Kentucky State Police trooper cleared to return to work one year after crash

KSP Trooper returns to work after injury

One year after a scary crash that nearly took his life, one Kentucky State Police trooper has been given the OK to go back on duty. Trooper Lewis, stationed at KSP Post 13 in Hazard, was involved in a bad crash September 12, 2017, on I-75 in Laurel County. His cruiser flipped and traveled into a 150-foot embankment. Lewis was trapped in the vehicle for two hours until he was finally able to grab his phone and call 911. "Come to find out he had broken 23 bones and he was on life support," said Lewis' wife, Miranda. Doctors told Lewis he may never walk again, and that his leg would likely have to be amputated. Ethan and Miranda rejected that prognosis, saying a higher power would decide his fate. Lewis spent two months in the hospital. He says his fellow state troopers were always at his side. He said his family, including daughter Maddie and newborn son Ethan, is what saved him. "I mean that's why I stayed alive is my family," Lewis said. "I wasn't going to give up my family. There's no way." Lewis dedicates his recovery to fellow men and women in uniform who didn't make it home. "I at least owe it to them. I'm not going to give up, and they're not taking my gray uniform away from me. I'm going to put it back on," Lewis said.

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Maine State Police plates honor Barbara Bush Children's Hospital

Maine SP Barbara Bush

The Maine State Police have issued commemorative license plates for their fleet that honor the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.  The license plates will be attached to State Police cruisers until the end of September.  The plates will then be signed by the individual troopers and collected to be sold via online auction and at other special events to benefit the Children’s Hospital.  It is the fifth time State Police have issued special plates to benefit nonprofit organizations.  Past recipients have been Breast Cancer Awareness, Wreaths Across America, Special Olympics and the Travis Mills Foundation. The previous commemorative plates have raised between $15,000 and $20,000 for each of the organizations. The commemorative plates are a collaborative effort with the Maine State Troopers Association and the Maine Troopers Foundation. The plates began appearing on State Police vehicles Sept. 2 and will be displayed until the end of the month.  September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Chief of the Maine State Police, Colonel John Cote, said the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and State Police have had a long association. Troopers have brought presents in for patients at the hospital annually at Christmas for several years. Cote said, “State Police have been a strong supporter of the hospital and its mission.  Our hope is these plates will raise awareness of the high quality service the hospital provides to our most vulnerable citizens and the funds raised will benefit those most in need.”



New Jersey State Police to equip all state troopers with body cameras by mid-2019

NJSP Body Cameras

One-and-a-half million dollars in criminal forfeiture funds are being used to equip New Jersey State troopers with body cameras, and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said all members of the state police should have them by the middle of next year. Grewal said when law enforcement officers and citizens know their encounters are being recorded, they behave better. He says there are thousands, maybe even millions, of those interactions in the state each year. “And they are 99.9 percent positive, so we invite the scrutiny. It is those out-of-context cellphone videos that sometimes paint a negative picture of an interaction,” said Grewal. “So, we would welcome an entire picture of the interaction, and entire video of the interaction to be available, and I think it promotes confidence and public trust.” State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said most troopers welcome the use of body cameras, and they’re already used to having cameras mounted in their cruisers. “I tell the troopers when I’m with them, ‘You’re on camera anyway, whether it’s a store camera or somebody holding a smartphone,’” said Callahan. “So let’s show things from our perspective and capture the entire encounter.” Callahan said while body cameras are a good tool, a police officer’s training on how to treat the public is what can really make a difference. “If the person wearing the camera doesn’t have that notion of treating people with dignity and respect, all we’re going to end up with is a bunch of negative videos, and that’s not going to help us in building that public trust,” said Callahan. Grewal said internal affairs complaints have dropped in jurisdictions around the country that use body cameras.



California Highway Patrol K9 Officer Beny did it again!

