Georgia State Patrol Graduates 110th Trooper School

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The Georgia State Patrol graduated its 110th Trooper School on Friday, September 17, at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) in Forsyth.  After 32 weeks of intense training, and a three-week interruption due to a COVID outbreak, 34 new troopers will report to one of the 52 patrol posts throughout the state.

First Lady Marty Kemp was the keynote speaker.  Colonel Chris C. Wright, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), paid tribute to the first responders killed on Sept. 11. Lt. Colonel William W. Hitchens, III, DPS Deputy Commissioner, issued the Oath of Office.  Additionally, remarks were given by Lt. Colonel Stephanie L. Stallings, DPS Director of Support/Administrative Operations, and Capt. Garrett Fiveash, Director of Training. 

Trooper Cadets spend 20 weeks at the academy and 12 weeks in field training.  The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) requires that all peace officers receive a minimum of 408 hours of Basic Mandate Training.  At the completion of Trooper School, these newly graduated troopers received over 1,400 hours of training, including driving, defensive tactics, vehicle stops, Spanish, criminal law and criminal procedure, firearms, accident investigation, and various other training.

During remarks to his fellow class members, Trooper Scott Curry, class president, reflected on family and how it extends beyond the immediate family to his classmates and the training staff he walked with on this journey towards becoming a Trooper. He expressed how important the friendships that were made helped get each of them through those tough times.

Four of the graduates received special honors for top performance in various proficiencies. The honorees were:

  • Driving Proficiency – Trooper Jamie Allen
  • Firearms Proficiency – Trooper Zachary Goodman
  • Top Gun – Trooper Cameron York
  • Highest Academic Average – Trooper Cameron Reese

Trooper Reese also received a $2,000 scholarship towards a master’s degree from Reinhardt University for having the highest academic average (95.89) in his class. He already received a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Studies. This scholarship is named after CPL Chadwick LeCroy who was killed in the line of duty on December 27, 2010.  The university also gave a $1,000 scholarship to each trooper towards a bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, the following graduates were recognized for their leadership: Trooper Bradley Gurganus, Vice President; Trooper Katlyn Reid, Secretary; Trooper Vijaya Purugulla, Treasurer; Trooper Derek Long, Chaplain; Trooper Darryll Fulghum, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Trooper Joshua Powell, Pennant Bearer.

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Maryland mourns death of state trooper

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The Maryland Department of State Police is expressing its condolences following Saturday’s death of Trooper First Class Alec Elijah Cohen.

Trooper Cohen, 29, was found unresponsive at his Baltimore County home on Sept. 17 and was transported to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore before passing away Saturday morning.

Police said Cohen was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, where he remained in critical condition until succumbing to a “medical related illness” at 11:35 a.m.

Cohen’s body is now at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. No other details were provided.

“TFC Cohen will always be remembered for his extraordinary commitment, selfless service and unwavering dedication to the citizens of this state as a Maryland State Trooper,” the police said in a statement.

Cohen had been a member of the Maryland State Police for four-and-a-half years and was assigned to the Northeast Barrack at the time of his death. He graduated from Northeastern University with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice and then joined the Maryland State Police after graduating with the 146th Academy Class.

“Maryland State Police fulfilled his lifelong dream for public service and law enforcement. He was proud of his job and his MSP family,” Cohen’s family said in a statement provided by police.

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FHP Trooper Brian Pingry at Troop F in Fort Myers dies from complications of COVID-19

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The Florida Highway Patrol said Sunday that a trooper in the Fort Myers station has died from complications of COVID-19.

Brian J. Pingry, 60, served at Troop F in Fort Myers for seven years, joining as a member of the 129th Florida Highway Patrol basic recruit class.

Pingry, a Field Training Officer who trained and mentored new troopers, died on Saturday. He was the third FHP trooper and the 40th Florida law enforcement member to die from COVID-19.

Lt. Greg Bueno, with the FHP's Public Affairs Division at Troop F, said Pingry worked for a retail company in the private sector for a couple decades before coming to the FHP.

"To go through the rigors of academy for six months and all the requirements/necessities to be a state trooper is challenging but to do it in essence as his second, later in life career is so extremely commendable," Bueno said. "Our state, Lee County and local community lost a great civil servant and person who prided himself on quietly doing his job every day."

