Delaware State Police Divisional Headquarters, Dover – The Delaware State Police proudly announces its new Superintendent, Colonel Melissa A. Zebley, appointed by Governor John Carney, today, July 9, 2020.
Lieutenant Colonel Zebley is a 28-year member of the Division and was appointed as a trooper in July of 1992. Upon completion of her academy training, she was assigned to Troop 6, Prices Corner. In September 1997 she was transferred to the academy as a Drill Instructor. She served that function until December 2001. In April 2002 Zebley was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was assigned to Troop 1, Penny Hill. She served as a patrol supervisor until October 2005 when she was transferred to the Public Information Office and later assumed the role of Director. In February 2007 she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and assigned to Headquarters as the Fiscal Officer for the Division. In April 2009 she was transferred to Troop 2 near Glasgow where she was in charge of patrol operations for the troop. In August 2009 Zebley was promoted to Captain and was transferred to Troop 1 as the Commander. In September 2010, she was promoted to Major and served on the Executive Staff as the Administrative Officer and the New Castle County Operations Officer. In August 2019, Major Zebley was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, appointed by the Superintendent, Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr. She will take command of the Delaware State Police on Monday, July 13, 2020 serving as the agency’s 26th Superintendent.
In 1991, Lieutenant Colonel Zebley graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science Degree. She also graduated from the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command in 2000. She continued her education and earned a Master of Science Degree in 2003 from Wilmington University. Colonel Zebley is a 2008 graduate of the 235th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) National Academy. In addition, she has been a Wilmington University adjunct instructor and a program assistant for the Criminal Justice Program. She has organized the annual Women in Criminal Justice Leadership Conference since its inception in 2005.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as the 26th Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. I thank Governor Carney and Acting Secretary Chandler for their faith in me to lead this division of professional and dedicated members. I pledge to serve with the dignity and honor befitting the high standards of the agency,” Lieutenant Colonel Zebley said. “The Delaware State Police remain steadfast in our mission of service to all citizens and will continue on our course of community collaboration and progressive policing.”
“Lieutenant Colonel Zebley has served the Delaware State Police and the citizens of the state of Delaware with distinction.” Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr. said. “She has served as a member of the Executive Staff for the last nine and one half years, and she will continue to build on the foundation and the rich history of the Delaware State Police as she guides the agency forward.”
Presented By Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Melissa Jaffe
Best Looking Cruiser Contest
It’s that time of year again that everyone here at AAST looks forward to! It is time to cast your vote for the best-looking cruiser contest.
This is the seventh year that we have held the Best-Looking Cruiser contest. In the seven years on the contest we have had photo submissions that highlighted different aspects of the state agencies alongside their cruiser; some have included K-9s, motorcycles, helicopters, and other fleet vehicles. While the contest is about the cruiser state agencies never disappoint with their choice of creative backgrounds that highlight different aspects of their state.
Thank you to all of the State Agencies that have participated throughout the years! Please VOTE for your favorite cruiser by clicking on "Vote Now" below.
We would also like to thank Tremco Vehicle Anti-Theft Systems, Sig Sauer, and Federal Signal for your continued sponsorship.
For the first time ever, Maryland State Police trooper candidates took their oath in a graduation ceremony that was socially-distant, not open to families and live-streamed on social media, due to continuing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With just the Superintendent, bureau chiefs and Training Academy staff looking on from an appropriate distance away, the graduates of the Maryland State Police 151st Trooper Candidate Class raised their right hands and took an oath to serve and protect the people of Maryland as they officially became state troopers. The ceremony was held in the cafeteria area of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Center in Sykesville, where the Maryland State Police operate their Training Academy.
Following remarks by Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Woodrow Jones III, Training Academy commander, Captain Brian Smith, and president of the 151st Class, Trooper Jesse O’Donald, the new troopers received their badges. A limited number of family members for each graduate were permitted into the room only as their trooper’s name was called and he or she received their badge.