CHP K9 Beny

K9 officer Beny did it again!  On August 28, a California Highway Patrol Officer conducted a traffic stop on a 2013 Jeep Patriot for speeding.  The officer pulled the driver over on the westbound SR-152 at Dinosaur Point. The officer observed indications that the driver was engaging in criminal activities, so K9 officer Beny was called in.  During a search of the vehicle Beny found approximately 30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine inside what officers say was a sophisticated roof compartment. The driver was taken into custody and booked into the Merced County Sheriff's Office Jail for possession of methamphetamine for sale, and transportation of methamphetamine.



Massachusetts State trooper issues Beanie Baby to baby instead of ticket

MSP Beanie Baby

When State Trooper Nate Monteiro pulled up behind Alexandra Schirmer on Wednesday afternoon in the breakdown lane on Route 24 in Raynham, she thought she was in trouble. Instead, she’d found a guardian angel. Schirmer, a certified nursing assistant in Bridgewater, was heading home from work with her 4-month-old son, Sebastian, and they were stuck in heavy traffic. “It was so hot and Sebastian wouldn’t stop crying to the point he was making himself choke. He was just hungry. I couldn’t take it anymore,” the Berkley native posted on Facebook. Schirmer, 22, pulled over into the breakdown lane to give Sebastian a bottle. When Monteiro pulled up behind her, she was so scared, she waved the baby bottle out the window, she said. But she had nothing to worry about. “He was so nice,” Schirmer said Thursday. Monteiro went back to his cruiser and came back, not with a ticket, but with a Beanie Baby for Sebastian. Then Monteiro sat in his cruiser and waited there until Schirmer was done feeding Sebastian to make sure they were safe, she said. “It was pretty cool,” Schirmer posted.



Two Washington State Patrol troopers awarded Life Saving Awards

WSP Life Saving Awards

2 local Washington State Patrol Troopers were recognized for their life saving efforts. WSP Chief John R. Batiste recognized Trooper David Franzmann of Hoquiam and Trooper Edgar Quintero of Naselle and awarded them the WSP Life Saving Award for efforts during two separate incidents in April 2018. On April 17, Trooper Franzmann responded to an unresponsive 17-year-old on the 100 block of Anderson Place in Elma. The young man was not breathing. Elma Police Officers had begun CPR and Trooper Franzmann arrived and used Naloxone, continuing CPR until the teen began breathing again on his own. The 17-year-old was transported to Summit Pacific Medical Center where he regained consciousness and survived the narcotics overdose. On Monday, April 30, 2018, Trooper Quintero responded to a shots fired and stabbing incident in Illwaco. Trooper Quintero was the first law enforcement officer on scene, finding multiple victims. Determining the suspect was no longer a threat, Trooper Quintero went to help the injured victims, including a man bleeding excessively from his right arm. He applied a tourniquet and bandages to open wounds on the victim’s arm and torso until aid could arrive and transport the victim. The man survived, and other officers and medics on scene said that the acts of the Trooper ultimately saved the victim’s life. Troopers are recommended by their supervisors for the Life Saving Award, which is later selected by Chief Batiste.




Nebraska State Troopers seize more than 200 pounds of drugs in traffic stop

NSP Drug Bust

Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol have arrested two men and seized more than 200 pounds of various drugs in a traffic stop on Interstate 80 near Alda, Nebraska. At approximately 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday, August 28, state troopers stopped a semi-truck with a license plate violation. During the stop, the trooper became suspicious of criminal activity and an NSP K9 detected the presence of a controlled substance inside the tractor. During a search of the tractor, troopers discovered duffel bags filled with packages of marijuana, THC vape cartridges, and an unknown white powder. The seizure totaled 95 pounds of marijuana, 996 vape cartridges, and 88 pounds of the unknown white powder. With the possibility that the white powder is fentanyl, it has been transported to the NSP Crime Lab for testing in a safe and controlled environment.



Wyoming Highway Patrol seizes more than $7M worth of marijuana during traffic stop

WHP 7M Traffic Stop

Around 11:30 a.m., a trooper with the state’s highway patrol stopped a Dodge Ram pickup truck that was pulling a flatbed trailer. During the inspection, the trooper’s K-9 officer was “alerted to the odor of narcotics within the load of the trailer,” the Wyoming Highway Patrol said in an online statement. Further investigation revealed a massive amount of marijuana, which highway patrol officials said had an estimated street value of $7.3 million. The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wyoming Highway Patrol are currently investigating the case.