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes and Florida Highway Patrol Acting Director Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson released a combined statement about Pingry:

“Trooper Pingry was a highly regarded member of the Florida Highway Patrol for more than seven years and will be truly missed by the entire Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family. We send our deepest condolences to the Pingry family – please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

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Alabama Law Enforcement Agency state trooper dies from COVID-19

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An Alabama state trooper has died from complications related to the novel coronavirus, authorities said.

Senior Trooper Jason Vice of Northport died Thursday following what the Alabama Law Enforcement Association described as “a battle with COVID-19.”

He was 41.

“The entire ALEA family is absolutely devastated at the loss of one of its own, Senior Trooper Jason Vice, who will be truly missed,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor in a news release.

Vice is survived by his wife, Jenny; two daughters, Isabella and Lilly; and other relatives and friends.

“We mourn this tragic loss alongside his wife, Jenny, their two children and many other loved ones,” Taylor said. “We were honored to have been given the opportunity and privilege to have worked alongside such a dedicated law enforcement veteran who continuously demonstrated his courage, sacrifice and devotion by serving and protecting the citizens of Alabama.”

Vice is believed to be the first Alabama state trooper to die as a result of COVID-19, but he joins at least seven other law enforcement officers across the state and one investigator from the Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office to succumb to the disease, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

A former sheriff’s deputy in San Bernardino, California, Vice joined ALEA in 2006 and was initially assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, the agency said.

While there, he became certified as a traffic homicide investigator as well as a commercial motor vehicle enforcement officer, which he used in June 2019 to transfer into the Motor Carrier Safety Unit that is assigned to the Tuscaloosa-Selma highway patrol posts.

In this role, Vice was responsible for weighing and conducting inspections on commercial motor vehicles to ensure their safety for Alabama’s roadways, the agency said.

“I want to personally extend my deepest and sincerest condolences to Trooper Vice’s entire family, as well as all of his loved ones,” Taylor said. “The overwhelming outpour of care and support serves as a testament to Trooper Vice’s commitment and dedication, to not only his local community, but to the entire state of Alabama.”

In an attempt to defray funeral costs and other expenses, Vice's sister, Jessica Dean, established a GoFundMe account for the family.

"He was always so selfless and I know that he would be honored and thankful to anyone that would like to help in anyway they can," Dean said in her message to potential donors. "If you can give any amount or just a prayer it would be greatly appreciated."

Those desiring can visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/trooper-vice-family-support. As of 5 p.m. Friday, 45 donors had raised more than $300 above the initial $5,000 goal.

News of Vice’s death comes as DCH Health System reported Thursday that 147 inpatients with COVID-19 were at its hospitals in Tuscaloosa, Northport and Fayette.

Of these, 39 required intensive care treatment, 36 needed some kind of breathing assistance, either via ventilator or pressurized mask, and 119 – about 81% – had not been vaccinated against the disease, the health system said.

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Bakersfield CHP officer dies of COVID-19 complications

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Bakersfield CHP Officer Scott Merritt died Friday of COVID-19 complications, the agency said. Merritt, 42, served 11 years in Kern County after his first assignment with the CHP area office in Santa Cruz. He was an officer with CHP for nearly 16 years. 

In a statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom said: “It is with great sadness that Jennifer and I send our condolences to Officer Merritt’s family, friends and those who served with him. Officer Merritt dedicated nearly 16 years of his life to serving the people of California, and he will forever be remembered.”

Flags at the Capitol in Sacramento will be flown at half-staff in Merritt’s honor. 

Merritt is survived by his wife and two children.

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California Highway Patrol Officer, Joseph Boberg, passes from COVID-19

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Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued the following statement regarding the death of Officer Joseph Boberg of the California Highway Patrol (CHP):

“Jennifer and I send our deepest condolences to Officer Boberg’s family and friends, as well as those who worked alongside him. Officer Boberg’s service to California will be forever remembered.”

Officer Boberg, 42, passed away on September 7, 2021 due to complications related to COVID-19.

Officer Boberg had been assigned to the CHP’s San Andreas Area Office since 2014. He began his career as a CHP officer after graduating from the CHP Academy in 2009 and was assigned to the Monterey Area Office. He transferred to the Napa Area Office in 2013 prior to his transfer to the San Andreas Area Office.