Pandemic guidelines required the 33 members of the trooper candidate class to complete months of a normally residential police training academy in quarantine. Since May 11th, graduates were mandated to remain at the Training Academy around the clock and on weekends, except for the last two. The training, already known as one of most intense and comprehensive state police training programs in the nation, became even more challenging in mid-March as the class first underwent eight weeks of distance learning, followed by 12-14 hour days of intense training. During six months of strict discipline and a demanding schedule, the trooper candidates received instruction in criminal and traffic laws, emergency care, emergency driving, physical training, and scenario-based training that included de-escalation and conflict resolution.
“Class 151 will be remembered for many reasons, including the first class in our history to be quarantined,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Woodrow Jones III, said. “Most significantly, they will be remembered as 33 dedicated men and women willing to begin their new law enforcement career during a time when a true commitment to being a public servant who serves with empathy, integrity and a sincere desire to help others has never been more important. I thank each of them for their perseverance during this training and look forward to the good things they will accomplish in the counties and communities across our state where they will serve.”
Among the members of the class, eight have prior military experience, two previously worked in law enforcement or corrections and eight were Maryland State Police cadets. Eighteen of the recruits have college degrees and another 15 are enrolled in the concurrent Associate of Arts program with Frederick Community College and have been obtaining their degrees as they attend the Academy.
Following a brief period of leave, the new troopers will report to barracks across Maryland to begin eight weeks of practical instruction with field training troopers. Upon successful completion of that training, they will be permitted to patrol alone.
Pennsylvania State Police Graduates 99 New State Troopers
On Friday, Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, announced that 99 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth. The men and women represent the 159th graduating cadet class.
In accordance with statewide measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the graduation ceremony was closed to the public. Friends and family were afforded the opportunity to view the event via live streams on the Academy Facebook page, YouTube Live, and PAcast.
"The support of loved ones, even from afar, is crucial during the rigorous physical and mental training State Police cadets receive at the Academy, and it will remain vital throughout their careers as troopers," said Colonel Evanchick. "Although proud parents, siblings, spouses, and others could not attend in person, we are grateful for everything they have done to help these men and women reach the important milestone we are marking today."
Missouri State Trooper Rescues Trapped Driver
New Jersey Trooper Rescues Occupants from Sinking Vessel
Trooper Rescues Occupants from Sinking Vessel in Point Pleasant Canal
Sergeant Michael Krauchuk, of the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau, rescued three occupants from a sinking vessel in the Point Pleasant Canal.
On Sunday, June 14, at approximately 5:08 p.m., troopers from the Marine Services Bureau Point Pleasant Station were dispatched to the report of a 26-foot boat sinking in the Point Pleasant Canal in Point Pleasant Boro, Ocean County.
Based on the preliminary investigation, the boat began to take on water while traveling in the canal. A good samaritan who was nearby helped transfer five occupants from the boat to land, while the operator and two other occupants stayed on board in an attempt to get the boat to a nearby dock. Due to the rough conditions, they were unable to prevent the boat from taking on more water.
Within minutes of the initial call, Sergeant Michael Krauchuk responded to the scene and secured the sinking boat to his State Police vessel. While attempting to pull the boat to the nearby dock, Sgt. Krauchuk realized that they would not make it, because the boat was taking on water too rapidly. As a result, Sgt. Krauchuck helped pull the three occupants onto his vessel and cut the lines before the boat sank.
All of the occupants were transported back to Point Pleasant Station for a medical evaluation by EMS. There were no reported injuries.
Sgt. Krauchuk’s quick and decisive actions may have helped prevent a tragedy.
AAST Trooper of the Year
Trooper Daniel C. Harrell, of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, has been recognized nationally for his courage and commitment during a traffic stop that quickly turned life threatening.
The American Association of State Troopers recognized Trooper Harrell’s heroic actions by naming him the 2020 Trooper of the Year for continuing to pursue a suspect after being shot twice in the face, and his commitment to keeping the citizens of Wilson County, North Carolina safe.
