Highway Patrol Sergeant nearly killed in collision is happy to be back on the road

Montana HP Sergeant returns to work after 8 months

Sgt. Scott Bennett still has difficulties descending stairs — “my ankle just doesn’t want to bend that way” — but he’s back in his uniform and in his new Montana Highway Patrol car, off of light desk duty and onto the streets.  The road that led to his recovery lasted a long eight months for Bennett, who was injured in a head-on crash on U.S. Highway 93 by an alleged impaired driver during a snowstorm March 8.  Bennett was driving northbound and a Dodge Intrepid driven southbound by David Deshazo slid out of control about 6 a.m. and into the northbound lane on a curve.  Deshazo, 44, is charged with two felonies — negligent vehicular assault and criminal endangerment — relating to the accident.  Not only does the moment of impact replay in Bennett’s head, he’s watched it a few times on the video captured on his patrol car camera.  “The camera was by my head,” he says, holding his right hand near his eye, “so the video is exactly what I saw.  Every time I watch it, or think about it, I cringe.  It was a snowstorm, and I just see this car coming at me.”  When the crash occurred, his right foot was pushing down hard on the brake pedal, and the engine came through the firewall into the passenger compartment, breaking his right tibia and fibia, and shattering other bones into pieces. He slumped over into the passenger seat after the impact, but didn’t lose consciousness. In the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital’s emergency room, Bennett was in so much pain he begged for doctors to take his right leg off.  He endured three surgeries, which involved inserting plates, screws and cadaver bones in his leg.  At one point, he wore an “external fixator” that consisted of bolts through his ankle and a metal external plate that immobilized it.  Bennett spent the first few weeks in a haze, lying on his couch, consuming pain pills and keeping the ankle elevated with ice on it.  He watched movies, dozed, and tried not to think that his 17-year career could be finished.  “It would be easy to give up; I could have taken medical retirement, but I didn’t want to go that route,” Bennett recalled.  “In this career, you identify as a person — it’s kind of who you are — as a law enforcement officer.  It doesn’t stop when you get off shift.  “Because of the extent of the damage, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to come back to full duty.  You have to run, jump and fight, things that involve a lot of physical activity.  I wasn’t sure I’d get back.”  He went to physical therapy, but also returned to his lifelong love of lifting weights.  At first, he went to the gym once a week, then twice a week, then three times. The workouts started lightly, then he added more weight.  Bennett laughs, recalling how he would have to push down on his right leg to accelerate his vehicle to get to the gym.  “Luckily, it wasn’t too far, and I could use my left leg to brake,” he said.  After five months of what he called an excruciating period of time, he was allowed back on light duty status.  That meant paperwork at his desk, out of uniform, and without a marked MHP vehicle.  “It was very frustrating,” he recalled.  “I would be in the office, maybe approving reports, but across the scanner would come a nearby call and I couldn’t run on it.”  A few short weeks ago, his doctor cleared him for patrol duty.  He’s got a new vehicle, the old uniform, and new boots.  His old rig was totaled in the accident and his duty boots were cut off.  His supervisor, Sgt. Jim Kitchin, is thrilled to have Bennett return.  He notes that with only 242 officers statewide, anytime one is off the streets it’s felt throughout the ranks.  Along with having to move people around to cover shifts, it limits their opportunities to do proactive policing.  “Sgt. Bennett is one of the sergeants that we like to have on the road, and he likes to be out there working with his team,” Kitchin said.  “Having him back is great.”  Bennett knows he’ll never be the same. He’s expected to have severe arthritis in his right ankle as he ages.  He’s still in a lot of discomfort, and the accident limits some physical activities, like racquetball.  But he feels he is close to the end of his road to recovery.  “I’m adapting to my new reality,” Bennett said.  “But it’s good to be back.  I’ve been to a couple of crashes, have made some traffic stops, and even just finished making an arrest.  I’m still in the office doing paperwork a lot, because that’s part of my job, but it’s good to be back.”

11/28/17

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Texas Trooper killed in line of duty


Capture

Trooper Damon Allen was shot and killed while making a traffic stop on I-45 in Freestone County, just south of Fairfield, at approximately 4:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day.  He had contacted the driver and was returning to his patrol car when the man exited his car and opened fire with a rifle.  Trooper Allen was killed at the scene.  The man was located in Waller County several hours later and taken into custody after exchanging shots with officers.  Trooper Allen had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for 15 years.  He is survived by his wife and three children.