He is survived by his wife, Brandy; children, Chase and Cailyn; brother, Jeffrey Jurgens; and parents, Joanna Jurgens and Michael Boberg.

In honor of Officer Boberg, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Joe has served the citizens of Calaveras and Alpine Counties since December of 2014 and was loved by all that knew him. We will miss his sense of humor the most. Joe, Rest in Peace.

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Highway Patrol Trooper Receives Medal Of Valor For Wildfire Helicopter Crash Rescue

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Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) Trooper Amanda Villa received the Medal of Valor, the agency’s highest award, for rushing toward a burning Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter that had tipped over and helping four of its passengers to safety. MHP Colonel Lavin presided over the ceremony today at the Montana State Capitol. Attorney General Austin Knudsen presented the award.

To qualify for the award, troopers must show an act of heroism and bravery, knowingly expose themselves to obvious life-threatening peril, or react to a situation without regard for personal safety to effect aid or rescue.

“Our troopers put themselves in harm’s way every day to serve others, but Trooper Amanda Villa’s act of valor stands above and is among the best in the Highway Patrol’s long history of service, integrity, and respect,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Without Trooper Villa’s quick-thinking and selfless actions that day, the outcome could have been much different.”

“What began as routine roadblock turned into a rescue mission in the blink of an eye,” Colonel Lavin said. “Thanks to the quick thinking and preparedness of Trooper Villa and the deputy, everyone went home safely. I can’t understate my appreciation for their heroic actions.”

“In the face of danger, Highway Patrol Trooper Villa went beyond the call of duty to lead these Montanans to safety,” Governor Greg Gianforte said. “On behalf of a grateful state, I’d like to thank Trooper Villa and the deputy for their immediate, life-saving action on June 15.”

“Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa’s actions in response to the helicopter accident on June 15th were an extraordinary example of the exceptional emergency response partnerships that the DNRC is so proud of and grateful for,” DNRC Director Amanda Kaster said. “She provided a heroic act of service for which our agency and firefighters are forever thankful.”

On Tuesday, June 15th, Trooper Amanda Villa was in Broadwater County to conduct a roadblock for a nearby fire when she witnessed a DNRC helicopter crash near Highway 12 east of Townsend. Trooper Villa and a Broadwater County Sheriff’s Deputy immediately responded to render aid to the five passengers on board.

A passenger who had managed to escape informed Villa that four more people remained in the wreckage. Trooper Villa and the deputy rushed to the scene and helped the remaining four passengers to safety. The DNRC personnel were released from the hospital that day after being assessed and cleared by medical professionals.

Villa is currently stationed in Helena, where she was born and raised.

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Governor Hogan welcomes new troopers during Maryland State Police 152nd Trooper Candidate Class Graduation

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As Governor Larry Hogan and other state officials and proud family members looked on, trooper candidates raised their right hands on Friday and took an oath to serve and protect the people of Maryland as they officially became state troopers during the graduation ceremony for the Maryland State Police 152ND Trooper Candidate Class.

The Maryland State Police Academy graduation was held on Friday morning at Merriweather Post Pavilion. More than 1,000 family members and friends of the graduates attended. In addition, hundreds more current and former Maryland State Police employees attended as part of the year-long commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Department.

The 46 members of Trooper Candidate Class 152 completed 27 weeks of a residential police training academy, known as one of most intense and comprehensive state police training programs in the country. 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.

“This class has the distinction of beginning almost exactly 100 years after the very first MSP academy class, and now, after you take the oath here today, Class 152 will be charged with leading this agency into its next century of service—a task for which I know that you are both well-equipped and well prepared for,” said Governor Hogan. “Congratulations on your accomplishment, and on behalf of all the people of an incredibly proud and grateful state, we wish each of you success, safety, and godspeed.”

“Class 152, I am grateful to you for choosing a career in law enforcement with the Maryland State Police,” Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Maryland State Police Superintendent, said. “You will be expected to uphold and exceed the standards set by those who came before you. As you accept the incredible responsibilities and authority entrusted to you by the citizens of Maryland, I urge you never to forget that your mission is to serve and protect. You are now a public safety servant who is expected to courageously perform your duties, while upholding our core values of integrity, fairness and service.”

