State Trooper Presents Mortgage Payoff to Widow of Fallen State Trooper

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Just a month ago Illinois State Trooper Joshua Hecht organized and ran a golf tournament at the Chester Country Club, raising money to support the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The event was a huge success, collecting $10,000 for the foundation. Tunnel to Towers is dedicated to helping surviving family members of first responders and military casualties, and catastrophically injured military members.Hecht became deeply involved with the foundation after the death of his friend and fellow trooper, Nicholas Hopkins. Hecht and Hopkins, both former Marines who served two tours in Iraq each, served together as Illinois State Troopers in District 11 in Collinsville. Hopkins was killed in the line of duty Aug. 23, 2019 while serving a warrant. Hecht's great job with the "Holes Fore Heroes" golf tournament in October earned the respect and interest of Jack Oehm, a former New York Battalion Chief with the Fire Department of New York, who called Hecht a "rising star" with the charity. Oehm was off duty on Sept. 11, 2001 when the twin towers in New York were attacked by terrorists. Oehm spent days trying to recover victims, and lost many fellow firefighters. Oehm, now retired, is now on the board of directors of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, spends much of his time traveling around the country speaking about the foundation and raising money to support its mission. He also gets the honor and privilege of presenting mortgage-free homes to the recipients of the foundation's services.Following the Oct. 17 golf tournament and getting to know Hecht as a dedicated, compassionate, supporter of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Oehm asked if Hecht would be willing to go to Springfield, Missouri to present a mortgage-free home to the wife of a fallen Springfield police officer. "When Jack called I was blown away," Hecht said. "I was extremely moved that the foundation would think that highly of me to give me the opportunity to present a mortgage free home to one of the Tunnel to Towers recipient. He told Oehm to just tell him when and where to go. "Jack Oehm is the man," Hecht added. "He is known across the country for his involvement in this organization. All across the country people are raising money to make these mortgage-free homes possible for families of fallen first responders, Gold Star families and catastrophically injured soldiers, and they picked me to present this mortgage free home in Springfield. I am beyond honored."Tunnel to Towers personnel sent Hecht a binder and two boxes of information, which he dove into for the next two weeks. He talked to his supervisor about taking the time off for the trip, who was proud that one of District 11's own had been selected. His only response to Hecht's request was to ask, 'Do you want a marked car or an unmarked car?'" Hecht said. Hecht was going to Springfield Nov. 10 to meet with the widow of Springfield Police Officer Christopher Walsh, who was shot and killed in the line of duty March 16, 2020 when he ran into a convenience store to stop an active shooter. He died trying to save injured civilians. Walsh had been on the department for 3½ years. Prior, Walsh spent a decade in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Altogether Walsh served two tours of duty, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Walsh left behind a wife, Sheri, and their 10-year-old daughter, Morgan. Sheri and Christopher Walsh were high school sweethearts and had been together since they were 16 years old. Sheri, who runs a private business, was worried she'd have to give it up and take a more lucrative job to provide for herself and her daughter and keep the house. The family bought the house three years ago and there was 27 years remaining on the mortgage. With Tunnel to Towers paying off the mortgage, Sheri and her daughter are now secure. "Sheri was very appreciative," Hecht said, and believes now that she can continue her small side business and pay the bills." That same Veterans Day week, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation paid off the mortgages for 11 homes across the country in total, in Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. Hecht was so moved by the experience he hopes it leads to other opportunities with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation. "I can't say if I will be asked to make more presentations in the future, but I think that they were pleased with my efforts and that it is a possibility that I may have another opportunity down the road," Hecht said. "I really enjoy reaching out to those who have experienced such terrible tragedies in their lives and if given to opportunity to help improve their situations, I would surely accept the offer to do so." Hecht and his wife Courtney and children, Kinsley, 8 and Karson, 4 live in Chester. The entire family is supportive of his efforts with the Tunnel to Towers Foundation and he has the full support and admiration of each of them.