11/27/17

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Governor Baker names Kerry Gilpin new Massachusetts State Police Superintendent

MSP New Colonel

Kerry A. Gilpin, a 23-year State Police veteran who turned to a career in law enforcement after the murder of her sister, took command of the 2,200-person force on Wednesday, a day after her predecessor and his top deputy abruptly retired amid a scandal over an altered police report.  In a closed door ceremony at his office, Governor Charlie Baker swore in Gilpin, 47, a major who previously served as deputy division commander of the Division of Standards and Training, which oversees internal affairs as well as the State Police training academy.  “It is the mission of the Massachusetts State Police to keep the Commonwealth safe and I have the utmost confidence that Colonel Gilpin will excel as the leader of our tremendous police force,” said Baker in a statement.  “Colonel Gilpin brings decades of experience and knowledge to her post, with a deep understanding of the State Police force at every level.”

11/20/17

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North Dakota Highway Patrol switching from white to black vehicles

NDHP changing vehicles

After more than 20 years, North Dakota Highway Patrol's white vehicles are being replaced with black ones, with the thought that they will sell for more at auction.  "Every year we have patrol cars hit out there and it's usually during those days where we have low visibility during those snow events we have going on in North Dakota,” said Niewind  The NDHP has started switching their fleet from white to black, saying safety is one of the reasons.  "There's reflective markings on both the passenger and driver side of the vehicle, and then on the rear of that vehicle. So as traffic is coming up on that with their headlights on at night, our cars light up like a railroad vehicle, or a fire truck or ambulance,” said Niewind.  Niewind hopes the new reflectors ends the trend of cars getting hit.  The Highway Patrol says it will take about four years for the entire fleet to be changed to black.

11/20/17

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Florida Highway Patrol Trooper seriously injured in crash leaves hospital

FHP Crash Andy Ong

A Florida Highway Patrol injured in a crash last month on Interstate 95 in Lantana has been released from a hospital, a spokesman for FHP said.  Trooper Andy Ong was released Friday from Delray Medical Center, Sgt. Mark Wysocky said.  Ong, 51, is still recovering from serious injuries from the Oct. 1 crash and a GoFundMe online fundraising page has been created to help pay for his expenses.  On the day of the injury, the trooper was standing on the shoulder of the highway near the rear of his patrol vehicle, pointing a speed-measuring device, when the driver of a Honda Accord heading north near Hypoluxo Road changed lanes and hit a Ford Focus.  The driver of the Ford lost control and slammed into Ong and his patrol car.  Ong, a Palm Beach County resident, had several surgeries while in the hospital.  The driver of the Honda, 31-year-old Aliz Beauplan of Boynton Beach, and the driver of the Ford, 27-year-old Amanda Winnegar of Palm Springs, were taken to JFK Medical Center in Atlantis with minor injuries.  The crash remains under investigation and no charges have filed, Wysocky said.

11/14/17

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Tennessee Trooper Rescues Driver Impaled by Deer Antler

THP Trooper saves life

A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper sent to the scene of a Nashville area car crash is credited with saving the life of a driver whose neck was punctured by an antler of a deer that went through her windshield.  When Trooper Russell Bernard arrived at the scene, the driver of the crashed car was bleeding heavily from a large puncture wound in her neck, according to a news release from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.  Bernard applied pressure to the wound until emergency medical services personnel arrived.  The deer had been hit by another vehicle and thrown through the victim's windshield.  Its antlers also punctured the driver's seat, according to the release.  "I commend Trooper Bernard for taking swift action to save the life of the injured driver," THP Colonel Tracy Trott said.  "Trooper Bernard was able to apply his cadet training and respond quickly using the proper technique and protocol.  I am proud of the work we do every day to save lives on our Tennessee roadways."  The driver, who had a torn artery, was taken by EMS personnel to a Dickson, Tenn., hospital and later flown to Skyline Hospital in Nashville for emergency surgery, the release states.

11/13/17

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Wyoming Highway Patrol graduates 8 troopers

WHP November 2017 graduation

The Wyoming Highway Patrol recently commissioned eight recruits to the rank of Trooper upon the completion of their intensive training academy.  During their academy, the new Troopers were instructed in a variety of classes including firearms, commercial carrier, physical training, RADAR/LIDAR, emergency vehicle operation, custody and control, crash investigation and other pertinent training.  The members of Class 93 that were new to law enforcement participated in over 1,210 hours of academy training.  Being a State Trooper for the Wyoming Highway Patrol can be a challenging, yet rewarding career as it takes a special person to become a Wyoming State Trooper. All Troopers take an oath to protect and serve all citizens of this great state with courtesy, professionalism, and integrity as Wyoming’s Troopers represent the agency brand of “Guardians of the Cowboy State”.  The new Troopers participated in their swearing-in ceremony in front of family and friends at the Wyoming Supreme Court on Nov. 2nd.  The ceremony marked the 93rd graduated Wyoming Highway Patrol Academy.

11/8/17

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Texas Senior Trooper killed in line of duty

End of Watch Texas Trooper

Senior Trooper Tom Nipper killed in a vehicle crash while conducting a traffic stop on southbound I-35, near Midway Drive, in Temple.  He was sitting in his patrol car during the stop when it was struck from behind by a pickup truck.  The impact caused the patrol car to strike the stopped vehicle and Trooper Nipper.  He was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.  Trooper Nipper had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for almost 35 years.  He is survived by his wife and three children.

