New Jersey's "Slow Down or Move Over" Act honoring deceased state trooper

NJ Move Over Act

This Monday, Governor Murphy signed the "Slow Down or More Over, It's the Law Act" sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey in effort to strengthen the protections provided by the "Move Over Law" for emergency workers on New Jersey roads.  The "Move Over Law" was created in response to the tragic death of Trooper Marc Castellano, who was struck and killed by a driver who failed to move over for Castellano's service vehicle.  Under the law, motorists must reduce speed and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle, tow or highway maintenance truck, and emergency or sanitation service vehicle that has its flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights on.  "Violators of the 'Move Over Law' are putting police officers and other emergency personnel at serious risk of injury or death," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth).  "We've been humbled to fight for this bill alongside Trooper Castellano's mother, Donna Setaro. Donna fought hard to pass the original 'Move Over Law' in the wake of her son's death, and we hope that this legislation will help make sure that no other parent has to endure the same loss.  I'm grateful to all of the law enforcement officers and families who have supported our efforts to pass this legislation, and we're so proud to finally see it become law."  Under existing law, a driver who fails to slow down or move over for an emergency vehicle or maintenance truck that has its emergency lights on would be subject to a fine between $100 and $500.  Under the new law (A-3890), if a driver is convicted of this offense three or more times in a single year, they will incur two motor vehicle points on their driver's license.  Accumulating points may result in additional penalties, including surcharges and license suspension. Since Trooper Castellano's passing, four Manchester Township Police Officers were struck on State Highway 37, and a Brick Township Police Officer's patrol car was hit while an officer was inside the vehicle.  Both incidents were the result of drivers failing to move over.  "As the daughter of a retired State Trooper, I know the dangers that our state's law enforcement officers face every day," said Downey (D-Monmouth).  "Even something as simple as a traffic stop or standard emergency response can turn deadly if a driver is ignoring the laws or failing to pay attention.  That's why our bill gives the 'Move Over Law' new teeth, with a goal of preventing future tragedies and making clear that this is not an issue that New Jersey takes lightly."  "Too many drivers either don't know about the Move Over Law or simply don't adhere to it," said Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), a sponsor of the bill in the Senate.  "By increasing the penalty for violating this important traffic law, we hope to encourage drivers to slow down or move over when passing emergency or maintenance vehicles.  When drivers do so, they may be saving a life."  The law also calls for the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety to conduct a public awareness campaign to inform drivers of the increased penalty.  The law will take effect on September 1, 2020.

1/22/20

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New Leadership for Alaska State Troopers

Alaskas New Colonel February 2020

The Alaska State Troopers passed the division's leadership torch to newly promoted Colonel Bryan Barlow, Thursday, January 16.  Like preceding Director Colonel Barry Wilson – who hung up his Stetson yesterday after 30 years of service – Colonel Barlow is a longtime Alaska State Trooper and lifelong Alaskan who knows his way around the state.  "I am thankful for all of those who have come before us and worked tirelessly to bring us to where we are," Colonel Barlow said, thanking now retired Colonel Wilson for his dedicated service and urging the division to "continue forward with optimism, resolve, commitment, and thankfulness."  Colonel Barlow began his career with the Alaska State Troopers in 1999 and has patrolled in Fairbanks, Ninilchik, Ketchikan, and Girdwood, as well as Interior villages.  Over the years, he has supervised the Criminal Intelligence Unit, DPS Recruitment, Office of Professional Standards, and the DPS Aircraft Section.  He's also held the duties of Department Pilot, Special Emergency Reaction Team member, Firearms Instructor, Crisis Negotiator, and Ethics Instructor.  In October 2017, Colonel Barlow joined the Troopers' Director’s Office as a Major.