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Michigan State Trooper Saves Man From Burning Wreck

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AAST and American Trucking Association Support National Traffic incident Response Awareness Week


AASTATA

AAST and American Trucking Association support the week of November 9-15, 2020 as;

National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week

This year’s theme is ‘Slow Down, Move Over, Be Safe,’ and we are especially grateful for our law enforcement and first responder partners across the country who help save lives at the scene of traffic incidents. More information about National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week can be found here and here.

American Trucking Associations:

https://twitter.com/TRUCKINGdotORG/status/1325829694877523969

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanTruckingAssociations/posts/10164728850300171

American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI):

https://twitter.com/Truck_Research/status/1325810168500785153

https://twitter.com/ATRIPREZ/status/1325819956903243777

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California Highway Patrol Welcomes New Officers

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The California Highway Patrol (CHP) congratulates its 77 new officers who were sworn in [recently] during an unprecedented socially distant graduation ceremony at the CHP Academy. The graduating class begins their new career with more hands-on experience than any class in Academy history. As concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic intensified, the CHP closed its live-in Academy in West Sacramento on March 20, 2020. All cadets were sent home and assigned to work in CHP Area offices located as close to their residences as practicable. Prior to leaving, the seven women and 70 men of Cadet Training Class (CTC) III-19, who started October 21, 2019, had completed 23 weeks of their 29-week training at the Academy. During the six months spent working in CHP Area offices throughout the state, cadets had an unprecedented opportunity to observe a wide variety of activities and tasks, enhancing their classroom work. On ride-alongs with officers, they experienced a CHP officer’s shift in the field and learned first-hand how to complete crash reports and assist the public. They also learned the administrative side of the job – filing reports, answering the phone, and performing general tasks that may be unfamiliar to many officers. On September 14, 2020, all members of CTC III-19 who left in March returned to the Academy for their final weeks of training with enhanced health and safety protocols. “We are all so proud of this class,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “These cadets faced the uncertainty of the pandemic with resolve and returned to the Academy energized about their new careers, benefiting from a wealth of real-life experience that no other cadets have had.” At the CHP Academy, cadet training starts with nobility in policing, leadership, professionalism and ethics, and cultural diversity. Training also includes mental illness response and crisis intervention techniques. Cadet instruction covers patrol operations, crash investigation, first aid, and the arrest of suspected violators, including those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The cadets also receive training in traffic control, report writing, recovery of stolen vehicles, assisting the motoring public, issuing citations, emergency scene management, and knowledge of various codes including the Vehicle Code, Penal Code, and Health and Safety Code. Upon graduation, the cadets are assigned to CHP Area offices throughout the state. The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

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Lamar Davis named Superintendent of Louisiana State Police

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Governor John Bel Edwards has named Lamar Davis as the Superintendent of Louisiana State Police. Davis made the announcement in an email to all of the Department of Public Safety at 10:30am. Doug Cain was named the Chief of Staff. Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on Lamar Davis' appointment. "Capt. Davis has led an exemplary career in law enforcement and has earned the respect of his colleagues. I am confident that he will continue to lead this agency with the utmost professionalism and highest standards in order to protect the public's safety," said Gov. Edwards. "He has accepted this position at a time when our state is facing many challenges including COVID-19, severe weather and the efforts necessary for recovery and rebuilding. I'm grateful that he and his family have agreed to serve the people of our great state, and I look forward to working with him." Friday marked Kevin Reeves last day at State Police. His retirement comes on the heels of a number of controversies exposed by the WBRZ Investigative Unit that Reeves has refused to explain. "Today, starts a new era within the Department of Public Safety," Davis said in an email to staff Friday. "I have learned that change is often difficult. But, sometimes it is the only way to move forward." Davis has been with DPS for 25 years. Captain Davis is from Baton Rouge and graduated from Southern University. He has a masters from SUNO. In a statement the Governor said, "Davis is a member of the U.S. Army who has served active duty and the Louisiana National Army Guard, he joined Louisiana State Police in 1998 and has extensive background in all aspects of law enforcement.His previous assignments include Highway Patrol, Criminal Intelligence, Gaming Enforcement, Criminal Investigations, Legislation, Research and Policy. Prior to being employed by Louisiana State Police, Lamar served as a Department of Public Safety Police Officer, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputy and a Louisiana Department of Corrections Officer. Captain Davis is married and they have one son."