11/7/17

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Washington State Patrol graduates 39 troopers

WSP November 2017 graduation

Thirty-nine state troopers were sworn in Thursday at a ceremony in Olympia, officially beginning their service.  Governor Jay Inslee and Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste recognized the cadets at the swearing-in ceremony.  “Twenty-six weeks of training has prepared you for the moment that has led you to stand before us today,” said Batiste.  Cadets train for over 1,000 hours in defensive driving, firearms management and how to interact with the public.  “You are the recipients of the best training of any law enforcement agency in the United States,” said Inslee.  The Washington State Patrol Academy produces approximately three cadet classes each biennium, accounting for about 100 to 120 new troopers.  Only about four to six percent of the total number of applicants makes the grade to become state troopers.

11/6/17

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Fallen South Carolina trooper laid to rest after he 'accomplished his mission'

SCHP Funeral of trooper killed in line of duty

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety mourned the death of trooper Daniel Keith Rebman, Jr. who was buried Sunday in Greenville.  The funeral services were held at Bob Jones University, and graveside services were held at Woodlawn Cemetery.  Rebman died after his patrol vehicle was struck early in the morning on Oct. 24.  He is the 51st state trooper to die serving the state of South Carolina, according to the SCDPS.  “Tuesday was a reminder that while – yes, we are strong – we are not invincible,” SCDPS director Leroy Smith said in a news release.  “We too are subject to the same forces of nature, accidents and violence – just like those we protect.  I believe that is why ‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers’ is such a comforting verse at a time like this.  It is these special people – the peacemakers – who are so blessed because they risk their lives for you, and me and for strangers.  Trooper Rebman was doing just that on October 24, 2017.”  Rebman, 31, died from injuries sustained in a line-of-duty collision.  Rebman was stationary in his Patrol vehicle in the emergency lane of I-385 near Bridges Road when his Ford Taurus Patrol car was struck from behind by a pick-up truck around 12:23 a.m., according to the SCDPS.  Private visitation services were held Saturday for family and friends of Rebman, who is survived by his wife, Michelle, and three young daughters – Olivia, Charlee, and Kennedy.  Rebman always desired to serve his community, and shortly after moving to Greenville in 2011 he began to pursue a career in law enforcement, according to his obituary posted by the Mackey Mortuary.  After serving as a dispatcher for the Highway Patrol for 4 years, he graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 2016, at which time he was awarded the Captain Cecil Dilworth Marksmanship Award.  Rebman joined South Carolina Highway Patrol in September 2016.  The Orlando, Fla. native began his career in Troop Six/Charleston/Berkeley before being transferred to Troop Three/Greenville.  “He believed in his mission and he accomplished his mission,” Smith said of Rebman, who was given full honors by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.  “And for that, the state of South Carolina says a humble and grateful ‘job well done, Trooper Rebman.’ ”  Members from more than 15 state patrols from as far away as California came to pay their respects along with hundreds of state and local officers.  “Trooper Rebman died as he lived – a quiet hero – to his family, to his fellow troopers, to his church, and to his community,” SCHP Col. Chris Williamson said in a news release.  “Trooper Rebman’s death was a cruel reminder that this job doesn’t come with promises or reassurances.  But I want to remind our men and women in uniform that even through this sense of tremendous heartache and loss, we must continue to lean on each other and assume the watch from this point forward.”  “Trooper Rebman died as he lived – a quiet hero – to his family, to his fellow troopers, to his church, and to his community,” SCHP Col. Chris Williamson said in a news release. “Trooper Rebman’s death was a cruel reminder that this job doesn’t come with promises or reassurances. But I want to remind our men and women in uniform that even through this sense of tremendous heartache and loss, we must continue to lean on each other and assume the watch from this point forward.”    Michelle Rebman shared an example of law enforcement rallying around the family of their fallen brother.  She posted a picture on Facebook Saturday of a fellow trooper sitting on the grass with one of Rebman’s daughters.  In addition to his wife and children, Rebman is survived by his parents, Daniel and Theresa Rebman, of Georgia, a sister and many extended family.

11/1/17

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State Highway Patrol troopers seize 70 pounds of marijuana

OSP Pot bust

The Ohio State Highway Patrol has filed felony charges against a California man after a Tuesday traffic stop in Wood County.  Troopers stopped a 2001 Acura MDX with California license plates on Oct. 24 at 12:05pm.  The driver, 25-year-old Pablo Ryan Herrerra of California, was pulled over for a following too close violation on I-80 near milepost 65.  A Patrol drug-sniffing dog alerted to the vehicle, and officers found 70 pounds of marijuana, valued at approximately $280,000.  Herrerra was charged with possession and trafficking in marijuana, both second-degree felonies.

