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Washington State Patrol emphasizing "Move Over" law this week during patrols

WSP move over

The Washington State Patrol is cracking down on drivers who fail to move over for emergency vehicles.  Troopers are conducting statewide “Slow Down, Move Over” emphasis patrols from Wednesday through Friday “to help both troopers and citizens get home safe by bringing awareness to the ‘Move Over Law.’”  In the last two years, 62 patrols cars have been hit and 24 troopers injured, an average of one trooper injured every month.  Under state law, drivers are required to use caution, slow down and move over or change lanes when approaching an emergency.  An emergency vehicle includes police, fire, medical, tow trucks and vehicles providing roadside assistance using warning lights.  The ticket for failing to obey the law is $214 and cannot be waived or reduced.  Last year, more than 4,100 drivers were contacted by state troopers for “move over” violations.  “The inclement weather season is about to start and is when we see a rise in the number of patrol cars hit,” Sgt. James Prouty stated. 

To watch video, go to https://youtu.be/xfXwO1ERri0

10/19/17

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Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Sarah Krebs honored as a top cop under 40

MSP Honoree Det. Sarah Krebs

Sarah Krebs has made a name for herself.  The Michigan State Police announced that the Det. Sgt. Krebs was selected by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as one of 40 law enforcement professionals from around the world, under age 40, who demonstrated leadership and exemplified commitment to law enforcement.  Krebs was chosen for the association's 40 Under 40 Award for her efforts to find and identify lost and missing persons.  She will be honored at the association's annual conference in Philadelphia this week.  “The MSP prides itself in providing service with a purpose,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, Michigan State Police director.  “(Krebs) lives our mission and is passionate about helping the families of missing persons find closure."  She credited Krebs for development the Missing Persons Coordination Unit, which has led to the positive identification of more than 70 previously unidentified remains cases throughout the United States.  Krebs is credited with founding “Missing in Michigan,” an annual event which brings family members and law enforcement together to help resolve missing persons cases, as well as “ID the Missing,” a DNA collection program that assists in identifying previously unidentified human remains.  She is also an accomplished forensic artist whose composite sketches have led to the identification of numerous wanted persons in major cases around the state.   “Many families go years without answers as to where their loved one is,” said Krebs.  “Knowing I can help bring these families closure and peace of mind keeps me motivated.  I view each day as another opportunity to provide relief to loved ones of the missing.”  Krebs enlisted with the MSP in 2000, graduating as a member of the 119th Trooper Recruit School. Before being assigned to the missing unit in Lansing, she served at posts and task forces in the metro Detroit area.

10/18/17

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South Carolina Highway Patrol shortens training to get troopers on road

SCHP Shortage

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says it wants about 950 troopers on the roads to help keep community members and drivers safe.  Currently, the division is short about 200 troopers.  The shortage has led to changes in the agency’s recruitment and training policies.  There are 759 troopers in the state, 37 are in training, but there are dozens more positions to fill and major changes are coming to make that happen.  “More manpower.  I think if you look everywhere in the state, we’re needing troopers,” says Cpl. Sonny Collins with the highway patrol.  Troop five, which covers Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Williamsburg, and Marlboro counties currently has 132 troopers.  In an effort to hire more people state-wide, Cpl. Collins says they’re changing to an immediate turnaround in their application process and cutting training hours.  Prior to the changes, Cpl. Collins says a certified officer would still have to go through 12 weeks of training at the academy to become a trooper.  “With the four weeks compressed for the certified officers, I feel like that’s going to be a good calling card for those already seasoned, trained officers to come to us because before, they would have to go through multiple weeks at the academy – up to twelve weeks,” explains Cpl. Collins.  Now certified officers won’t have to go back to the academy, they’ll just have four weeks of advanced training, and training in their county.  Uncertified officers will now spend 12 weeks at the academy and 12 weeks training with the highway patrol and the county they’ll patrol.  “With the old process, it was taking so long to get people through the process and then the academy because of the weeks of training, we were only able to get classes two times a year, sometimes three,” says Cpl. Collins.  “So, those numbers were just not growing as fast as we needed them to do by doing this new way.  We feel like the numbers can come up much quicker and therefore reach our goal.”  Cpl. Collins says because the training quality is the same, and continued education will be implemented, they’re not worried officers will be any less qualified.  “We’re not lowering our standards by any means, but we’re just compressing the time that it takes to get these folks trained and on the road so we can have more visibility on our highways,” states Cpl. Collins.  The South Carolina Highway Patrol has faced a shortage of troopers since the recession, Cpl. Collins says, and although they’ve advertised for the open positions on billboards, social media, and even increased pay, the division is hoping this change in training will lure new applicants to become troopers.

