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49 new troopers become part of the Washington State Patrol

WSP Graduates 4 26 17

At a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda this afternoon, 49 Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers were sworn in by the Associate Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court Mary E. Fairhurst.  They were presented their commission cards by Governor Jay Inslee and Chief John R. Batiste, who welcomed them into an organization known and trusted by the citizens of Washington State.  After completing over 1,000 hours of training, these men and women will join Washington's premier law enforcement organization.  The Washington State Patrol Academy produces approximately three cadet classes each biennium, which accounts for about 100 to 120 new troopers.  Historically, only about four to six percent of the total number of applicants makes the grade to become WSP troopers.  "The 49 cadets graduating today endured a rigorous application process, extensive background investigation, and received the best training, unmatched anywhere else in the nation," said Chief John Batiste. "Today, they will join the ranks of Washington's finest, as troopers of the Washington State Patrol."  A tradition that began 96 years ago on June 21, 1921, when six brave men kick-started their Indian motorcycles, strapped on an arm band, and started a proud tradition known today as the Washington State Patrol.  The tradition continues to this day with the graduation of the 107th Trooper Basic Training Class at the Capitol Rotunda, signaled by the stream of shiny white patrol vehicles parked in the lanes leading up to the Capitol steps.

4/27/17

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Delaware Corporal gunned down while investigating a suspicious vehicle

Fallen Delaware Trooper 1

Corporal Stephen Ballard was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle at a gas station on Pulaski Highway, near Salem Church Road, in Bear, Delaware.  He made contact with two people he observed in the vehicle, at which point of the men began struggling with him.  The man pushed Corporal Ballard away from him and began to run.  After taking several steps he turned around and opened fire on Corporal Ballard, fatally wounding him.  Responding officers apprehended one of the subjects at the scene.  The second subject fled to his home where he barricaded himself inside.  Corporal Ballard had served with the Delaware State Police for 8-1/2 years and was assigned to Troop 2, Glasgow.  He is survived by his wife.

4/28/17

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Moving Over: Trooper's vehicle hit while conducting traffic stop

WSP trooper injured during crash investigation

For Washington State Patrol (WSP) Troopers, the highway serves as an office.  On April 14, 2017, a WSP cruiser was struck along the highway injuring the trooper.  In this case, the trooper was in the middle of a traffic stop along Interstate five near Fife when he was injured and transported to a nearby hospital for neck and back pain as well as facial lacerations.  “Each and every time we turn on our lights and get out of the car, we know we are stepping into potential danger from our fellow motorists passing by,” says WSP Field Operations Captain Tim Coley.”  Tragically, last year, 15 officers around the country were killed after being struck by a vehicle.”  According to preliminary investigative reports, the driver of the car was driving drowsy, which may be a contributing factor to the collision.  This incident puts a spotlight on the dangerous reality that some drivers aren’t paying attention while on the road.  This behavior puts other drivers and trooper’s lives at risk.  This collision, along with 29 other patrol cars hit just last year, were all preventable.  “Don’t let distractions, drowsiness, or impairment lead to the injury or death of your fellow Washingtonians, especially those out trying to make your journey safer,” says Captain Coley.  According to the “Move Over” law, RCW 46.61.212, drivers approaching an emergency zone are required to either move over to another lane in the same direction, if it is safe to do so, or if a driver is unable to move over safely, proceed with caution and reduce the speed of their vehicle.  Emergency vehicles are defined as police cruisers, fire vehicles, medical units, tow trucks and vehicles providing roadside assistance which make use of hazard lights.  “Our request of the public is simple: stay alert and stay safe,” says Captain Coley.  “Just like you, we travel the roadways every day with the goal of making them safer so we can all get back home.”

4/26/17

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Highway Patrol K-9 strikes gold: 2 arrested after 1 pound of meth discovered

MSP find meth

On Monday morning, a Missouri state trooper stopped a southbound 2003 Chevrolet pickup on Interstate 29 at the 57-mile marker in Andrew County.  Circumstances led to the trooper conducting a probable cause search of the vehicle after a Missouri State Highway Patrol K-9 made a sniff search of the vehicle.  The search revealed one pound of methamphetamine located in the vehicle.  The driver, Jeff E. Hart, 31, of Las Vegas, Nevada, and passenger Omar M. Chapman, 39, of Las Vegas, Nevada, were arrested for trafficking of a controlled substance.  The suspects were transported to the Andrew County Sheriff’s Department in Savannah, MO.