On January 14, 2019, Trooper Harrell had just finished a traffic stop when he noticed a vehicle improperly towing another vehicle. Trooper Harrell caught up with the vehicles and activated his blue lights and siren, the vehicles turned onto a state road before slowly pulling onto the shoulder. Trooper Harrell made contact and explained the reason for the stop to the driver of the vehicle being towed and the driver of the front vehicle, he also noticed a passenger in the front vehicle. Neither of the drivers had a driver’s license or any other form of identification. As Trooper Harrell was talking to the driver of the front vehicle he accelerated and drove off from the stop. Trooper Harrell returned to his patrol car and informed communications that he was in a chase. After travelling down the road, a short distance, the driver pulled over again, as Trooper Harrell was preparing to exit his patrol car the driver leaned out of the vehicle and opened fire on Trooper Harrell striking him twice in the face (once in the forehead and once in the cheek). Trooper Harrell immediately returned fire and the violator drove off again as the passenger jumped out of the vehicle and laid on the ground. Although he was shot and bleeding profusely from his face, Trooper Harrell continued the chase giving updates and descriptions to the Raleigh Communications. The suspect stopped to exit and disconnect the vehicle being towed where Trooper Harrell stopped a safe distance behind and engaged in gunfire with the suspect before he drove off again. The suspect drove a short distance more before making a U-Turn and colliding with Trooper Harrell’s cruiser head on disabling the patrol car.
Trooper Harrell continued to engage the suspect in gunfire before the suspect was able to drive away and then continue his flee attempt on foot.
It is because of Trooper Harrell’s perseverance and communication that the involved persons were located and arrested the night of the incident and no further persons were injured.
A presentation ceremony is will take place later this year.
Texas State Trooper Pays for Elderly Woman's Tires
Michigan State Trooper Saves Driver form Fire
Tennessee Highway Patrol Heather Cooke
Heather Michelle Cooke has managed to pack a lot of living into 30 years. Around the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Troop A and beyond she answers to “Cookie.” On the highways of Knox County, she’s Trooper Cooke.
This five-year “veteran” is one of three female THP troopers in Knox County.
In addition to her patrol work, she is a member of the troop’s Strike Team and a crash analyst. She also goes to Nashville and sits on the board that interviews candidates applying to the THP. The Strike Team is involved with manhunts, search and rescue missions, natural disasters, and works protests and riots. Cooke also is a member of the Honor Guard at the annual Fallen Officer Memorial ceremony.
“I have always enjoyed investigating. Working crashes, working hit-and-runs, determining DUI’s and drug interdictions all require digging further and investigating,” she said. “I wanted a job that is exciting and challenges me to think, be patient, and have a good attitude, despite some of the occasional insults we all receive on traffic stops. I love my job.”
How does she describe herself? “I’m a kind person and I like to help people. But I am a Type A person too, a perfectionist, who likes to get everything right and be really organized about everything I do,” she says.
She’s a native of Blount County and still lives there. In 2008 she graduated with honors from Heritage High School, where she played percussion for four years in the Mountaineers marching band. Then it was off to the University of Tennessee, where she earned a degree in 2012 in biological anthropology (she volunteered for two years at the UT Body Farm). Since then she has continued her education – graduating from the Community College of the Air Force in 2016 with an associate’s degree in criminal justice. She is currently working on a master’s in criminal justice with a concentration in forensic science with Saint Leo University.
After graduating from UT, Cooke joined the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 134th Security Forces Squadron at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Airbase in September 2012. Almost eight years later she’s a technical sergeant (E-6) in the Air Force Security Force (formerly known as Military Police or Air Police). She has been on deployments to Lithuania (2016), Alaska (2018), Korea (2019) and to Camp Shelby in Mississippi for a Green Beret training exercise (2020).
She says that joining the Air National Guard Security Force helped her choose a career in law enforcement.