10/17/17

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Virginia State Police graduates 30 new troopers

VSP 126th graduation

The Commonwealth graduated its 126th generation of Virginia State Troopers on Friday, October 6.  The 30 new troopers received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management.  The members of the 126th Basic Session began their 29 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy March 23, 2017.  Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia beginning Oct. 10, 2017, for their final phase of training.  Each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

10/11/17

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State troopers seize large amount of marijuana

MSP Seize Marijuana

After following up on a tip about marijuana growing on public property near Petoskey, the Michigan State Police reported that its troopers seized 30 such plants from that location on Monday.  State police said troopers from the Gaylord post received a tip Monday about an outdoor marijuana growing operation hidden off a walking trail, on public property in Emmet County’s Bear Creek Township.  The witness who called it in had seen a man walking around in the area tending to some plants, and after further investigation noticed it was marijuana growing in pots and contacted law enforcement, according to state police Lt. Derrick Carroll.  The troopers made contact with the individual and, through investigation, concluded he was the suspect.  “Upon interviewing him (suspect) and doing some search warrants, they (troopers) determined he was the suspect,” Carroll said.  “They recovered fertilizer and other equipment that this person was using to grow these plants outdoors.”  Uniformed troopers seized 30 marijuana plants, not yet mature, from the outdoor operation.  According to Carroll, this is the largest quantity of the plants which Gaylord-based troopers have seized this year. The officers also confiscated fertilizer, magnesium and a vehicle that had been used to grow the marijuana.

9/28/17

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Lawrence native's book traces roots of Massachusetts State Police, the first in the country

Mass SP History

A grammar school in Lawrence is dedicated to Henry Kemble Oliver who was a city superintendent, mayor, school committee member and state representative.  In a new book written by a Lawrence native, we also learn Oliver was also one of the first deputy constables, the historical equivalent of today's state trooper, in Massachusetts.  Similarly, to a state police detective, Oliver was specifically tasked with investigating child labor in mills and factories some 149 years ago.  Oliver's yearlong investigation ended in 1868 "with two scathing reports to the Legislature detailing how the current school law 'was so thoroughly emasculated as to render it of no effect whatever,'" according to Ronald Guilmette's new book titled "First to Serve."  "He wrote of 'righting the downright wrong of keeping at work, young children pent up in a factory room, continuously, day after day, and those days of twelve and fourteen hours each, in some instances, without interruption for education and recreation,'" Guilmette wrote.  The culmination of four years of research by Guilmette, "First to Serve" is a 200-page historical book that traces the birth of Massachusetts State Police, the nation's oldest state police agency, from its inception in 1865 and through the next 10 years.  The majority who first served on state police were Civil War veterans, said Guilmette, 70, a Lawrence native who himself served 31 years on the Massachusetts State Police retiring in 1999 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Then, they were appointed as deputy constables.  "Today, we know them as troopers," he said.  "I just got hooked on reading some of these guys' stories," said Guilmette, a father of four and grandfather of five who lives at Salisbury Beach.  His introduction in the book notes: "Alcohol was the genesis for the state police force and the primary reason why several other New England states looked to establish state police forces during the nineteenth century."  Other reasons a state police force was needed included gambling, houses of ill repute and general lawlessness including a lack of policing in rural communities, he wrote.  But driving the state police's birth was "a total disregard for alcohol enforcement in major cities, primarily due to political influence," Guilmette wrote.  His research revealed there were 335 deputy constables that served during that initial decade of the Massachusetts State Police.  The average length of service was 2 1/2 years and the constables were everything from farmers, shoemakers, cotton spinners, blacksmiths, dentists, doctors and more.  Many were immigrants including one deputy constable who "was born at sea while crossing the Atlantic to his new home in America," Guilmette wrote.  "The pay for a constable was three dollars per day; there were no benefits and no pension.  Constables were assaulted, shot, stabbed, arrested, had their horses stolen and poisoned, their houses and barns burned to the ground, were falsely accused of crimes, suspended for lack of budgeting, and in some cases forced to resign."  "Still they forged on and established a legacy that would survive the test of time," wrote Guilmette in the book's introduction.  Guilmette said he looked to the state archives for information on the deputy constables but found information there was scarce or nonexistent.  Newspaper reports from the time, however, helped Guilmette shape short biographical sketches of the constables including where they were from, married, settled, served and buried. Reporters' accounts in the newspapers also detailed "arrests and adventures of the early constables," he said.  Guilmette included newspaper accounts from that time in the self-published book.  Proceeds benefit the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center in Grafton.  The cost of Guilmette's book is $19.95 plus $3 for shipping and can be purchased by emailing him at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