11/3/2020

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Four year old made Honorary New Jersey State Trooper

A 4-year-old battling cancer was welcomed into the New Jersey State Police family as an honorary trooper. Sophia Colavito was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that has since spread to the lining of her brain and her spine, which caused her to lose sight in her right eye. She is an enthusiastic law enforcement supporter who collects police patches. When State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan heard Sophia's story, he immediately invited her to visit the division headquarters in West Trenton. Earlier this week, he was joined by Governor Phil Murphy and a contingent of police officials to welcome the family and surprise Sophia by officially making her an Honorary New Jersey State Trooper. The colonel spent time with Sophia and her family, leading them on a tour of the NJSP log cabin and Regional Operations Intelligence Center. "We were honored to host Sophia and her family today," the department wrote on Facebook. "She continues to inspire all of us in the State Police family. Now that she is officially an Honorary New Jersey State Trooper, she will forever remain a part of our family, because 'Once a Trooper, Always a Trooper.'" He also told Sophia how much her strength, courage and optimism have inspired him. 

You can see the video at: https://abc7ny.com/society/4-year-old-battling-cancer-becomes-honorary-nj-state-trooper/7182979/

 

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California Highway Patrol Appoints New Commissioner

Amanda Ray

Amanda Ray has served on the California Highway Patrol since 1990 and has donned eight uniformed ranks within the department. On Tuesday, she was named the first woman to lead the CHP as commissioner, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday. She will fill the role for Commissioner Warren Stanley, who is retiring Nov. 16. Ray, has served as cadet, officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, chief and assistant commissioner. She was also Special Response Team Tactical Commander at the California Highway Patrol for Superbowl 50 in 2016. "I would like to thank Governor Newsom for the outstanding opportunity to lead this great Department and to continue to work each day with the women and men of the California Highway Patrol," Ray said in a Tuesday statement. "I couldn't be more honored and proud to accept this appointment and further the CHP's mission of providing the highest level of Safety, Service and Security, and ensuring California is a safe place to live, work and travel." "I am confident that Deputy Commissioner Ray will be a crucial partner as we continue the important work ahead to strengthen community engagement in public safety and advance reforms to our criminal justice system that will help foster a more just and inclusive future for all Californian," Newsom wrote Tuesday. Stanley has been with the CHP since 1982 and has held every rank in the department, including Lieutenant of the Border Division Investigative Services Unit and Commander of the California Highway Patrol Academy. "I'm very proud of my career, but what I'm most proud of is the current and past CHP employees who I have had the privilege and honor to work with," Stanley said in a Tuesday statement. "All of you are the primary reason I believe the CHP is one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the world. I also want to thank Governor Newsom for his support of me, the 11,000 women and men of the CHP and for selecting Deputy Commissioner Amanda Ray as the next CHP Commissioner." During his service, Stanley worked on several highway and traffic safety initiatives, including the Impaired Driving Section, which revised enforcement policies consistent with the use of cannabis when it became legal. He also pushed for research on the drug to see how it affected the ability to drive. "As the leader of the fifth-largest law enforcement agency in the country, Commissioner Stanley championed causes to enhance public safety for everyone who travels on California's roads and freeways," Newsom wrote in a Tuesday statement. "We are grateful for his forward-looking vision and pursuit of innovative strategies to prevent injuries and save lives."

