for Nic and Hayley to be together and breathe easy knowing that thousands of people have their back and that we will stand watch for them now."
A lot of workplaces have different ways to honor their members, but North Dakota Highway Patrol is raising the bar by recognizing fellow troopers and state law enforcement. Highway Patrol recently started its own Honor Guard to celebrate the lives of those in their department and members of other law enforcement agencies. This dedicated group of 16 troopers has a special purpose. Posting the colors is just one of the routines Highway Patrol Honor Guard members do. Since 2013 troopers have learned this and much more. "They first learn how to march and how to get in formation, and then they grow into how to do a flag fold over a casket, how to do a firing volley at a funeral," says Lt. Daniel Haugen, Highway Patrol Honor Guard Commander. After attending the training camp in Minnesota, the group of 16 troopers perform at celebrations of troopers' lives, retirement parties and various state functions. The training leads to a rewarding experience. "It means a lot to the individuals that belong to this group. We are given special uniforms that look really good, and it means a lot to us when we see the look on the families faces," says Haugen. Haugen says Honor Guard uniforms are modeled off their old uniforms and a military formal dress uniform. Besides the special detailing, members wear a badge recognizing their position in the Honor Guard. A position which requires great sacrifice. "We have a really dedicated team of troopers on the Honor Guard that drop what they are doing, and with two days notice, will travel somewhere in the state of North Dakota and help a family get through a funeral," says Haugen. The department is one of several agencies in the state who have their own Honor Guard. Honor Guard members have a wide range of experience within the department. Haugen says some members have close to 20 years with Highway Patrol.
The Michigan State Police fleet is getting 50 special edition black and gold patrol cars as part of efforts to mark the department’s 100th anniversary. The agency says the 2016 Dodge Chargers hitting the road starting Wednesday are painted to resemble the department’s 1937 Ford Model 74 patrol car. The Model 74 was one of the department’s first patrol cars. State police say they used black and gold cars until 1954, when they were changed to the current blue color. Each of the state police’s 30 posts will get at least one 100th anniversary patrol car for use on general patrol and at community events. The agency says the patrol cars were purchased as part of the department’s annual fleet replacement, so no additional expenditures were made.
State police say a $7 million technology upgrade that's being phased in will allow troopers to get a better handle on where crime is more likely to happen based on crime reporting trends. The upgraded computer system, which is expected to be fully functional next year, will help troopers perform their jobs more effectively, officials said. It also will help provide a level of safety by allowing troopers to receive better information, such as photographs, about suspects and individuals they detain. “It will increase efficiency and enhance trooper safety,” said Cpl. Joe Koval, president of the State Troopers Association in Harrisburg. The modernization happens at a time when concerns about police safety have intensified. There have been several deadly attacks against officers, including in Pennsylvania, amid mounting tensions nationwide over high-profile killings by police. While the technology upgrade will help improve safety for troopers in their dealings with the public, there are other benefits for the agency and officers. Troopers will get information about where crime will likely happen based on up-to-date crime reporting trends. Managers can then adjust assignments. The system will allow troopers to more rapidly get information and do their jobs, state police Capt. Sean Georgia said. A “problem-specific policing” database — which analyzes how and where crimes are happening — is a part of the system, he said. The new records management system is already installed for noncriminal data, but the criminal data portion is being rolled out in phases. The records management system will track all contact between troopers and individuals — even in cases where there isn't an arrest. The system received a pilot test months ago by 115 troopers in five stations in the Hazleton area. Capt. David T. Dougalas said the “modernization was well received” and the troopers made suggestions to improve it. The new system will allow troopers for the first time to file incident reports from their patrol cars without having to go to state police offices. It will improve safety because photos of suspects can be rapidly sent to troopers for their protection, Koval said. “It will help to keep our men and women on the road longer,” he said. Georgia said troopers will get four weeks of hands-on training. At the Kiski Valley station, Sgt. Ryan Maher said the new records system will eliminate many paper reports. “It will save money and time,” he said. The new system will replace the state police's first electronic records system, which was put into statewide use in 2005. Police say it was the start of a computer-based system to identify crime trends and where drunken-driving accidents and deaths occurred more frequently. That current system replaced troopers putting colored pins on maps. A cluster of pins of the same color showed a trend such as burglaries in one neighborhood, said Capt. Thomas E. Dubovi, who worked with both methods when he was assigned at the Kittanning state police station. He now supervises the investigative records system. “The system will allow us to be data driven rather than paper driven” and record all contacts with PSP, he said. Georgia said the state is separately upgrading its radio system to more easily access other law enforcement radios. That upgrade will make it easier for troopers to contact municipal, county and state police officers who are on different radio systems instead of using cellphones.