1/21/20

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Maine State Police Dash Cam Video shows Semi-Truck Crash

 Maine video of tractor trailer

In advance of an upcoming snow storm, Maine State Police urged caution to winter drivers with a dashcam video of a scary accident involving a wintry highway and a tractor trailer.  Amazingly, no one was hurt in the December 2019 accident that appears about :58 into the video that was shared on the Maine State Police Facebook page.  The tractor trailer was moving along with traffic when, all of a sudden, it veered across the interstate.  Trooper Jesse Duda was traveling a short distance behind the truck, on his way to help another motorist, that was off the road. Police remind drivers to use caution in wintery conditions.  Take it slow, be in control of your vehicle, avoid any distractions, and don't tailgate, giving yourself plenty of time to stop.  And, if staying off the roads is a possibility, enjoy a snow day at home.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHM72c5Oolk&feature=youtu.be

1/17/20

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Illinois State Police honor fallen trooper with "Operation Lambert"

ISP Trooper Killed in Line of Duty January 2019

It has been a year since Trooper Christopher Lambert was fatally hit and struck, while handling a crash on Interstate 294 near Chicago. To honor his memory, legacy of courage, and honor and duty, The Illinois State Police have begun a special enforcement, to help people learn more about the Move Over (Scott's) Law. 27 stationary Illinois State Police squad cars were struck by vehicles and drivers in 2019 that violated Scott's Law; two crashes resulted in death of ISP Troopers. That is higher than the number of all ISP crashes of this sort that happened in 2016, 2017, and 2018. “In one of his final acts, Trooper Christopher Lambert placed himself and his squad car between the public and danger. This act of courage is a testament to his noble character and embodies the true mission of ISP, to serve with integrity and pride. We will continue to honor Trooper Lambert’s legacy, and we ask the public to join our efforts. Slow down and, if possible, move over if you see a police or other emergency vehicles stopped along the roadway," said ISP Director Brendan Kelly. It will cost you no less than $250 for a first offense of Scott's Law, and no less than $750 for a repeat offense. If the violation results in property damage, your driver's license will be suspended between three to 12 months. If the violation results in injury, your driver's license will be suspended between six months and two years. The Move Over (Scott’s) Law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching stationary emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles displaying flashing lights, and any stationary vehicle with their hazard lights activated. The law also states, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe, drivers are required to proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle and leave a safe distance until safely passing the stationary vehicle.

1/15/20

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Road renamed in honor of fallen Delaware State Police trooper

Road named for fallen Delware trooper

The road leading to Delaware State Police Troop 2 in Glasgow now bears the name of a trooper who died serving his community. LaGrange Avenue, located off U.S. 40 across from Glasgow Park, was renamed Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard Way during a ceremony Thursday morning. “With this naming, nobody will forget Stephen’s name,” Gov. John Carney said during a ceremony at Troop 2 that was attended by Ballard’s family, police officers from several agencies and a number of elected officials. “When we all pass away, and we all going to pass away at some point, his name and his memory will live on.” Ballard, 32, was killed in April 2017 when a suspect opened fire on him in the parking lot of a Wawa in Bear. He was in his ninth year working as a trooper. “Stephen was committed to staying connected with the community,” said Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr., superintendent of Delaware State Police. “He had a true heart of a servant. If he were here today, his smile would light up the room.” State Rep. Earl Jaques said that after Ballard’s death, constituents asked him to find a way to honor the fallen trooper. After considering other options, he decided to spearhead an effort to rename the road. “We are remembering him and his sacrifice and reminding everyone who travels on that road about him,” Jaques said. “Future generations of troopers, students attending Keene Elementary and residents working out at the YMCA will turn on to Cpl. Ballard Way and hopefully remember him and the sacrifices all our law enforcement make each and every day.” Ballard’s widow, Louise Cummings, noted that it’s fitting that the renaming of the road also changes the address of Keene Elementary. Ballard often volunteered at the school, located just a short walk from Troop 2. “I just think about the children and all the people that Stephen inspired when he would go to the schools and have breakfast with the kids and he would talk to me about this one child, who he helped him fix his notebook and the kid was frustrated and irritated at first but eventually came around and said, ‘Thank you for caring about what was in my backpack because nobody ever checks,’” Cummings said. Cummings attended the ceremony with several Keene students who are part of the Ballard’s Reading Buddies program that was founded after his death. Ballard’s mother, Robin, said the renaming is a tribute to all fallen troopers. “Stephen’s name may be there, but he represents them all,” she said.