4/26/17

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Dad driving laboring mom to hospital helped by state troopers in highway birth

NY Troopers help deliver baby

Two New York state troopers have teamed up to help deliver a woman's baby in a vehicle on the side of a highway after she couldn't make it to a hospital.  State police say the troopers responded early Saturday morning to a report of a disabled vehicle on an Interstate 90 ramp near Albany.  They say 25-year-old Kristi Koppenhafer, of Gloversville, started giving birth in the vehicle while her husband was driving her to the hospital.  The two troopers helped the man assist his wife with the birth of a healthy girl as the vehicle was parked on the highway shoulder.  An ambulance crew arrived soon after and took the mother and baby to a hospital, where troopers say both are reported to be in good health.

4/25/17

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Pennsylvania State Police graduates 90 troopers

PSP 148 graduation

There are now 90 new state troopers serving in the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police.  90 cadets graduated the state police academy Friday morning, as part of the agency's 148th cadet class.  "Today is a very exciting day for these men and women," said Corporal Adam Reed.  “All the hard work that they've put into the training academy and beginning their careers is going to come to fruition.  The men and women graduating here today put a lot of very hard work into becoming Pennsylvania State Police troopers."  All of the new troopers completed 27 weeks of intense training.  The graduation ceremony also marked the inaugural presentation of the Colonel Ronald M. Sharpe Leadership Award, named for the first African-American Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.  Graduating cadet Andrew Kobert, of Washington County, was presented with the award, for exemplifying honesty, integrity, vision, and courage during his tenure at the State Police Academy.

4/25/17

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BOK Center lights up to honor state troopers

OKHP BOK Center

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is celebrating 80 years of service and protecting Oklahoma citizens.  On Thursday night, the BOK Center lit up its wall with blue to honor the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.  The state of Oklahoma welcomed the department April 20, 1937 to protect Oklahomans on state roads and highways.  They are the only law enforcement agency to have a presence in all 77 counties.   State Trooper Dwight Durant says his own father was a trooper and the honor of lighting the BOK Arena means a lot.  “In light of things that have happened recently, whenever somebody recognizes us even at a convenience store or even at a restaurant, or the BOK Center for what they are doing, we are just overwhelmed with appreciation to know the citizens have our back,” said Durant.  The Department of Public Safety asked the BOK Center to light up its wall.  A spokesperson says they were happy to be a part.  The Devon Building in Oklahoma City is also lit up in blue to congratulate the Highway Patrol.

4/24/17

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Florida Highway Patrol finds more than $1.5 million in drugs, contraband

 

In a three-day operation, state troopers made 122 misdemeanor arrests, 61 felony arrests and 75 drug arrests and caught up with eight people who were fugitives or sought by a warrant, the Florida Highway Patrol said Friday.  The Highway Patrol's criminal interdiction unit, in a partnership with the North Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, conducted the operation in the Duval County region.  The detail went from April 11 to April 13, and it targeted illegal drugs, illegal activity and contraband, FHP said.  Troopers called this a “highly successful event.”  Investigators seized four stolen vehicles, eight illegal firearms, about $12,000 worth of stolen merchandise, $687 in U.S. currency, 416 pounds of synthetic marijuana, 286 grams of marijuana, 95.87 grams of powder cocaine, 4.1 grams of crack cocaine, 2.4 grams of heroin, six grams of methamphetamine, 11.6 grams of MDMA (Ecstasy), 13 grams of illegal prescription medication, and assorted drug paraphernalia.  The estimated value of all the items was listed as $1,531,308, according to FHP.

4/24/17

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Trooper from Mississippi runs in Boston Marathon and finished in the top 9%

MHP Trooper Kindle Jones running Boston Marathon

A Mississippi Highway Patrolman recently home after running in the Boston Marathon.  Trooper Wade Jones trained for months for the race.  “I always say if you’re not comfortable while you’re training, you’re not getting any better,” Jones said.  Jones' training paid off because he finished in the top 9%. He was the 2,690th person to cross the finish line of more than 31,000 runners.  Out of the Mississippians who ran in this year's Boston Marathon, Jones placed 2nd.  He said running is stress relief and something he loves doing. His goal for the next race is to come in first in the state.  “My dad, because of an accident he had, was supposed to go.  His goal was for me to be the best in Mississippi.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to accomplish that, but I guess I’ll settle for second for right now though,” Jones said.  “But hey, it will give me something to shoot for next time -- to be the first place out of Mississippi.”  Jones said he’s been running for 12 or 13 years, but this is his first time competing in the Boston Marathon.  He finished in about three hours and nine minutes.