Back to her work in Knox County. Are drivers surprised when they realize it’s a young woman under the THP’s classic campaign hat? “A lot of times, yes. I’ve been called ‘Sir’ a number of times. Lots of people say it’s nice to see a female trooper and I mostly get positive feedback,” she said. “Most people don’t give me a hard time, but some people ask me to look the other way and let them go because I’m a woman. A lot of females even try crying on me. But I never, ever look the other way and let them go.”
Cooke says there are two aspects of her job that are scary and hard.
The first is stopping someone on I-40/75, which happens often. “I’ve almost been hit a few times by trucks and cars and had some really close calls. The big rigs that don’t move over or can’t are flying by about 10 feet from me and it’ll blow your hat off,” she says. “We have the Move Over law but many people ignore it or don’t know about it. It’s bad for the wrecker guys and the DOT guys too.”
Also hard is after she works an accident with a fatality or fatalities. It is THP policy that the trooper working the accident notifies the next of kin about the fatality.
“To get to a wreck and see a fatality is a tragedy to witness, but for me, you have to get through the emotions and do your job and not let it get to you,” Cooke says. “There’s no way to describe working one of those and then notifying the next of kin. It’s hard. We take training classes about how to do it. We often go in pairs.”
And then there was the tragic Gatlinburg fire in 2016. Cooke was part of a THP Strike Team sent to help with rescues on Nov. 28. The team members all received the prestigious Lifesaver Award for saving multiple lives that night.
“We were to go in and evacuate people. We were on a road (it was Baskins Creek Road) and came upon a line of cars that were trapped,” Cooke recalls. “The fires were burning on both sides of the road and their tires were melting and embers were flying everywhere and trees falling. It was hectic and intense. One lady already had burns. But we got everyone out of those cars and got them safely off the mountain. One of our guys (Trooper Stephen Barclay) actually carried the woman with burns to safety. I’ll never forget that night.”
Troop A Lt. Eric Miller is Cooke’s supervisor. “She’s a solid trooper and growing all of the time. She really enjoys analyzing and reconstructing crashes,” he said. “Heather is a pro out there. She does her job and does it well. And no, I don’t call her Cookie.”
Massachusetts State Police K9 'Caber' helps find two missing girls
Past a cliff and multiple trails, a Massachusetts State Police K9 tracked down two missing teenage girls over the weekend in Western Massachusetts, authorities said Tuesday. Trooper Matt Baird learned around 1:45 a.m. on Saturday that law enforcement in Palmer were searching for two girls, ages 13 and 14, who went missing around 11 p.m., according to a statement from state police. After receiving an object with the girls’ scents on it, Baird deployed his K9 partner, a dog named Caber, behind the family’s house, the statement said. Family members crossed over the search area many times looking for the girls, authorities noted, which made tracking more difficult for the dog. “Caber pulled around the house to the street, working northward,” state police said. “After getting no results, Trooper Baird and Caber turned and worked back on the street in a southward direction.” The dog ventured across the street to a small cliff when a possum ran in front of him. Caber, ignoring the wild animal, moved onto a trail, according to state police. As the trooper and the K9 continued onto a second trail, Caber began to show “increased intensity,” authorities said. The dog eventually pulled through “thick mountain laurel and displayed a proximity alert," according to police. “A few feet later, Trooper Baird saw the two girls just ahead, crouched beside a tree,” state police said. “The searchers walked the girls out of the woods and returned them to their home.” This is not the first successful search Caber has pulled off. In 2016, the dog helped locate a lost hunter in Petersham after local authorities unsuccessfully deployed a bloodhound in the area of the hunter’s vehicle.