1/13/20

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Handwritten message to state trooper: 'Stay Safe'

NYSP Stay Safe

The simplest gesture can leave the biggest impression.  And that's exactly what happened Thursday in the Albany area, when a worker wrote "Stay Safe" on a coffee order for a New York State Police trooper.  A picture of the cup was later posted to the New York State Police Facebook page, with the caption "On a difficult day for the New York State Police, these two words penned on a cup of coffee, are so greatly appreciated.  To the author, we got your message, thank you."  The act of kindness came on the same day law enforcers from across the state gathered in Massachusetts for a funeral mass for retired trooper Ryan Fortini.  He died on New Year's Day from cancer related to his recovery work at Ground Zero following the September 11th attacks. Fortini was 42 years-old.

1/10/20

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Michigan State Police trooper used AED to revive unconscious man

MSP Trooper uses AED

A Michigan State Police trooper’s heroic actions likely saved a man’s life in Northern Michigan.  The incident occurred when trooper Ryan Zamarron of the MSP Gaylord Post was working in Emmet County when he responded to a dispatch call of an unresponsive man at the D&W Fresh Market located at 1163 N US-31 Hwy in Petoskey just before 10 p.m. on Dec. 21.  Upon arrival, Zamarron found an employee attempting CPR on the subject, a 40-year-old man from Charlevoix.  Quickly, Zamarron connected an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the man while the employee continued CPR. A shock was advised and delivered, according to police.  Zamarron then took over CPR and continued until the AED advised to shock again.  Further EMS help soon arrived, and a pulse was obtained.  The man was transported to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital for further treatment.  He was reported to be in stable condition, police said.

1/10/20

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AAST Partners with Thin Blue Line USA

Enough is Enough car sticker

 

AAST Partners with Thin Blue Line USA

Thin Blue Line USA, thinbluelineusa.com approached ASST to partner to bring awareness to the continuing devastation affecting Americas troopers on the side of the road.  They are launching a sticker campaign to help raise awareness to our troopers being hit, injured, and killed on the side of the road.  ENOUGH is ENOUGH Be Alert Move Over.  Stickers can be purchased on their website with a percentage of proceeds being donated to the AAST Foundation.

AAST fully supports this worthwhile endeavor to bring awareness to one of the most dangerous aspects of our job!  Mason Dixon Polling also supports this awareness as they indicate in a National poll shows strong support (89%) for Move Over laws.  Despite laws in all 50 states, 30% of Americans are unaware their state has them and 67% aren’t aware of the branded phase Move Over.

 

Thin Blue LIne USA

 

1/7/20

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What Cops Need to Tell Their Families About Active Shooters

Your hard-earned knowledge about active shooter events may help to prevent your loved ones from becoming victims

I was at the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) annual conference when I overheard attendees discussing the active shooter attack that had just happened hours before at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.  Although it had been less than eight hours since the attack, many of the assembled officers were from the region and were already getting information about the shooting that killed 12 people, including Sergeant Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.  Several officers indicated they were frequent patrons of Borderline and knew the staff and crowd well.  One officer said a daughter of a fellow officer worked at the bar.  Yet another officer said his adult children had planned to visit the club that evening, but changed their plans when they were invited to a party at a friend’s home, instead.

CLOSE TO HOME

A forensics team works the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on "college night," wounding 11 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The shooting was a grim reminder to everyone present that these attacks don’t just happen to other people.  Law enforcement officers typically deal with situations where they have no connection to the victim, so it’s unusual to have friends and family directly involved.

However, your loved ones are not immune to the jeopardy created by the broken and evil people around us.  Sadly, your badges will not shield your family and friends from attack, but your hard-earned knowledge about active shooter events may help to prevent them from becoming a victim.  As law enforcement officers, you understand violence and the dynamics of active shooter situations better than anyone else, so you need to share some of this knowledge with those you love to enhance their chance of survival if they are caught in one of these attacks.