Alaska State Troopers change logo and slogan

AKSP Change Logo and Slogan

Residents will start to see a change to the Trooper cars around town soon, specifically, the logo and slogan. Yellow against a navy backdrop is reminiscent of the Alaska Flag.  And the slogan is meant to encompass the work of the Alaska State Troopers.  According to Jonathon Taylor with the Department of Public Safety, an internal group from both State and Wildlife Troopers came up with 24 potential slogans before deciding on 'Guardians of the 49th'.  Taylor explained that Troopers are often working in areas where there is no other law enforcement and sometimes alone.  He said the phrase showcases that they do feel like they are protectors and defenders.  He also told us about why they made the change.  "This is a part of our recruitment efforts to reach new generations of Alaskans and even those outside of Alaska about the opportunities that are there to become a state trooper and join a really credible, sworn, force of officers who do incredible work across the State," said Taylor.  Taylor says the designs won't change overnight, but as funding becomes available, they will start to show up.



Colonel Sandra Karsten named new director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety

Karsten retiring from Missouri HP

On Monday, Gov. Mike Parson announced Col. Sandra Karsten as the new director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.  She was previously named the interim director of the department.

Starting her 33-year career as a patrol trooper on Callaway County roads, now Col. Sandra K. Karsten is handing in her badge. The 23rd superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol, she announced Friday she will retire from that position effective Sept. 1. "It has been an honor to serve the people of Missouri as a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol," Karsten said. "For the past 33 years I have strived to live by the patrol's core values, to treat others as I wish to be treated, and to connect with each person who has crossed my path either professionally or personally." Last week, she was named acting director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Karsten is the only female to be named superintendent. She also was the first to be promoted to the ranks of lieutenant, captain, major and lieutenant colonel — then assistant superintendent. Karsten was appointed to the patrol on Sept. 1, 1985, as a member of the 57th Recruit Class. "Harry Lee was the (Callaway County) sheriff," she told the Fulton Sun shortly after being nominated for the superintendent's position. "Interstate 70 did not have the median barriers, and in Kingdom City, there was the old Gaspers truck stop. There were no stop lights in Kingdom City." She added: "There were seven females on patrol. Now there are 71. We've grown a lot in the last 30 years with diversity." Sometimes, Karsten worked alongside Roger Rice, now a major with Fulton Police. "I knew her when she was a trooper here, and she was a great person to work with," he said when she was promoted to superintendent. "I worked cases with her and you couldn't ask for a nicer person." Karsten spent nine years as a trooper before being promoted to sergeant. She met her husband, Tim (a former Fulton Middle School coach), in the early 1990s, and they had two sons, John and Paul. She worked all kinds of jobs within the highway patrol, seeing Troop F's incarnation. In 1996, Karsten transferred to the General Headquarters in Jefferson City. She was assigned to the Field Operations Bureau, where she was promoted to lieutenant, and later captain. In 2001, Karsten transferred to the Human Resources Division as the director of that division. In 2011, she was promoted to the rank of major and designated commander of the Administrative Services Bureau; then later transferred as the commander of the Technical Services Bureau. As a major, she began serving as a member of the Patrol's command staff. In 2012, she was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and was designated assistant superintendent, where she acted in the superintendent's absence and had direct oversight responsibility for the Professional Standards Division and Public Information and Education Division. Karsten was appointed the 23rd superintendent of the Missouri Highway Patrol on Feb. 1, 2017. The Missouri Senate confirmed her appointment Thursday, March 9, 2017. As a result of her confirmation, she was elevated to the rank of colonel. She was sworn in March 14, 2017.