9/27/17

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Maryland State Police welcome new cadaver dog

Maryland SP K 9

The Maryland State Police K-9 Unit has welcomed its first human remains detection dog in two decades to their ranks.  Skye, a 3-year old springer spaniel, is currently one of only three law enforcement human remains detection dogs in Maryland, according to a news release from the Maryland State Police.  She officially began work on Sept. 13 and will be made available to allied Maryland police agencies that may require the services of a cadaver dog.  Ron Snyder, public information officer for the MSP Office of Media Communications, said a cadaver dog is brought in when police are searching for a person that is believed to be deceased.  “Cadaver dogs are trained differently from search and rescue dogs, which are utilized to find living humans and not detect decomposing flesh,” he said.  Skye’s handler is Sgt. Rick Kelly, a 15-year veteran of the K-9 Unit based out of Barrack A Waterloo in Jessup, and she is assigned to the Special Operations Command.  According to the release, Skye was donated to the MSP on June 24 and underwent training leading up to her official start this month.  Two handlers from the FBI Evidence Response Team Unit, Forensic K9 Consulting — Wynn Warren and Jay Topoleski — trained Skye in the detection of human remains and they were also involved with her MSP training, according to the release.  The MSP K-9 Unit has been in operation since 1961, with K-9’s assisting in drug detection, search and rescue, explosive detection and criminal apprehension.  Currently the MSP employs 32 handlers and 41 K-9’s throughout the state, according to the release.

9/26/17

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North Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 23 new troopers

NCHP 142nd graduation class

The State Highway Patrol proudly welcomed 23 new troopers at a graduation ceremony for the 142nd Basic Highway Patrol School Friday, September 22.  The celebration ended 15 weeks of extensive academic and physical training.  The ceremony was held at the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary at 10 a.m.  The oath of office was administered by Justice Michael R. Morgan, Supreme Court of North Carolina.  Colonel G. M. McNeill Jr., 27th Commander of the State Highway Patrol provided words of encouragement.  “My challenge to you on this day is a charge to be an effective law enforcement leader, to carry out your duty to North Carolina with loyalty, integrity and professionalism,” said Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr.   “Remember what you’ve learned, use good judgment, don’t forget that effective communication is key and always apply ethics to your decision-making process.”  The cadets will report to their respective duty stations on Wednesday, October 11th, to begin a rigorous field training program.

9/25/17

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Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers to carry Narcan

Missouri carry Narcan

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and other state law enforcement officers are being trained on how to use an opioid overdose reversal medication.  Several troopers, park rangers and conservation agents gathered at MSHP General Headquarters on Aug. 30 for training on how to use Naloxone, also known as Narcan.  Every trooper will carry this medication after they complete training on it.  “The purpose is to fight opioid overdose and save lives,” said Trooper Nicholas Greiner with MSHP Troop H.  Greiner who has been a trooper for ten years and said he never imagined that someday he would have to carry something like Narcan.  Patrol superintendent Colonel Sandra Karsten directed the Patrol to prepare to carry and be able to use Narcan.  The drug has been stored in ambulances for several years, but Patrol will carry Narcan as a means to bridge the gap from when they arrive until a paramedic does.  The medication can be administered in a couple different ways but troopers are being trained on the nasal spray version, which works in 2-5 minutes on average.  According to MSHP, this is all a part of the Missouri Hope Project, which was conducted by Missouri’s Department of Mental Health.  The project’s goal is “to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Missouri through expanded access to prevention, public awareness, assessment, referral to treatment, overdose education and naloxone for those at risk of experiencing or witnessing an overdose event.”  “The project is a response to a nationwide opioid epidemic,” said Greiner.  The troopers are trained on how to use the medication, as well as what symptoms to look for.  Symptoms include slow breathing, discolored lips and nails, cold and clammy skin and tiny pinpoint pupils.  Greiner said he was taught to use CPR first if the subject does not have a pulse.  The patrol said Narcan spray is easy to administer and highly effective.  On Saturday, a Troop D officer, who had been recently trained, used Narcan on a motorist who had overdosed. It saved the motorist’s life.  According to MSHP, in 2016 there were more than 900 deaths in the state that resulted from heroin overdoses.