TIPS TO ENHANCE SURVIVAL DURING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER ATTACK

Some of the things to share, on an age-appropriate basis, include the following:

Maintain situational awareness. Poor situational awareness makes it difficult to identify threats and respond to them in a timely manner.  Encourage your friends and loved ones to keep their noses out of their phones when they’re in public, and look around.  Help them to develop the habit of scanning the area around them, watch what people are doing and be mindful of changes to their environment.  Teach them to look for people and things that don’t belong, or don’t follow the pattern.  Most of the public couldn’t tell you what’s happening beyond six inches from their nose … don’t let friends and family become one of these zombies.

Know where the exits are. Teach your friends and family to make a habit of identifying ways to get out of whatever space they find themselves in.  Look for doors, stairs and service entrances.  Look for things that can be used to smash through windows – or even walls – to create an exit where none exists.  Identify the obstacles and chokepoints that could prevent you from getting out when a crowd rushes that way in a panic.  Figure out the exit that most people will probably flock to, and then locate one opposite of that location.  Have a plan for getting out, and have a backup plan in case that one doesn’t work.

Get off the floor. Hitting the deck during the initial moments of an attack might make a lot of sense and prevent you from getting hit by gunfire, but it might be a bad place to stay in the long run.  Every situation is different, but in many cases, staying on the floor will only lead to you being trampled by the crowd or targeted by an attacker that’s moving faster than you.  If you’re on the floor, try to get out of the traffic flow, and move to a place where the attacker can’t see you (concealment), or where you have the physical protection (cover) necessary to get up and run.  You want to spend as little time in the target area as possible, so don’t freeze in place on the ground.  It might make sense to stay still in some situations, but in most cases, your odds of survival will improve if you get out of there quickly.  A moving target is hard to hit – especially one running away at an oblique angle – but a slow-moving or stationary target on the floor is easy work for an attacker.

Don’t volunteer to be deaf and blind. Anything that interrupts normal hearing or vision can make it difficult to sense danger and take appropriate measures.  For example, loud music can mask the sound of gunfire, and dark rooms can hide the presence of a threat and make it hard to find the exits.  If your friends and family are going to hang out in loud and dark places, they need to make up for the sensory loss in other ways.  Scan the crowd more frequently, know how many exit rows you have to touch before you’re near the door, hang out near the exit, bring a good flashlight – find ways to make up for your loss of vision and hearing.

Limit alcohol consumption in public. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink with friends and family and it’s an important part of the entertainment experience for many people.  However, drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication while you’re in public is dangerous for your personal safety.  If your senses, thinking and coordination are dulled by too much alcohol, you’ll be in no shape to detect threats, or to save yourself or any of the people you are with.  If you plan on drinking a lot, do it in the safety of your home – not out in the ocean, where all the sharks are swimming about.

Have a plan. Friends and family should understand what they’re expected to do if they get caught in an active shooter situation.  First, they should break the freeze and get moving to safety.  In some cases, they may need to fight, and should be mentally ready to do so.  Have them think about and discuss an offsite rendezvous point (something outside of the immediate area – away from the Hot Zone) for the group if they get separated.  Teach them if they get out, to stay out, and to not go back inside looking for someone.

Be careful with your communication devices. Encourage friends and family to keep a charged cell phone on their person.  Off-body carry (i.e., in a purse, in the console of a car) is not recommended, because it’s too easy to get separated from the phone – put it in a pocket so that it’s there if you have to run.  Discuss the critical information 911 needs to know when reporting an emergency, and have them practice making a good call with the right elements of information.  Ensure youngsters know how to operate a traditional, wired phone (no, I’m not joking).  Encourage loved ones to memorize essential phone numbers, so they can call family from someone else’s phone.