State Highway Patrol Trooper named North Dakota Peace Office of the Year

SDHP Peace Officer of the Year

A state trooper stationed in Hillsboro, N.D., has been named the North Dakota Peace Officer of the Year. State Highway Patrol Trooper Kyle Stern recently received the award during the North Dakota Peace Officers Association's annual meeting in Minot. The honor is given each year to a law enforcement officer who has "outstanding service, professional dignity" and has made "unselfish personal contributions to the citizens of North Dakota," according to a news release. The award "serves as recognition of an officer who consistently displays excellence within their profession," the release said. Stern has been with the Highway Patrol since 2002 and received several accolades over the years, including the North Dakota Trooper of the Year in 2010. The Peace Officers Association said Stern is dedicated to providing public safety on state roads, according to the release. "Trooper Stern's professionalism, extensive knowledge and servant attitude in representing not only the NDHP, but law enforcement in general, is a tribute to his dedication to law enforcement and the people of this state," Highway Patrol Sgt. Ryan Panasuk said in a letter nominating Stern for the award.



Kansas Highway Patrol awarded accreditation by CALEA


The Kansas Highway Patrol was honored with a Certificate of Accreditation by The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The agency was awarded accreditation at CALEA’s annual conference on July 28, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  CALEA Regional Program Manager Tim Baysinger was on hand in Topeka to present the certificate to Patrol Superintendent, Colonel Mark Bruce. “This accreditation comes after more than two years of work to get us to this place,” said Bruce. “We began the process in January of 2016, and it has taken efforts from all personnel, and much time to achieve this first-time accomplishment in the 80-plus year history of our agency.” The Kansas Highway Patrol began the CALEA accreditation process in January of 2016. Accreditation assists in enhancing the Patrol’s public safety services by implementing the best business practices for law enforcement.  This increases accountability within the agency and to the public we serve.  Throughout the process, the agency had to address topics such as evidence procedures and training, among others; hosted tours of facilities and equipment; and hosted a public comment session.  In March, the agency underwent an onsite assessment. To gain accreditation, the Kansas Highway Patrol had to meet more than 181 state-of-the-art standards, which cover policy and procedure; administration; operations; and support services. The Kansas Highway Patrol is the 20th state patrol/police agency to receive accreditation from across the U.S.  This is an accomplishment less than five percent of all law enforcement agencies nationwide receive. The Kansas Highway Patrol is one of only nine CALEA-accredited agencies across the state of Kansas. Once accreditation is attained, the agency will undergo annual audits and further onsite assessments to ensure compliance with CALEA’s standards. “The Kansas Highway Patrol is dedicated to providing professional law enforcement services to the public and our public safety partners,” said Bruce. “CALEA holds agencies accountable to the highest standards in policing, which benefits the agency and most importantly, the citizens we serve.” CALEA was created in 1979 as a credentialing authority. The purpose of CALEA is to improve delivery of public safety by: maintaining a body of standards, developed by public safety practitioners, covering up-to-date public safety initiatives; establishing and administering an accreditation process; and recognizing professional excellence.  There are five steps to the CALEA process, which include: Enrollment; Self-Assessment; On-Site Assessment; Commission Review and Decision; and Maintaining Compliance and Reaccreditation.