10/26/2020

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Nevada Highway Patrol Appoints First Woman to Lead the Department

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Anne Carpenter has been appointed colonel of the Nevada Department of Safety, Highway Patrol Division, making history as the first woman to hold the position. "I am humbled to be appointed Colonel of the Nevada Highway Patrol, and work alongside the men and women who have dedicated their lives to public safety," said Carpenter in a press release. "I look forward to working together with our partnering agencies and community members to ensure the safety and protection of every life on Nevada roadways." Carpenter will oversee 492 sworn officers and 96 non-sworn personnel, according to a press release. Her career with the DPS began in 1995. She rose through the ranks and served as an officer, sergeant and major.  She recently served as a chief and oversaw 330 sworn officers and 264 non-sworn personnel, according to a press release. The previous colonel, David Solow, announced his retirement earlier this month.

 

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Nevada Highway Patrol names newest K9 for slain trooper

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The agency said it will welcome Skipper, a 4-year-old German Short Haired Pointer, to the K9 team during a ceremony at the Department of Public Safety Headquarters. The name is meant to honor Sgt. Ben Jenkins, who was killed in the line of duty in March when he stopped to help an apparently stranded driver near Ely. NHP says Jenkins was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating, the last of which earned him the nickname "Skipper." Jenkins also worked as a K9 handler for a time while in the Highway Patrol, partnered with a Belgian Malinois named Thor. Skipper the K9 will officially take part in a graduation ceremony and brief demonstration on Thursday.

10/19/2020

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Ohio Turnpike Sign dedicated to Injured State Trooper

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A new Ohio Turnpike sign located at milepost 69.9 westbound in Wood County was dedicated to its namesake Tuesday morning at the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) Bowling Green Post. Rep. Haraz Ghanbari hosted the ceremony and honored OSHP Sgt. Frederick A. Raby, whose name is featured on the sign, for his bravery in a brush with death 30 years ago. "Just over thirty years ago, on Sept. 1, 1990, State Highway Patrol Sergeant Raby was critically injured in a traffic accident on the Ohio Turnpike near mile marker 70 in Wood County," Ghanbari described. "He was in his patrol car which was stopped behind a violator on the right berm with flashing lights in full operation. Another vehicle traveling at full speed drove off the roadway and struck his patrol vehicle from behind." Raby was life-flighted to the former Medical College of Ohio with severe head trauma, a broken neck, a broken hip and shoulder and leg injuries. "At one point the doctors gave him a five-percent chance of survival. But Fred was physically fit, an Army veteran and he had a strong will to live. He slowly improved and was transferred to a rehabilitation center in Howell, Michigan which specialized in traumatic brain injuries. He spent a year there and was then transferred to the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a longer-term TBI facility where he continued to receive care and therapy." The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission Memorial Sign Program has honored 12 people who perished on the job during services for the Ohio Turnpike and OSHP since 2018. Move Over Ohio requires all drivers to move over one lane while passing any roadside vehicle stopped with flashing or rotating lights.

 

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Fourth Generation New Jersey State Trooper sets a record and continues family legacy

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Article By William Westhoven reporter for the Dailyrecord.com

When the New Jersey State Police celebrates its centennial next spring, one young trooper will be able to trace his family's service in "the Outfit" all the way back to the Prohibition era.

Trooper Brian R. Turner, who graduated with the department's 160th class on Sept. 4, follows his father, William G. Turner, Jr., who enlisted in 1982 and retired in 2012 as a detective sergeant first class.

Father and son followed in the footsteps of Brian's grandfather, Capt. William G. Turner Sr., who joined up in 1958 and retired in 1987; and his great-grandfather, Sgt. John M. Turner, who hit the beat in 1930 and retired as the Netcong Station commander in 1957.

"It's pretty cool how there's four generations," the youngest Trooper Turner said. "I'm honored to wear the uniform and the fact that I had three generations ahead of me do it, it's neat."

Four consecutive family generations of State Police service is unprecedented in New Jersey, according to retired Lt. George J. Wren, Jr., vice president of the Association of Former New Jersey State Troopers, and editor of its True Blue & Gold newsletter.

The Turner ties to the department extend to another graduate of the 160th class: Brian’s first cousin, Trooper Michael A. Turner. They share the legacy of their paternal grandfather and great-grandfather.