Know how to act when the police arrive. Friends and family must understand how to act when the police arrive to ensure their safety.  Teach them the importance of following commands, avoiding furtive movements and keeping their hands off of responders.  Teach them that the first responding officers are trained to bypass the wounded and put the shooter down first, before giving aid or evacuating victims.  Teach them how to communicate the essentials to responding officers – description, weapons, location, and direction of the suspect’s movement.

Learn first aid basics. Teach friends and family how to stop bleeding, how to put someone in the recovery position and how to move a wounded victim.  Teach them about the best locations in the area to transport a wounded victim for treatment.

Be prepared. Most important, have them take the threat seriously.  The shock and stress of an attack like this can lead an unprepared mind to panic and freeze.  Teach your loved ones that these events are survivable, even if they are wounded, if they keep their head and make good decisions.  Teach them “tactical breathing” or other skills that will help to calm them down, and gain control of emotions so they can think and act. Ignoring the threat won’t make it go away, and will only set them up for failure if they’re unlucky enough to get caught in one of these situations.

CONCLUSION

None of us wants to discover that a friend or family member has been involved in one of these attacks, but it would be even worse for us if they were hurt because we failed to tell them what they needed to know to survive.

Take the time today to discuss these awful realities with those you love.  It won’t be a fun conversation, but it may be a lifesaving one.

Be safe out there, and pray for Sergeant Helus, his family, and his fellow officers and co-workers.

 

About the author

Mike Wood is the son of a 30-year California Highway Patrolman and the author of “Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis,” the highly-acclaimed study of the 1970 California Highway Patrol gunfight in Newhall, California. Mike is an Honor Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a graduate of the US Army Airborne School, and a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with over 26 years of service. He’s a National Rifle Association (NRA) Law Enforcement Division-certified firearms instructor, serves as a member of the PoliceOne Editorial Advisory Board, and has written the “Tactical Analysis” column at PoliceOne.com since 2014. Mike is the senior editor at RevolverGuy.com, and has been a featured guest on the Excellence In Training Academy and American Warrior Society podcasts, as well as several radio and television programs. He’s grateful for the opportunity to serve and learn from the men and women of law enforcement.

Article published by Police One Tactical Analysis column November 2019

 

1/7/20

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Texas Highway Patrol trooper hit by truck in multi-vehicle pile up

Texas Trooper almost hit by semi

It was a routine accident scene Friday afternoon, December 27, where first responders worked to clear a crash on a foggy west Texas highway.   In the blink of an eye, that accident scene turned much more gruesome as an 18-wheeler appears, barreling into cars before sliding onto its side and injuring a state trooper.  The crash was caught on camera by a television news photographer from KCBD-TV.  The Texas Dept. of Public Safety trooper is seen running for safety as the trailer crushes the cab of an F-150.  The trooper and an occupant in the pickup were both taken to a hospital.  Both are expected to survive.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.wvlt.tv/content/news/DPS-trooper-struck-by-semi-driver-extracted-from-pickup-in-multi-car-pileup-in-Texas-566522361.html?jwsource=cl

1/6/20

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Dr. Tareyn Morris - Paying it forward!

Dr. Morris facebook post

Dr. Morris who is the daughter of Ret Lt. Sammy Morris, TXDPS and Gwen Morris, has stepped up and said thank you to the American Association of State Troopers Foundation.  As you read a letter from Dr. Morris below you will see her appreciation for our scholarship foundation.  As Dr. Morris works toward achieving her dream, she still had the time to think of the Foundation and give back.  This is truly an example of what being a trooper family is all about!  

We challenge all of our trooper family and friends to step up and support the foundation on behalf of our dependent children seeking higher education.  As of 2019, The foundation has awarded 3,963 scholarships totaling nearly 2.9 million dollars.  It’s through generous support like Dr. Morris’ that we are able to continue this worthwhile program.  