On Thursday, January 5th, 2017, the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s (THP) Interdiction Plus Team (IPT) arrested William A. Holley, 31, of Fort Wayne, Indiana for drug trafficking. At the time of the traffic stop four children ranging from ages 5 to 10 years of age were in the vehicle. THP Lieutenant Wayne Dunkleman observed a 2016 Toyota Sienna minivan traveling South on I-65 in Maury County following too close to another vehicle. Lieutenant Dunkleman stopped the vehicle which was a rental vehicle on I-65 at mile marker 37. As LT. Dunkleman made contact with Holley who was the driver, LT. Dunkleman was advised by Holley that he and his four children were traveling from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As Lt. Dunkleman interviewed Holley he noticed that Holley was extremely nervous and was giving off other possible indicators of criminal activity. During the roadside interview, Troopers Jeremy Miller and Richard Campbell arrived to assist. Holley advised the troopers that he was currently on probation in Indiana for possession of marijuana. Lieutenant Dunkleman requested a K9 sweep of the vehicle by Trooper Miller and his K9 partner Dolche. This resulted in a positive drug alert to the vehicle. At this same time ,Trooper Campbell checked with THP dispatch and found Holley to be suspended. As the troopers interviewed Holley he stated that his coat may have a marijuana smell. A probable cause search was conducted on the vehicle and four pounds of high grade marijuana was located in the cargo area in a black duffle bag. Lieutenant Dunkleman arrested Holley without incident and transported him to the Maury County Sheriff’s Office where he was charged with manufacturing for resale a schedule six drug. The Department of Children’s Services responded to the Maury County Jail and took custody of the children until relatives could arrive from out of state. Additionally, the Springhill Police Department assisted with providing child restraint seats that allowed for safe transportation of the children.
A section of Interstate 90 will bear the name of a Lorain County law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty. The stretch of I-90 from Warren Road to Hilliard Road in Cuyahoga County will be named after Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Kenneth “Kenny V.” Velez, 48. The Lorain native died from injuries he sustained in a traffic crash on Sept. 15, 2016. The roadway will be known as the “Trooper Kenny Velez Memorial Highway.” The tribute was tucked in among 28 bills that Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law on Jan. 4. Velez was not mentioned by name in the news announcement that Kasich’s office published that about the numerous bills. Kasich used the social media website Twitter to pay tribute to Velez and to state Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, a cousin of Velez and sponsor of the bill to honor the fallen trooper. Ramos also used Twitter to respond to the governor’s action “to honor Lorain Co & Ohio’s hero, Trooper Kenny Velez.” “I didn’t do that because he was my cousin, I did that because he was my constituent,” Ramos said on Jan. 7. “It meant a lot to me.” Last year, Ramos recalled the number of people who came out for Velez’ funeral as the most people he ever saw gathered in once place in Lorain County at one time. “It was powerful,” Ramos said. “He knew everybody and everybody knew him. Everybody liked him.” Ramos explained how the legislation came about and the legislative procedure in Columbus. After the death of Velez, Ramos said he consulted Velez’ children about a roadside tribute to their father. They approved and he introduced legislation in 2016. The bill for Velez had committee approval in the House, Ramos said. He added that Patrol Superintendent Col. Paul A. Pride was a Patrol Academy classmate of Velez and Pride testified in favor of the name change. However, the bill was on hold during campaign season and the year-end rush of the statehouse, so the tribute to Velez was folded into a Senate Bill for quicker approval. Once that happened, it landed among the bills Kasich signed last week, Ramos said. The governor and lawmakers sometimes will have signing ceremonies for people to attend in Columbus, but Velez’ family could not attend last week’s gubernatorial signing on short notice, Ramos said. Another ceremonial signing and meeting between Kasich and Velez’ family may yet take place, depending on everyone’s schedules, Ramos said.
"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.