"Troopers Brian and Michael Turner have 82 years of combined honor, duty and fidelity to live up to," Wren said. "I’m sure they will handle themselves in true Turner-State Police fashion."

The cousins also bunked together as 16-year-olds when they attended the New Jersey State Police 94th Trooper Youth Week training in 2013.

"That was a great time, to really get a feel for how a recruit lives for a week," Brian Turner said. "It was very similar to what the real deal is. You learn quick. I thought it was awesome. I wanted more."

Some seven years later on Sept. 4, he received badge No. 8535 in a ceremony at Arm & Hammer Stadium in Trenton. His cousin was given badge No. 8536. Most of their family and friends had to watch an online feed of the ceremony due to COVID-19 distancing restrictions.

"Each recruit got two tickets," said Brian Turner, who invited his mother and girlfriend. "I had a third because my dad was presenting me my badge."

"It was a little different with the coronavirus, so I wasn't actually able to give him his badge," said his father, William Turner Jr. He was able to walk on the field with Gov. Phil Murphy, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, and Col. Patrick Callahan, the state police superintendent. "The colonel and I saluted Brian when his name was announced, and that took the place of giving him his badge," William Turner said.

It was a special moment for the entire family.

"We're extremely happy and proud," said William Turner. "It's not like we planned this. It just happened. You just wake up in the morning and shake your head. It's unbelievable."

Brian Turner said he was not pushed into uniform, but he's proud to carry on the family tradition, along with his brother, William Turner III, a five-year veteran of the Roxbury Police Department.

"Growing up, I was just always around the blue and gold," he said. "I applied to a bunch of local departments and they didn't work out. Then I had the opportunity with the State Police, and my dad was beyond excited. It's funny how things worked out."

Brian Turner "is now carrying on the tradition and legacy that his great-grandfather, Sgt. John M. Turner, began 90 years ago and 7,962 troopers later,” Callahan said.

A Blairstown resident, Turner is a 2014 graduate of North Warren High School and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting and business management from East Stroudsburg University. He later served as a football coach at North Warren.

Having completed two weeks of post-graduate training, Turner took his first shift out of the Somerville Station on Saturday.

"It was awesome," he said Wednesday. "I couldn't wait to get back in."

As a rookie trooper, Turner said he is sticking to the best piece of career advice his father gave him: "Be a sponge."

"Pay attention," his father told him. "It's not your time to talk. It's your time to listen."

His grandfather's advice?

"He was always big on hard work and being dedicated, basically the State Police values, having honor and carrying yourself with integrity," Brian Turner said of his grandfather, who died in 2012. "It's kind of a ripple effect in my family. It got passed down from my great-grandfather to my grandfather to my father, and now to my brother, sister and I."

“While I hope that somewhere down the line there is a fifth-generation trooper in the Turner family lineage," Callahan said, "it is my hope that a new legacy began on Sept. 4, 2020 when a first-generation New Jersey State Trooper graduated from the 160th class and will be the great-grandmother or great grandfather of a New Jersey State Trooper 90 years from now."

10/5/2020

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Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Loses Fight to COVID-19

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The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is deeply saddened to announce the passing of active duty Captain Jeffery W. Sewell #26. Captain Sewell had been hospitalized since September 5 due to COVID-19. He passed away at Texoma Medical Center in Denison, Texas on September 26. The Texas Department of Public Safety escorted Captain Sewell home to Atoka on September 27.

Captain Sewell was a graduate of the 43rd Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy in 1988, beginning his career as a trooper in Troop H, Clinton. In 1989, he was transferred to Troop E, Durant, spending 10 years there and being promoted to Lieutenant in 1999. In 2006, he promoted to Captain in Troop F, Ardmore, and continued his service as a Captain in Troop D, McAlester, Troop E, Durant and Troop XC, Indian Nation Turnpike, McAlester. In the summer of 2020, he began assignment as Captain of the Officer Assistance Program.