Dr. Morrris Letter

1/3/20

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69-vehicle chain reaction crash in York County, Virginia

VSP 69 car wreck

The Virginia State Police has updated the number of vehicles involved in a crash Sunday morning, December 22, near mile maker 239 on Interstate 64 in York County. Authorities said the 69-vehicle chain reaction crash resulted in 51 people injured – they were taken to area hospitals. Two of those people are being treated for “life-threatening injuries,” said Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. Authorities said 11 people suffered serious injuries; the rest were minor. The State Police in an earlier report said there were 35 vehicles involved – the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office reported earlier that more than 45 vehicles were involved in the wreck. Authorities said the report came in at around 7:51 a.m. in the area of I-64 eastbound near the Queens Creek Overpass near the Camp Peary exit. Anaya said the cause of the chain reaction crash remains unknown, but noted fog and ice on the Queens Creek bridge were factors in the crash. A widening project is ongoing at the site of the wreck. It’s unclear whether the incident caused damage to the bridge.

12/30/19

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Texas Highway Patrol trooper prays with couple

Texas trooper prays with couple

Texas trooper prays with couple

A photo of a Texas state trooper praying with a man who lost his brother has gone viral.  Lanell McGee James shared the photo on her Facebook page on Tuesday.  She said she and her husband were traveling to Dallas on Sunday when they were pulled over by a state trooper for a non-speeding violation.  The officer, who James identified as Trooper Bates, asked where they were heading.  She told him they were going to Dallas due to the unexpected passing of her husband’s brother.  “He said, ‘Oh I’m sorry to hear that, do you know where he is?'” James told FOX 8.  “My husband answered ‘Yes, at the morgue’ and the officer responded ‘ No. He is now in his heavenly home.'”  Then, the officer reportedly asked for her ID and returned to his vehicle.  James said he came back to their car with a warning and asked if he could pray with them.  “He removed his hat, asked to hold our hands and he prayed with us.  I have never had this happen before but it was everything that we needed in that moment,” she explained.  James says she and her husband were both moved to tears.  In fact, they were so touched by the gesture that she had to capture a photo of it.  “With so much going on nowadays, with police killing people and people killing the police, as well as racial tensions, I felt compelled to share this picture,” James said when she shared the photo with FOX 8.  The couple wants to thank Trooper Bates for praying with them and everyone else for the “abundance of love and positive messages” they have received since sharing the photo.

12/20/19

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Kansas Highway Patrol troopers have fun with kids during snowstorm

 Kansas HP trooper play in snow

The Kansas State Highway Patrol was called out to hundreds of calls Sunday and Monday as a winter storm dumped more than 8 inches of snow in parts of the Sunflower State. But that didn’t stop state troopers from having a little fun.  Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Chad Crittenden shared a video of Trooper Mueller and Trooper Schnieder stopping Monday to sled with children between calls.  Who says Troopers can’t have a little fun?  Trooper Mueller and Schnieder stopped to sled with some kids between calls today.  The post has gone viral with many people commenting about how cool it was to see the troopers engaging with kids and, most importantly, having fun!

To watch video, go to:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1206778816905011200

12/20/19

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Corporal honored as Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year

FHP Trooper of the Year 2019

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet recently passed a resolution recognizing Indian American Corporal Mithil Patel as the 2019 Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year, according to a report by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  The award recognizes a member of the Florida Highway Patrol for their courage, service, and protection, to ensure the safety and welfare of Floridians and visitors.  “I am proud to serve with dedicated troopers like Corporal Mithil Patel, who selflessly and courageously put himself in harm’s way to save an innocent bystander,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, according to the report.  “His actions demonstrate the dedication and professionalism of our FHP troopers, who put their lives on the line every day to protect the residents and visitors of our great state.”  Last year, Corporal Patel was conducting a crash investigation on I-95 and began interviewing an individual when another vehicle spun out of control and came barreling towards them, the report said, adding: “Without hesitation, Patel pushed the civilian out of the way of the incoming vehicle. Due to Corporal Patel’s quick response, the vehicle missed the civilian, but unfortunately hit Patel, propelling him into the air.  Corporal Patel spent nine months recovering from his injuries before returning to full duty.

12/18/19

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