9/22/17

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Michigan State Police trooper killed in line-of-duty

Michigan Trooper ONeill End of Watch collage

Trooper Timothy O'Neill was killed in a motorcycle crash, in Plainfield Township, at approximately 7:45 am.  He was riding his department motorcycle when he was involved in the crash near the intersection of Wolverine Boulevard NE and Belding Road NE.  Trooper O'Neill had served with the Michigan State Police for three years.  He is survived by his mother, father, brother, sister, and fiancee.  The crash occurred two weeks before his wedding date.

9/21/17

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Driver charged with DUI crashed into 'Report Drunk Drivers' sign, highway patrol says

CHP DUI

"Isn't it ironic, don't ya think?" the Santa Cruz California Highway Patrol wrote on their Facebook page after a drunk driver drove into a "Report Drunk Drivers" sign.  Stephen DeWitt, 57 of Aptos, was arrested for DUI following CHP investigation.  Police say he rolled his Jeep Wrangler on Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County.  He hit the sign during the incident.  "He left this behind... Don't drink and drive, it's just not worth it!" the California Highway Patrol wrote.

9/18/17

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Montana Highway Patrol commissions 9 new troopers

MHP graduation September 2017

The Montana Highway Patrol commissioned nine new troopers Friday at the 62nd Advanced Academy Graduation ceremony.  Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker addressed the graduates at the event, which took place at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena.  Baker reminded the new troopers of the important role they will play in the justice system.  “Our citizens must know that their justice system provides a fair, independent, and unbiased process for safeguarding their rights and upholding the law without favor or prejudice.  As law enforcement officers, you are the first face of the rule of law, she said.

9/15/17

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Pennsylvania State Police welcome 90 new troopers

PSP graduation class September 2017

Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker announced today that 90 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth.  The men and women represent the 149th graduating cadet class.  The ceremony at Bishop McDevitt High School marked the culmination of 27 weeks of classroom and physical training.  Guest speaker, Pike County District Attorney Raymond J. Tonkin, joined Commissioner Blocker in congratulating the graduates on their achievements.  Cadet William F. Golden, from Lackawanna County, spoke on behalf of the graduating class.

7/13/17

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Acute trooper shortage prompts state police hiring initiative