4/21/17

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Mississippi trooper home from impressive run in Boston Marathon

MHP Trooper Kindle Jones running Boston Marathon

A Mississippi Highway Patrolman recently home after running in the Boston Marathon.  Trooper Wade Jones trained for months for the race.  “I always say if you’re not comfortable while you’re training, you’re not getting any better,” Jones said.  Jones' training paid off because he finished in the top 9%. He was the 2,690th person to cross the finish line of more than 31,000 runners.  Out of the Mississippians who ran in this year's Boston Marathon, Jones placed 2nd.  He said running is stress relief and something he loves doing. His goal for the next race is to come in first in the state.  “My dad, because of an accident he had, was supposed to go.  His goal was for me to be the best in Mississippi.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to accomplish that, but I guess I’ll settle for second for right now though,” Jones said.  “But hey, it will give me something to shoot for next time -- to be the first place out of Mississippi.”  Jones said he’s been running for 12 or 13 years, but this is his first time competing in the Boston Marathon.  He finished in about three hours and nine minutes.

4/20/17

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Distracted driving can ruin your day or take your life

Distracted Driving

For drivers who believe that they can multitask safely while on the road — they're wrong.  It is universally known driving while distracted is dangerous. Study after study has shown distracted driving is unsafe.  In Florida, distracted driving crashes make up more than 12 percent of all crashes, and half of those crashes will result in injury or death.  Safety campaigns around the world reiterate the fact that distracted driving kills, yet still, drivers continue to reach for the cellphone, look down at their navigation system, turn around to talk to passengers in the vehicle, apply mascara or eat lunch while driving.  In South Florida alone, there were more than 10,400 distracted driving crashes in 2015.  In Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties 31 people were killed and 7,850 people were injured from crashes where a driver admitted to being distracted.  Preliminary numbers show that last year the Florida Highway Patrol worked one of the highest number of fatal crashes in Florida in the department's history.  Distracted driving crashes are increasing every year, and every day we read about tragic, preventable crashes on Florida roads.  When operating a motor vehicle, driving should always be your only focus.  In that split second that you look away from the road, take your hands off the wheel or stop focusing on driving, you don't see the family that just stepped into the crosswalk.  You don't see the light in front of you that just turned red.  You don't see the car in front of you that has come to a quick stop.  Statewide, more than 200 people were killed from distracted driving crashes last year.  That is 200 families changed forever.  We all see those drivers weaving around the lane as they text and drive, reading the newspaper, putting on makeup or dancing to the song on the radio as they race to their destinations.  They make us less safe on the road.  Driving distracted can not only hurt you and your passengers, but can greatly influence driving behavior of others, especially young, impressionable drivers.  Teens make up 4.5 percent of licensed drivers, yet in 2015, they were responsible for almost 12 percent of distracted driving crashes.  In fact, drivers under the age of 30 accounted for the highest rate of distracted driving crashes in 2015 and more than 12,000 crashes last year were caused by just being inattentive — not being focused on driving.  This April, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is reaching out to remind motorists the focus should always be on driving and getting to your destination safely.  Every day there are more than 125 distracted driving crashes across our state, more than five crashes every hour. Focus on driving, Florida.  Model good driving behavior and talk with kids about responsible driving to keep us all safe on the road.