Even before the members of Class 152 met to begin their formal training, they began raising money to for the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics. In just weeks, the members of Class 152 raised more than $29,000 for Special Olympics, finishing first and setting a record for all police academy team fundraising in the 25-year history of the Plunge. Class members also participated in the Maryland Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in June.

Among the members of the class, six have prior military experience, four previously worked in law enforcement or corrections and 11 were Maryland State Police cadets. Twenty-two of the trooper candidates already had college degrees and another 20 enrolled in the concurrent Associate of Arts program with Frederick Community College. They received their degrees this week, prior to the Academy graduation.

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.

Video from Friday’s event can be viewed below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeMojZ4Rv1c&t=12s

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CT State Police Sergeant Brian Mohl Dies in Line of Duty After Cruiser is Swept Away During Woodbury Flood

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A well-respected veteran Connecticut State Trooper lost his life early this morning as sweeping floodwaters from the Pomperaug River flooded a road in Woodbury.

Hours after Troop L last heard from him, Sergeant Brian Mohl was found by search and rescue teams in the waters of the river, swollen by the torrential rains of downgraded Hurricane Ida. “It is with deep regret and sadness that I report that the State Police today lost a good man who dedicated more than a quarter-century to protecting the citizens of Connecticut. Sgt. Mohl was committed to helping others, to keeping public safety his priority and to always assisting his fellow Troopers,” said Colonel Stavros Mellekas, Commanding Officer of the State Police. “Every line of duty death is heartbreaking and the loss of Sgt. Mohl is no different. He was outside, in the middle of the night, in horrendous conditions, patrolling the Troop L area. He was doing a job he loved and he was taken much too soon,” Colonel Mellekas added.

Sergeant Mohl entered the State Police Training Academy on November 25, 1994, and graduated on June 1, 1995, with the 105th Training Troop. He was assigned to Troop A in Southbury and transferred to Troop L in Litchfield after being promoted to Sergeant in May 2000. He also served as Sergeant at Troop B in North Canaan, Troop G in Bridgeport and Troop H in Hartford before returning to Troop L in 2008. Sgt. Mohl is the 25th Connecticut State Trooper to die in the line of duty.

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 31 line of duty deaths due to drowning since 2010.

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FHP, FLHSMV MOURN THE LOSS OF TWO FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL MEMBERS

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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Deputy Director Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson released the following statement regarding the passing of FHP Trooper Sean Hryc and Compliance Investigator Ernest "Ernie" Brown:

“Today, the Florida Highway Patrol and FLHSMV family is deeply saddened and collectively heartbroken as we mourn the passing of FHP Trooper Sean Hryc and Compliance Investigator Ernie Brown. Trooper Hryc and Investigator Brown were both valued members of the Florida Highway Patrol, selflessly serving and protecting the residents of Florida for more than 17 and 30 years, respectively. Please keep their families and team members in your thoughts and prayers.”

– FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes
– FHP Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson

Trooper Sean Hryc and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) Compliance Investigator Ernie Brown of Troop I – Marion County, both lost their fight with COVID-19 today.

Trooper Hryc served the residents of Florida with the Florida Highway Patrol for more than 17 years. Prior to joining FHP, Trooper Hryc began his career in law enforcement with the Dade City Police Department.

Compliance Investigator Brown served the residents of Florida with the Florida Highway Patrol for more than 30 years. Prior to joining FHP, Brown began his law enforcement career with the Bushnell Police Department and was a member of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Please respect the privacy of their families at this time as they grieve this devastating loss.

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After pandemic delay, California Highway Patrol graduates latest cadet class

