AAST fosters brotherhood and connects you to fellow troopers in your state and around the country.
The American Association of State Troopers Foundation, Inc. was founded to provide a special way to give back to trooper members...
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...
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon, and members of the Public Safety Commission (PSC) today [Friday] were joined by Texas Sen. Donna Campbell and Texas State Rep. Mark Keough as the department commissioned 116 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony. Sen. Campbell was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held today in Austin. “The people of Texas will forever be grateful to the courageous men and women – past and present – who pledge their lives to protecting and serving others no matter the cost, and today, 116 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers join that esteemed legion,” said Sen. Campbell. “Thank you for answering this honorable call of duty – your grit and enthusiasm are an inspiration, and I know you will make us all proud.” The C-2016 class – which includes 14 former peace officers, 47 military veterans and a set of twin brothers – will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training. “I want to thank and congratulate all of our graduates here today. Your perseverance through the many months of demanding training has certainly paid off – you’ve earned the right and privilege to be called a Texas State Trooper,” said Chair Leon. “We appreciate your willingness to serve and are pleased to officially welcome you to the DPS family.” The troopers began the 23-week training academy in July. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, tr affic and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness. “Not everyone has the mettle necessary to pursue a career in law enforcement, which requires an unwavering devotion to duty and countless sacrifices not only from the officer but also from their loved ones,” said Director McCraw. “DPS and the entire state are thankful for these 116 graduates who have risen to the challenge to become Highway Patrol Troopers sworn to serve their communities and protect Texas from a full spectrum of threats.” In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott authorized 250 additional Trooper positions to be permanently stationed in the border area (DPS Regions 3 and 4) by August 2017, as well as additional DPS recruit schools to help fill that need and address vacancies across the state. A total of 47 troopers from Class C-2016 will be stationed in Regions 3 and 4 as part of this initiative, bringing the total number of positions to the authorized 250. “I am pleased to say that today’s graduation marks the completion of filling those 250 new positions directed by state leaders – more than eight months ahead of schedule,” said Director McCraw. “Additionally, the department is proud of the impact our men and women have made during the past two years of around-the-clock security operations combating threats posed by a porous Texas-Mexico border.” As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,632 for DPS Trooper Chad Blackburn, who was severely injured this year when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver; $750 worth of gifts for the Toys for Tots program; and $200 in school supplies for an elementary school.
Internet-savvy police departments across the country started posting images of “Elf on the Shelf” dolls to their social media accounts this month ahead of Christmas, Massachusetts State Trooper Dustin Fitch decided he wanted to buck the trend. So he got creative. In early December, Fitch, who handles social media operations for the state police, had a minuscule police uniform custom-tailored for an “elf,” slapped a teeny badge onto the blue suit, and then debuted to the world the newest pint-sized police recruit: “Statie” the elf. “I just wanted to add a little holiday humor,” said Fitch of the elf doll, which has appeared on Twitter and Facebook dutifully helping officers with daily tasks. “I wanted to use an elf to humanize us. ... It shows how we are all just people, too, looking to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, like everyone else.”
Governor Bill Haslam served as the keynote speaker for the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s graduation ceremony of Cadet Class 1216 at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory on Friday. The 33 cadets earned their badges and were officially recognized as Tennessee State Troopers for the first time. The 33 new state troopers took their oaths of office after completing 16 weeks of intense physical and classroom training at the THP Training Center. This was THP’s first-ever lateral class, meaning 100% of the graduating class had prior law enforcement experience. Included in the cadet class are six veterans, seven with bachelor's degrees, an associate’s degree graduate and 20 who have college experience. “The law enforcement experience this class of cadets brings to the Tennessee Highway Patrol is impressive, and their skills and knowledge will be needed with the challenges facing state troopers today. These cadets are putting themselves on the front lines to help protect the citizens of Tennessee and the millions of visitors to our state. I thank them for their continued service and congratulate them on this accomplishment,” Governor Haslam said. “It’s my privilege to join our state’s leadership today as we graduate the first lateral trooper cadet class in the history of the Highway Patrol," Commissioner David W. Purkey said. "These men and women are going through a training academy for the second time because they recognize the responsibility of serving as a Tennessee State Trooper. They were specifically chosen from a field of some 500 applicants, and today they will don the same uniform that I once was privileged to wear. Congratulations to each of them as they celebrate with their families – they’ve absolutely earned this honor.” “I am very proud of our newest trooper class,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “The cadets came to our training program as individuals from a variety of law enforcement backgrounds. As they underwent an intense training regimen they bonded and became a unit. Today I am proud to call them Tennessee State Troopers. There is no doubt they are going to face increasing challenges, but I am confident that they are going to approach their duties with honor, pride in service, and as professional law enforcement officers.” As part of a class community service project, Class 1216 participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross. The class collected 31 units of blood that served over 93 patients. Class 1216 also collected over 700 donated food items that will be delivered to the Gatlinburg area. The cadet class and the Tennessee State Trooper Association donated money to a fellow trooper cadet and his family that lost their home in the Gatlinburg wildfires. The new graduates will continue their training, totaling more than 400 hours of hands on experience in the field.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol announced the graduation of 62 troopers from its Highway Patrol Basic Class 100 Thursday. According to the press release from Communications Director Sherri Iacobelli, Basic 100 brings the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 816. Basic 101 will report to the Academy in January. Today’s graduating class began training on July 15 and graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy on October 30. An additional 15 prior certified officers joined on October 14. The class continued with specialized training from the Highway Patrol in all areas of law enforcement. The SCHP Basic Training Program consists of 21 weeks of extensive law enforcement training in-residence. After graduation, troopers must complete a minimum of 400 hours of field training. Troopers are assigned to areas based upon population, calls for service, and the number of licensed drivers/registered vehicles in an area. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.