Indiana State Police names 2019 Trooper of the Year
Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter recently announced the recipient of the 2019 Indiana State Police Trooper of the Year. This honor is bestowed upon a deserving Trooper that exemplifies the Department’s high standards and expectations as related to the overall mission. Leadership, productivity, service to the community both on and off duty, and assigned responsibilities are just a few areas taken into consideration when nominated. The 2019 Indiana State Police Trooper of the Year is Trooper Tyson M. Waldron. Waldron’s performance and accomplishments during that year are worthy of such recognition and have earned him this award. Trooper Waldron is a seven-year veteran of the State Police and was appointed on December 21, 2012. During 2019, Waldron was assigned to the Fort Wayne Post, primarily working a night shift in Allen County. Waldron, who has been a K-9 handler with his partner Zeus since 2016, is also certified as a drug recognition expert (DRE). In 2019, Trooper Waldron had 1515 traffic contacts, 31 operating while intoxicated (OWI) arrests (which led the District), 220 criminal arrests (44 of which were for felony crimes), and 124 K-9 usage reports. While working with his K-9 partner, he seized Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Crack, Ecstasy, and Heroin; six firearms and more than $32,000 in U.S. currency. Waldron achieved these goals while missing over 38 days while on active military orders and 20 days of time off taken for the birth of his son. In his nomination, Trooper Waldron was described as a natural leader as exemplified through his genuine courtesy, hard work, and unquestionable integrity. He is a very proactive, dedicated, and self-motivated Trooper that consistently encourages his co-workers to put forth a maximum effort during their shifts. Waldron maintains a rigorous fitness routine, keeping himself fit for duty, and motivates others to do the same. In addition to the duties required by the Indiana State Police while serving the citizens of Indiana, Waldron also serves his country as a soldier in the Indiana National Guard. His notable 18-year military career has included stateside and overseas deployments, and he currently holds a position at the Regional Training Institute at Camp Atterbury, where he serves as a Company First Sergeant. First Sergeant Waldron’s overseas service has included deployments to Afghanistan in 2004, and Iraq in 2008, where he earned his Combat Infantry Badge. He is the graduate of numerous military schools, including: Army Airborne, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Sniper, Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Non-Commissioned Officers Course, Advanced Leadership Course, Senior Leadership Course and Mountain Warfare. Waldron has a future goal to serve as a District Squad Leader at the Fort Wayne Post, and is currently preparing himself for when that opportunity arises. He attributes the secret to his success to a strong family support system.
Louisiana State Police trooper dies in line-of-duty
Trooper George Baker succumbed to injuries sustained on May 20th, 2020, when he was struck by a Hammond patrol car while removing stop sticks from the roadway during a vehicle pursuit. The pursuit started when officers from the Hammond Police Department attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle. Trooper Baker and another trooper successfully deployed stop sticks on Wardline Road, near the intersection with Kate Street, causing the vehicle to hit them. As the troopers attempted to remove the stop sticks from the roadway, they were inadvertently struck by a responding Hammond patrol car. Both occupants in the fleeing vehicle were arrested a short time later. Both troopers were transported to a local hospital where Trooper Baker succumbed to his injuries on May 24th, 2020. Trooper Baker's organs were donated upon his death. The second trooper suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Trooper Baker was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Louisiana State Police for three years. He had previously served with the Greensburg Police Department for four years and the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office for three years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, parents, and sisters.
Light Up Mississippi May 25, 2020
Georgia State Patrol graduates 31 troopers
The Georgia State Patrol graduated its 108th Trooper School on Thursday, May 14, at the headquarters of the Georgia Department of Public Safety in Atlanta. After 32 weeks of intense training, 31 new troopers will report to one of the 52 patrol posts throughout the state. Instead of the traditional graduation, troopers received their patrol vehicles and were issued the Oath of Office by Governor Brian P. Kemp. Trooper Cadets spend 20 weeks at the academy and 12 weeks in field training. The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) requires all peace officers receive a minimum of 400 hours of Basic Mandate Training. At the completion of Trooper School, these newly graduated trooper cadets received over 1,500 hours of training, including driving, defensive tactics, vehicle stops, Spanish, criminal law and criminal procedure, firearms, accident investigation, and various other training.