VSP hiring initiative

An acute shortage of Virginia State Police troopers has prompted it to initiate an abbreviated academy program for existing law enforcement officers.  “It’s really gotten to a critical stage probably in the last two to three years,” said Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller of the trooper shortage.  Through Aug. 31, Virginia State Police had 237 vacancies and a sworn force of 2,138, according to Geller, which includes troopers, special agents, commercial vehicle enforcement officers and supervisors.  She was unable to break down the vacancies by division.  From Jan. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 262 sworn personnel have left the department — 157 in 2016 and 105 in 2017, Geller said.  The 2015 Virginia State Police’s Manpower Augmentation Study, based on calls for service and investigation caseloads, calls for an additional 932 sworn personnel in order to provide 24-hour coverage throughout Virginia.  The study showed that in Division V, which covers James City and York counties, much of the Peninsula, south Hampton Roads and Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the state police needs an additional 139 troopers.  The study noted that James City County is authorized to have 11 troopers, but needs 14, while York County is authorized to have 12 troopers, but needs 11.  The abbreviated state police academy program, which will run eight weeks instead of the normal six months, is unprecedented in the department’s 85-year history, Geller said.  Law enforcement officers who are Department of Criminal Justice certified and have at least three years experience, are eligible for the accelerated program.  Even with the 2017 General Assembly approving salary increases, Virginia State Police Superintendent Stephen Flaherty said in a news release that many of its field divisions across the state have vacancy rates approaching 50 percent.  “Despite the salary increases provided by the Virginia General Assembly this year, state police continue to struggle to prevent our sworn personnel from leaving for other agencies and then to fill those growing agencies in a timely manner,” Flaherty said.  Trooper starting salaries had been $36,207 before the General Assembly action.  The new starting salary is $48,719, except for beginning troopers in Northern Virginia, who make $60,587.  In the 2017 session, the General Assembly approved extra funding to hike the starting salary to make it more competitive.  Also, the General Assembly approved a 3 percent raise across the board for state workers, including troopers, and it also increased compression pay, which provides an increase in salary for existing troopers.  “The pay raises have not sustained, so you’ve got folks who have been with the department for an extended period of time almost making as much, or less than, someone who is starting new,” Geller said.  The previous starting salary, according to Geller, did not allow the state police to compete with localities or with other state police agencies across the country.  Geller said the 30 troopers in the academy set to graduate in October is one of the smallest classes the state police has had in a decade. Typically, she said it graduates 60 to 80 people in an academy class.  “We’re just having a difficult time, as is everybody right now, hiring to fill our vacancies,” Geller said.  Virginia State Police are not only seeing fewer applications, the department is also not getting enough people to meet its standards, Geller said.  But with a multitude of priorities — combating a rise in traffic deaths, investigating drug and violent crimes — Geller said troopers are foregoing vacations and time off to cover for one another.  “We need the people in order to fulfill our whole mission,” Geller said. “A lot of folks think we’re just troopers who work crashes and write tickets.”  Virginia State Police began accepting applications for its new accelerated lateral entry program Sept. 1, with the next academy class to begin in April 2018.  Those selected for the program, Geller said, will be hired to a specific vacancy somewhere in Virginia.  A scheduled academy class to begin in October, Geller said, was canceled because it wasn’t full.  “We’ve still got to fill the vacancies, not only on our uniform side, but our investigative side as well," Geller said.

9/7/17

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Iowa State troopers issue far more tickets for texting

Iowa State Texting tickets

The number of texting while driving tickets has skyrocketed in the two months since the newly enacted law calling for tougher punishments for offenders took effect July 1.  The Iowa State Patrol has issued 230 tickets and 135 warnings for texting while driving since July 1, far more than troopers issued all last year.  State patrol troopers issued fewer than 175 tickets for texting in 2016.  “I’m just watching people’s behaviors as they go by,” Trooper Durk Pearston said.  Officials say it will cost you if you don't put the phone down.  A KCCI crew rode along with the Iowa State Patrol, and it didn't take long to find someone breaking the law.  “The guy had his cell phone, still has it in his right hand there, but had it down in his lap by the steering wheel,” Pearston said.  Alex Dinkla, an Iowa State Patrol spokesperson, said with the law being so new, they have to come up with creative ways to catch drivers in the act.  Watching driving habits isn’t easy in a marked car.  “Any time we have a marked law enforcement unit, full light bars, full stickers on the car, is people will instantly see that unit and they put their phone down and we know that right afterwards, they’re probably picking that phone back up,” Dinkla said.  Some people are so intrigued by their phone, even that doesn't stop them.  “We’re finding it is pretty personnel intensive, so that way we can try to find people that are texting and driving but also to be able to prosecute those charges as well,” Dinka said.  Officials said though talking on your phone is not illegal, it can be just as much of a distraction.  “You’re driving for yourself. But you also have to drive for everybody else on the road that might be on their phone or texting while driving,” Pearston said.  Officers are using unmarked vehicles and plain-clothed troopers to catch motorists, but it can still be difficult for them to spot violations, said Maj. Randy Kunert, who heads the state patrol’s field operations.  “The districts reported success in finding some violations, but indicated it is still a hard violation to detect,” he said.  “It is very personnel intensive and often only one or two traffic stops were made per hour.”  Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, said the enforcement efforts send a strong message to the community that texting while driving isn’t acceptable.  “You know, the word gets out and people will say, ‘Hey, I got a ticket for texting while driving,’ and that is going to reverberate with folks,” Kapucian said.  Texting while driving increases the risk of crashing more than 20 times when compared to driving while not distracted, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The fine for texting while driving is $30, but court costs bring the total cost to about $100, according to the Legislative Services Agency.  Forty-seven states prohibit texting while driving and 15 ban drivers from using hand-held cellphones altogether, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

9/5/17

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