Local Highway Patrol troopers enjoyed filling up baskets with toys such as tractors, Transformers, Legos, dolls and Pokemon. The Sampson County branch (Troop B, District 2) took 16 children shopping for the holiday season. Clothing items were purchased first. Next, it was the toy section. Children were selected after letters were sent to local elementary schools and guidance counselors contacted Tina Byrd, the station’s office assistant, with suggestions. Byrd was assisted by Trooper Evelyn Campos. First Sgt. David Kinlaw was grateful to participants, sponsors and donors from a golf tournament held in June. Those funds went towards helping fellow residents. “It’s our way of giving back to the community,” he said. “It’s something we look forward to every Christmas.” The golf tournament began in 1989 to honor deceased Trooper Randy Ward. It began to help less fortunate children and became more popular. Along with the Christmas shopping, troopers were able to add funds for scholarships for students attending Sampson Community College. Kinlaw assisted with plans for the golf tournament. Trooper Chris Strickland collected funds for the tournament. In 2015, he was helped by Sgt. Bryan Smith. Kinlaw said the events builds a rapport with the community by helping needy families. “Especially this year, with the hurricane and flooding and people losing their homes, it’s good that we can have something like this,” Kinlaw said about giving back to the community. “It helps the people who are less fortunate and makes their Christmas a little bit brighter.”
A big rig carrying nearly 120 kilograms of heroin valued at over $11 million was stopped on the 15 Freeway in Victorville on Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol. The truck was pulled over for speeding on the northbound freeway just past Highway 395 about 6:50 a.m., CHP Officer Leon Lopez told KTLA. A K-9 alerted on the big rig, leading officers to 118 kilogram-sized packaged of heroin in the trailer, Lopez said. The narcotics were found in the rear of the trailer mixed in with the truck’s load, CHP Officer Robert Mendenhall told Victor Valley News. Mendenhall estimated the street value and weight of the heroin, saying it was the largest drug seizure in his 29-year CHP career. The driver was arrested on suspicion of transportation and possession of narcotics. His story and nervousness, along with “criminal indicators,” drew attention, Mendenhall said. The investigation and the evidence were being handed over the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Lopez said. The vehicle was headed for Canada, Mendenhall told Victor Valley News.
“Every day, FHP Troopers leave the comfort of their homes in order to protect us and help ensure motorists Arrive Alive,” said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director, Terry Rhodes. On June 14, 2015, Taylor observed a red pickup truck entering the parking lot of the Pilot Gas Station on State Road 520 in Brevard County without its headlights on. Taylor approached the vehicle to inform the driver regarding the headlights. After the initial contact with the driver, the passenger of the vehicle produced a revolver and fired at Taylor, striking him in the shoulder. He found cover, and with a clear line of sight, engaged the subject with his service weapon, fatally wounding the suspect. The driver of the truck was taken into custody immediately after the incident. “On that dark Sunday evening, Lt. Taylor made selfless decisions that undoubtedly saved the lives of innocent bystanders. He is a hero who has earned our gratitude and commendation,” said Rhodes. FHP Director, Col. Gene Spaulding, commended Taylor for his actions. “He not only ended a life-threatening situation to himself, but his quick and decisive actions ensured the safety of the individuals around him,” said Spaulding. “Lt. Taylor demonstrated his commitment to the Florida Highway Patrol and the residents and visitors of the great state of Florida by his actions that day and is well deserving of this recognition.” The Trooper of the Year award was created in 1965 by the Florida Petroleum Council to recognize Florida Highway Patrol Troopers for the work they do each day to ensure A Safer Florida.
The mission of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is to ensure safe and efficient transportation, while promoting highway safety through enforcement and education. That sentiment rang true for one Tennessee Patrol officer who pulled over a mother, when the officer noticed that her children were not in car seats. The officer asked the mother, "Why are the two boys in the back seat not in car seats?" My answer was the two little boys were my foster sons who I had just got the night before. " The mother said the officer asked her for her phone number and gave it to him. "His wife called me and asked about the boys. This morning Officer Tidwell met me in Waverly, him and his wife had purchased gifts for the boys. Not just the two boys in the back seat but, their older brother too.” In a Facebook post posted to their Facebook page, the woman wrote: "I can not thank him enough for the kindness he has shown these three boys. I never asked him for anything. He and his wife acted out of the kindness of their hearts. He showed these boys that there are very nice cops out there and I hope he has left a lasting impression on them that cops are good."