10/30/17

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North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers aim to combat misconceptions

NCHP Ride Along

“We are not here to hand out tickets and to put people in jail.  We are here to save lives.”  Those were the words Tuesday of N.C. Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Jimmie Silver during a near daylong ride-along as he talked about misconceptions and stereotypes that surround the agency.  The ride-along was meant to illustrate everything the Highway Patrol does in order to keep Twin Counties drivers safe on and off the area’s roads each day.  From changing a flat tire to reminding a driver about a license plate that was about to fall from her car to responding to a wreck on Interstate 95 and more, Silver showed what troopers do each day to keep drivers safe.  He stressed throughout the day that changing the view of what the agency does is important due to people’s perception of not just the Highway Patrol but law enforcement in general.  “People think law enforcement is out to get them,” Silver said.  “I think that is because there is so much negativity surrounding law enforcement on television.”  He added parents telling their children that the police might come to get them if they misbehave does not help combat those stereotypes and misconceptions, either.  Local resident Keauna Blunt, who is a parent, said her perception of the Highway Patrol was only positive after trooper Macy Cannon changed a flat tire on Blunt’s car.  “I feel like this is great,” Blunt said.  “This is a wonderful thing because I really needed this.”  Cannon said knowing she made a positive difference in someone’s life just by changing a tire made her happy.  “Being able to help anybody makes doing this job worth it,” Cannon said with a smile.  Changing Blunt’s tire was just one of the ways that the Highway Patrol made a positive difference Tuesday in the Twin Counties.  Silver reminded one driver along U.S. 64 that she was about to lose her license plate because it was not secured and educated another about ways that a seatbelt can be worn without it causing discomfort, rather than giving the driver a ticket.  Silver said that both stops ending peacefully was encouraging.  “It makes you feel good,” Silver said, adding not every stop is so peaceful.  Keeping drivers safe from each other and from themselves is just one more way the Highway Patrol keeps the state’s roads safe.  Its employees also work in the state’s many weigh stations, making sure tractor-trailers are not overloaded or improperly loaded.  Silver said tracking tractor-trailers — along with checking the state’s rest stops, schools and other locations — is another side of troopers’ work that few people know about.  He said he hopes that by showing that work and everything else that troopers do, drivers would see that the Highway Patrol “is not out to get anyone, but just to save lives.”  Silver, who is also a military veteran, recently announced he will retire from the N.C. Highway Patrol at the end of this month.

10/27/17

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New York State Police make a major drug seizure

NYSP drugs seizure

On October 21, 2017, the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), in conjunction with the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, conducted a narcotics investigation resulting in the arrest of a Poughkeepsie man on felony drug charges.  State Police made a major drug seizure of approximately 12 kilograms of cocaine and 42 pounds of marihuana.  The estimated street value of the illegal drugs is over two million dollars.  K9 Rickie and his handler assisted with the seizure of the drugs.

10/26/17

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South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper killed in line-of-duty

 SCHP Officer Down October 2017

 Trooper Daniel Rebman was killed in a vehicle crash when his patrol car was struck by another vehicle on I-385, near Bridges Road, in Greenville County.  He was parked on the shoulder of I-385 when a pickup truck left the roadway and struck his patrol car from behind at approximately 12:20 am. Trooper Rebman was transported to a local hospital where he died later in the afternoon.  Trooper Rebman had served with the South Carolina Highway Patrol for 13 months and was assigned to Post C.  He is survived by his wife, three children, parents, and sister.

10/25/17

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Indiana State Police graduates 33 new troopers

Indiana SP October 2017 graduation

October 19, 2017, the 77th Indiana State Police Recruit Academy completed their graduation ceremony in the Indiana State Capitol Rotunda.  Opening remarks were made by Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter, followed by a commencement address from The Honorable Eric J. Holcomb, Governor of the State Of Indiana.  After the commencement address the oath of office for the 33 new state police officers was delivered by The Honorable Christopher Goff, of the Indiana Supreme Court.  Each new trooper was then presented their badge and official identification by Superintendent Carter and his staff.   This graduation marked the culmination of 24 weeks of intense training that exceeded 1,000 hours.  Some subject areas of training included criminal and traffic law, crash investigations, emergency vehicle operations, defensive tactics, firearms, and a host of other subjects related to modern policing.  Each graduating trooper will be assigned to one of 14 State Police Posts across Indiana. Once at their assigned district, the new troopers will spend the next three months working side by side with a series of experienced Field Training Officers (FTO).  The purpose of the field training is to put to practical application the training received over the duration of the formal academe training.  Upon successful completion of field training, the new troopers will be assigned a state police patrol vehicle and will begin solo patrol in their assigned district.

10/24/17

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