During his career, he participated in numerous additional duty opportunities such as the Police Corp in 2004, Emergency Response Team, DARE, TAC Supervisor of the 55th Academy, Special Olympics, Polar Plunge and Tip-A-Cop. He was involved in many other community projects and organizations. However, his greatest passion was his annual participation with Cadet Lawman, a week long summer camp that gives selected high school seniors-to-be a first-hand taste of what it takes to be a trooper. He was able to use his influence and leadership skills on the thousands of teenagers that participated over the years. Captain Jeffery W. Sewell was a friend to anyone that knew him and will be greatly missed.

9/30/2020

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State Trooper Rushes into Burning house to help residents escape

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An Indiana State Police trooper was alerted by a passing driver that a nearby home was on fire on Saturday night. Around 10 p.m. on September 12, Master Trooper Mick Dockery was at a traffic stop near Edison Road and Crestwood Boulevard in South Bend when another driver told him that a house was on fire down the street. The trooper left the traffic stop and went to the home in the 3000 block of Edison Road. The east side of the house and garage were fully engulfed in flames, according to ISP. Dockery ran to the front door of the house and saw a man trying to open the front storm door but he wasn’t able to. Dockery forced the door open so he could get the man out but the man disappeared back into the house yelling he needed to get his dog out, ISP said. According to ISP, Dockery then noticed a woman who appeared disoriented in the front room, so he went in and dragged her from the home. Dockery yelled for the man to leave the home and a short time later, the man came outside and was soon followed by a German Shepherd. ISP did not say what caused the fire or if any injuries were sustained to the home’s occupants. Dockery was later cleared at a local hospital.

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Washington State Patrol Marks 100th year

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As of Tuesday, Washington State Patrol will be in their 100th year of service to the state of Washington. WSP's history traces all the way back to June 1921, when Washington lawmakers agreed to create a new state agency that primarily worked on traffic enforcement. When a decision was reached, 16 men were given three days of training, and on September 1, 1921 were sworn in as the first WSP patrolmen, though back then they were called the Washington Highway Patrol. In the early days of the agency, those officers looked a lot different than they do now. For one, they had no uniform: instead they were given just a badge and a Highway Patrol armband. They also didn't drive patrol cars but were instead assigned WWI surplus Indian motorcycles. Officers would be deployed all across the state, sometimes alone, and would often have to carry camping gear in their motorcycle side-cars for longer deployments. In some cases, deployment could last for months. Trooper Vernon Forth was the first WSP trooper to die in the line of duty, killed on September 30, 1923 when he was hit by another officer's motorcycle while on the way to the Lynden Fair. In the early days of the agency, there were more horses than cars on the road, and less than a thousand miles of paved road in all of Washington state. WSP says the officers spent most of their time enforcing the speed limit (a new, and at the time controversial regulation), but also would be called to respond to forest fires. Eventually, in 1924 the officers were issued uniforms, but it would be almost two decades before they were given actual patrol cars. Also different at the time was the badges the troopers wore. From 1921 to 1927 troopers wore a silver, shield shaped badge somewhat similar to a firefighters crest, before adopting the six-pointed star badge that troopers wear today. In honor of WSP's 100th year, troopers have been authorized to wear the classic "Centennial Badge" once again. The patrol says they'll also be using their hundredth year to look back at all the troopers who have been killed in the line of duty— taking time to remember the lost troopers on the anniversary of their deaths. WSP says the first anniversary memorial will be September 3 for Trooper Gene Bolstamd who died attempting to save a drowning teenager in Long Beach on September 3, 1957. To date, 30 WSP troopers have died on the job.