Next year, there will be 34 new Kansas Highway Patrol troopers on the job throughout the state. It’s the largest class the Patrol has graduated in 14 years. The new troopers chanted and marched on stage during a graduation ceremony Thursday at the Highway Patrol’s training academy in Salina. KHP launched an aggressive recruiting effort last year because there’s been a shortage of manpower for many years. In 2015, the patrol set a goal to hire 75 troopers in the next three years to bring the agency to nearly-full capacity. Trooper Stephen LaRow says they stepped up their social media campaign and hired a full-time recruiter, Trooper Cory Beard. "In a time that we’ve been struggling to find applicants, to graduate a class this size I think shows a lot about his efforts and basically, how far our reach in social media has gone," LaRow says. This 56th trooper class began their basic training at the academy back in July. They completed 23 weeks of classes on driving, firearms, legal issues and other subjects. They also learned techniques for how to respond to people with special needs. LaRow says this year’s graduating class of 34 is a milestone—this is the largest trooper class to graduate since 38 new troopers graduated in 2002. He says this is also the first class to come under the new recruiter. "We have a full-time recruiter who goes out and attends job fairs, goes to college campuses," LaRow says. "He’s very interactive with people –answers a lot of questions through phone calls and emails, and things like that." LaRow says another change may have also helped their recruiting efforts. The Highway Patrol now offers the application test a lot more, and at sites throughout the state. In previous years, it was only offered once or twice a year. The new troopers will now have to complete three months of on-the-road field training with a senior trooper before they begin their full-time assignments.
Louisiana State Police was honored to be able to travel to the St. Jude Children's Hospital this week and spread Christmas cheer to the patients and families at the Target & Ronald McDonald houses. Troopers enjoyed visiting with and delivering Christmas cards to the amazing children of St. Jude's. The weekend concluded with 4 troopers completing the half marathon on Saturday.
Friday was a day 22 weeks in the making. Colorado cadets became troopers with the State Patrol. With their right hands held in the air, and their voices in unison, they took the pledge, making it official. “The bonds are unbreakable that we formed here,” new Trooper Kerry Donahue said. “There’s nothing like it.” The moment weighed on some of the people at the graduation ceremony. Tears were shed, as everyone knew they’d gained 15 troopers, but lost three in the last few years. Taylor Thyfault was hit and killed by a driver during a high-speed chase in 2015. Jaimie Jursevics was hit and killed during a crash investigation in November of that year, and Cody Donahue was hit almost exactly a year later. “I feel strong about my choice to become a Colorado State Trooper, knowing the risks. That’s something you do a long time ago, when you sign up, and decide this is the path you’re going to go down,” Donahue said, adding that the loss reinforces her duty to serve. The ceremony was held in Golden. Troopers were sent to their new offices once it ended.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) was challenged by the Virginia State Police to take part in the mannequin challenge. The THP is also teaming up with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to donate food and supplies to those affected by the devastating wildfires. Acceding to a press release, officials hope the mannequin challenge will bring attention to the resources needed by the fire victims in East Tennessee. The collection period will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 6, through Tuesday, Dec. 20. Members of the THP will deliver the collected items to the Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries. Suggested items are blankets, bottled water, canned food, non-perishable food, factory-sealed food items, and pet food. “Kindness is a gift that we all can share with one another,” said Colonel Tracy Trott. “I am personally requesting that you please show your neighbors in Gatlinburg that you care about them. This is a catastrophic event that affects all Tennesseans.” The public can drop off items at any of the eight THP District Headquarters statewide. You can visit the website for a list of the district locations. Click here for a list of locations.
State police troopers rescued an unconscious driver from a burning car on I-91 early Friday morning, police said. About 3:08 a.m., troopers from Troop H in Hartford responded to a crash in which a vehicle rolled over on I-91 north at exit 29A. The vehicle, a Nissan Altima, was also reported to be on fire, state police said. A trooper working at a nearby highway construction job responded and found the car on its roof and on fire, with the driver trapped inside, state police said. Working with another trooper, he was able to extinguish the fire, and the unconscious driver was eventually removed from the car and taken to Hartford Hospital. The driver did not suffer any serious injuries, state police said. None of the troopers were injured, state police said.
You've probably caught wind of the mannequin challenge issued by the Virginin State Police going around. We have a great one to share with you done by the Michigan State Police. The impressive video goes on for about 2 and a half minutes. The inspiration behind it is taking a stand against hunger in our community. Their ongoing donation collection is featured throughout.
Watch the video at: https://www.facebook.com/MichiganStatePolice/videos/10154869432492216/.
America's Best Looking Trooper Cruisers 2017 Calendar is selling out quickly. Get yours before they are gone!
Currently, 48 calendars are available and it is first come first served. The calendar's cost $10.00. Order your calendar at www.statetroopers.org.
"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.