Vermont State Police launch year-round prescription drug drop boxes

VSP Drug Drop Boxes

Vermont State Police barracks across the Green Mountain State now have the capability to accept unused and unwanted prescription medication from members of the public year-round. This expansion of secure drop box locations to the lobbies of state police barracks across the state will give Vermonters a convenient and safe way to remove these “most dangerous leftovers” from their homes. The service is made possible through a new agreement with the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, which administers the prescription drug take-back program statewide. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which spearheads the semi-annual National Drug Take Back Day initiative, then will safely destroy these drugs. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas D. Anderson; Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD; Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux; the DEA and others unveiled the new initiative during a news conference Monday at the Vermont State Police barracks in Williston. The Vermont State Police is joining 10 sheriffs’ departments and 39 law-enforcement agencies throughout the state that accept prescription medication from the public for safe, secure disposal year-round. Six of the 10 VSP barracks already have been outfitted with drop boxes. Two more barracks are coming online shortly. Public safety and health officials called the drop boxes a welcome addition to the array of opportunities for people to clean out their medicine cabinets. In addition to kiosks located at hospitals and pharmacies, the Health Department has introduced mail-back envelopes for safe and secure drug disposal. The successful semi-annual state and federal Prescription Drug Take Back Day partnership also will continue, with the next one scheduled for Oct. 27. “This gives us another opportunity to get this poison out of Vermonters’ medicine cabinets,” Public Safety Commissioner Anderson said, noting that state police worked closely with the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department and the DEA to ensure adequate security and safety protocols are in place at all barracks where prescription drug drop boxes are located. Vermont State Police Director Col. Matthew T. Birmingham and Sheriff Marcoux signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding to administer the program earlier this year. “Having drop boxes at state police barracks is another way to make it easier and safer for Vermonters to dispose of these potentially dangerous leftover medications,” Sheriff Marcoux said. “Adding the Vermont State Police to the list of law-enforcement agencies with year-round drop boxes shows strong solidarity with other departments and leadership from Commissioner Anderson.” Health Commissioner Mark Levine said one of the keys to prevention is taking unused drugs out of the equation. “We know that many people who misused prescription pain relievers first got them from a friend’s or relative’s medicine cabinet. Drug disposal innovations are important because, while not everyone has the time or ability to get to a drop-off location, almost everyone has medications they no longer need,” Dr. Levine said. “Vermont’s financial and strategic commitment to take on substance-use disorders includes doing everything we can to help stop addiction from starting – and ensure Vermonters who struggle with the challenges of addiction receive treatment and succeed in their recovery.” Since the statewide program began in August 2017, the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department has collected more than 12,000 pounds of unwanted, unused prescription medication, including some 4,400 pounds so far in 2018.



Wisconsin State Patrol trooper fills up a man's gas tank after pulling him over

WSP Filling Gas Tank

A Wisconsin State Patrol trooper is being praised for what he did to help someone he pulled over. Trooper Thomas Van Egeren pulled over Chase Ponchaud on Interstate 41 in Brown County earlier this month because Ponchaud's license plates had expired. After the traffic stop, Ponchaud's car wouldn't start, so the trooper used his squad car to push the vehicle to the nearest gas station. But his help didn't stop there.  Ponchaud says the trooper "took out his card and just started filling up my tank and I was just like, you don't gotta do that, and he insisted." "Underneath the hat and behind the badge here, I'm just like everybody else," Van Egeren says.  "I saw somebody that needed a little extra hand and figured why not."



New Jersey State Police send helicopter to lift spirits of preschooler with cancer

NJSP Helicopter

A 2-year-old with a fast-moving form of cancer was treated to a visit by a state police helicopter Wednesday.  Cole McKeon is a big fan of airplanes, and his father, Ridgewood Officer Kevin McKeon, said "his eyes lit up" when the helicopter touched down on the field behind Ridgewood police headquarters.   “We would take weekly trips down to Teterboro Airport. They’ll fly over the corner of the Walmart parking lot, and we’d go down there and watch them land,” said McKeon.  The special visit was made possible when State Trooper Evan Curtiss, a member of the Ridgewood Emergency Services, contacted McKeon to say he would be in the area on Aug. 15.  “We were just waiting for a good day with weather and for Cole to be feeling well,” said McKeon. “He got very excited. His eyes lit up because I don’t think he expected it to land. We said, ‘Oh, that’s Mr. Evans up there.’ And then all of a sudden, it started lowering. He starts pointing like ‘come down, come down.’ And then when he landed, Cole was like ‘OK, take off.’”  Curtiss gave Cole a state police jumpsuit with his name on it, which will be his Halloween costume.  “It was a really nice thing for them to do,” said McKeon. “So many people have done so much for us, it’s above and beyond anything I’ve seen.” The McKeons are Ridgewood residents.   Cole McKeon is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma, which typically affects children under 10.  He was diagnosed with cancer days shortly after his second birthday. Neuroblastoma starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells, most often found in an embryo or fetus.  Doctors found the cancer near Cole's kidney. It later spread throughout his body and reached his bone marrow.