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Off duty trooper helps choking infant and mom

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An emotional Ben Horton reflected on an incident that could have changed his family forever if not for the quick response of an off-duty police officer. “I don’t know what I would do without my daughter in my life. I [have] only known her for seven weeks, but I can’t remember what my life was like before she entered the world,” the Taneytown resident said in an interview. “My family is my everything.” Horton’s wife, Terria Lemaster, said she was driving on Baltimore Street in Taneytown on Aug. 19 when she looked into the car’s baby mirror. It gave her a clear view of their baby, Ivy-Jade. It was a sight she will not soon forget. “I looked back, and she was completely red,” Lemaster said. “I pulled over as fast as I could, took her to the sidewalk, and turned her over. She wasn’t breathing and it looked like she was choking on thick mucus.” Lemaster stopped, her voice filled with emotion. “She is my first baby, so it was hard,” she said. “I wasn’t looking for help; I was just trying to get her airway clear. In the middle of all that, this woman pulled over, and then a man pulled over, too. “The woman asked, ‘Do you need help? I’m an off-duty state trooper,’ ” Lemaster said, and then she handed over her 6-week-old baby. Trooper 1st Class Amber Cerreto is a 10-year veteran of the Maryland State Police. “The first thing I noticed was where she was pulled over,” Cerreto said. “On that part of the roadway vehicles aren’t normally in the travel portion. Then I saw Lemaster at the rear of her vehicle and she appeared to be in distress.” Cerreto said she didn’t hesitate. “I swore an oath to protect and defend the citizens of Maryland — and anywhere else if I am able, whether or not I am on duty,” she said. Lemaster watched as Cerreto flipped Ivy-Jade over and began to lightly pound on her back. “She knew exactly how to get a baby breathing,” Lemaster said. “Afterward, she talked to me. She told me, ‘Don’t be afraid to do this.’ She was so nice.” Cerreto said was trained in infant CPR in 2010. She recently recertified during a biannual update with the Maryland State Police. This was the first time she had to use what she learned on an infant. Infants are so small and delicate that you have to be deliberate with the back thrusts using the palm of your hand,” she said. “In addition, instead of using two hands as you would with an adult or adolescent you would use two fingers to complete the compressions.” Cerreto said Lemaster had a look of relief on her face as she watched her daughter take in fresh air. “It was almost as though she herself could breathe again,” Cerreto said. “This is why I continue to serve the State of Maryland as a trooper. I happen to be in the right place at the right time, and I will not stop in my continued effort to protect as many people as I can. I am relieved that I was able to help both of them and grateful that Lemaster allowed me to assist.” Lemaster explained how she had stayed calm and focused during the event, but afterward, she said, she was “a mess.” “I had to call Ben and ask him to leave work,” she said. Horton found the missed call from his wife on his lunch break. “I called her back, and she was distraught, crying and telling me all about Ivy-Jade, how she [had] stopped breathing while she was driving home and how an off-duty state trooper had assisted her and saved Ivy. I felt a mixture of emotions, so helpless that I wasn’t able to be there when my child needed help, and grateful that Amber was there to help my wife and baby, concerned that there is definitely something wrong with my daughter and that she needed to go to the doctor, concerned for my wife’s mental fortitude after the events of the day, and relieved that everyone was alive.”It was not long until the two were headed to the doctor with Ivy-Jade. That’s where they learned their little girl has acid reflux. “They said [the choking] is a panic response, because their airways are so tiny it can go up their nose,” Lemaster said. “She had already been having some sinus issues, so, for her, it was a mucus that got stuck.” After it was all over, Lemaster realized she hadn’t gotten the names of either person who stopped to help, so she took to the Taneytown Neighborhood group page on Facebook, posting: “To the man and woman who stopped while I was panicking on the side of the road with a choking 6-week-old, thank you for getting her to breathe correctly and teaching me CPR for a child. I can never thank you enough!” Cerreto saw the post and responded, “I’m glad to hear your daughter is better. Sorry we met in circumstances like this, but I’m happy to hear she is better now. Learn that CPR!” Lemaster said she is almost grateful it happened, because she now knows what to do if it happens again. She said she is eternally grateful to the two people who stopped to help and is still hoping the man who stopped will also see her Facebook post, so she can thank him. She said she will never forget how Cerreto saved Ivy-Jade’s life. Cerreto had a message for the entire family: “I hope your baby girl continues to grow up — into a strong woman one day. Thank you for allowing me to help you. And to Ivy-Jade — you are stronger than you know, even at 6 weeks. Keep it up!”

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