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A determined group of California Highway Patrol cadets made it to graduation this week after a year of pandemic-related delays and challenges.
The long-awaited graduation of California Highway Patrol Cadet Training Class I-20 took place on Friday at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento.
The CHP’s 119 newest officers — 18 women and 101 men — received their badges following a swearing-in ceremony 75 weeks after their training began.
Lake County is among the many counties included in the CHP’s vast Northern Division.
A total of six new officers have been assigned to the following Northern Division offices: one, Garberville; one, Humboldt; two, Willow Creek Resident Post; and two, Garberville, Laytonville Resident Post, said CHP spokesperson Jaime Coffee.
Traditionally, cadet training at the CHP Academy takes place over 29 weeks.
However, a little more than a month after arriving at the academy on Feb. 10, 2020, safety precautions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of the live-in training facility in West Sacramento.
While away from the academy, cadets were assigned to CHP Area offices throughout the state to observe a wide variety of activities and tasks uniformed officers routinely perform, enhancing the knowledge they had gained in the classroom.
Cadets also participated in online learning for the first time.
“To say these cadets have been well-trained would be an understatement,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said Friday. “Today’s graduates persevered through challenging circumstances over a lengthy period of time, demonstrating their commitment to serving the people of California.”
At the CHP Academy, cadet training starts with nobility in policing, leadership, professionalism and ethics, and cultural diversity. Cadets also receive instruction on mental illness response and crisis intervention techniques.
The training also covers vehicle patrol, accident investigation, first aid, and the apprehension 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 California Vehicle Code, Penal Code and Health and Safety Code.
Upon graduation, these uniquely trained cadets will be reporting for duty 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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Section of State Road 408 to be named for fallen FHP trooper

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A portion of State Road 408 will be named in honor of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was killed in a crash on the road in 2019.

Sergeant Tracy Vickers succumbed to his injuries after the accident near the Conway Road exit in Orlando. Vickers FHP Dodge vehicle was traveling eastbound around 6:00 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2019 when it struck a truck carrying construction equipment. Video from SkyFOX appeared to show the troopers car lodged underneath the truck.

Sgt. Vickers was 31-years-old at the time of his death. He served for four years with the FHP and was also a Navy veteran.

"We're all heartbroken at this tragic loss," said FHP Colonel Gene Spaulding. 

"He was passionate about the patrol, he took care of his own partners. He did what was needed. Did it willingly, passionately and that did a phenomenal job for us. He will truly be missed."

A portion of SR-408, between South Crystal Lake Drive and South Semoran Boulevard, will be dedicated in remembrance of Sgt. Vickers. FHP is planning a dedication ceremony on Friday.

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Michigan trooper receives bravery award for actions during Benton Harbor house fire

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An off-duty Michigan State Police trooper who saved a mother and two children received an award for his bravery.

Trooper Ryan Codde received the Bravery Award on July 12 during an employee recognition ceremony, a news release from MSP said.

“Trooper Codde risked his life twice to save this mother and her children,” Capt. Dave Sosinski said in the release. “We are extremely proud of him and his service to the residents of Michigan.”

Codde was driving with his son in Benton Harbor in February when he saw black smoke from a nearby building. He saw a chicken coop on fire, with a fire spreading to a home and abandoned building, police said.

There was a man pounding on the front door of the home, yelling for people inside to get out, police said.

A woman and two children lived in the home, the man told Codde. He told the man to call 911 and then entered the house because he did not hear emergency sirens, police said.

A front door and second door were locked so Codde kicked in the doors and ran upstairs where he found the mother and two young children. He was able to get them outside safely.

Codde then went back inside to make sure there was no one else inside, even as the fire spread more, police said. Once he heard sirens, he left the home.

Codde joined MSP in 2008 and he works with Emergency Support Team in the Special Operations Division.

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West Virginia State Police Sergeant John Syner passes away at 52-years-old

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Over the past 18 years, Sgt. John Syner has faithfully served the citizens of the State of West Virginia as a West Virginia State Trooper. His commitment and dedication in his service to others has been exemplary. Tragically, on Saturday, August 21, 2021 Sgt. Syner died while working on his property. The Go fund Me link below is extended to the public to help with expenses as a way to show their appreciation for Sgt Syner’s years of service. Sgt. Syner was taken far too soon and he was unable to reach the point of retirement. The family thanks each of you in advance for your gift.

https://gofund.me/d7a169b9

 

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New York State Trooper Dies After Entering Lake on Marine Detail

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Authorities say a state trooper who was working a marine detail northwest of Albany has died.

According to New York State Police, Trooper James Monda entered the water at a Great Sacandaga Lake boat launch in Fulton County around 4 p.m. Sunday. He did not resurface.

A news release indicated the 45-year-old Monda was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, where he died. No details were made available regarding the circumstances surrounding the trooper's death.

Monda lived in Schenectady County. He is survived by his fiancée and his parents.

Monda had served with the state police for 18 years.

Trooper Monda entered the State Police in September 2002 and served with the State Police for 18 years. He spent most of his career working for Troop G in the Albany area.

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