4/20/17

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The fastest Mississippi runner in this year's Boston Marathon was Thomas Witter of the Mississippi Highway Patrol

MSP finishes first of other MSP trooper in marathon

The fastest Mississippi runner in this year's Boston Marathon was a 31-year-old man from Columbus.  Thomas Witter crossed the finish line in 3:02.20 on Monday, which put him No. 1,701 overall and first among those from the Magnolia State.  Another finisher, Bret Beauchamp of Oxford, was caught by an Associated Press photographer helping a runner cross the finish line.  Here's a list of the 27 finishers from Mississippi:

Thomas Witter (31, male, Columbus): 3:02.20

Kindle Jones (35, m, Mathiston): 3:09.24

Dan Vega (41, m, Hattiesburg): 3:10.24

Jim Brown (38, m, Tupelo): 3:14.30

Bryan Chase (42, m, Brandon): 3:15.12

Charles Wambolt (52, m, Long Beach): 3:15.44

Bret Beauchamp (42, m, Oxford): 3:25.40

Clayton Marshall (24, m, Vancleave): 3:29.19

Joe Mitchell (53, m, Biloxi): 3:34.43

Amy Chandler (36, female, Corinth): 3:35.52

Kevin Preston (54, m, Perkinston): 3:36.10

Erin Ball (37, f, Oxford): 3:40.36

Robby Callahan (53, m, Guntown): 3:41.59

Kristi Hall (38, f, Vicksburg): 3:44.23

Mary Krapac (52, f, Vicksburg): 3:48.20

Esther Sanders (47, f, Belden): 3:49.04

Lauren Jackson (32, f, Kiln): 3:50.40

Apryl Handy (31, f, Perkinston): 3:50.40

Lee Jones (41, f, Madison): 3:51.33

Jessica Ferguson (39, f, Hernando): 3:51.43

Kayleigh Skinner (24, f, Jackson): 3:55.52

Dawn Gregory (55, f, Gulfport): 3:57.45

Melanie Freeland (46, f, Brandon): 4:15.16

Jane Kersh (51, f, Hattiesburg): 4:24.36

Beverly Thompson (40, f, Oxford): 4:25.48

Susan Dobson (41, f, Petal): 4:53.10

Kenneth Williams (75, m, Corinth): 4:57.37

4/20/17

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New Hampshire State Police troopers run in Boston marathon to raise money for charity

NHSP run Boston Marathon

New Hampshire State Police had many members of the Division run the 121st Boston Marathon on Patriots Day April 17, 2017.  All together, they raised a total of $8,735 for the amazing children’s charity "Cops for Kids with Cancer" that will be donated to a New Hampshire family in their time of need.  If you were among those that supported the team’s goal that was exceeded by nearly $4,000 this year, thank you! #NHSP

4/19/17

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Fast-acting trooper made the link that cracked a murder case

 

A quick-thinking state trooper who reported spotting a driver who matched the description of the suspect in Vanessa Marcotte’s slaying is being credited with coming up with the all-important “break in the case” after he scrawled the license plate on his hand and followed up at the man’s home address.  “It goes to the job these people do every day,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said of trooper Robert Parr, who was working an unrelated detail in Worcester in mid-March when he noticed a man matching the suspect description driving a dark SUV and quickly wrote the license plate number on his hand.  After a visit to the driver’s address turned up empty, Early said, Parr left his card and asked for a return phone call.  When he didn’t receive a phone call, Early said, Parr stopped by again the following day and obtained an oral swab test from Angelo Colon-Ortiz, whose DNA would later be matched to a sample retrieved from Marcotte’s hands.  And though investigators thanked the public for the more than 1,300 tips provided by the public, Early noted that Parr was the one who delivered the “break in the case.”  State police Col. Richard D. McKeon also praised Parr, saying he “exemplified that trait that all good detectives have: to be always on the case, looking for the one piece of information to break it open, even when in the middle of other duties.”  “His mind, and the minds of his fellow detectives, were always on this case,” McKeon said, “and because of that we are in a position tonight to speak for Ms. Marcotte.”

4/19/17

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Hard working trooper is named Maryland State Police trooper of the year

 MDSP Trooper of the Year

Maryland State Police Trooper Charles Tittle was named trooper of the year, after his just second year as a patrol trooper.  His statistics are impressive.  Last year, he made 1,010 traffic stops and issued 1,400 citations last year.  He was named the barrack t Trooper Tittle also arrested 60 impaired drivers and arrested 109 people wanted on warrants.  He responded to almost 2,000 calls for service and recovered seven firearms during traffic stops.  He was the primary trooper on eight heroin overdose cases and assisted on two others.  He personally administered Naloxone to nine overdose victims, including two who were unconscious in the same residence.  Each of the nine victims treated by Trooper Tittle recovered.  He was also injured when a drunk driver hit his police car.

4/18/17

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