‘Trooper Joseph Gallagher Memorial Bridge' dedicated

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation designating a local state Thruway bridge to honor the memory of Trooper Joseph Gallagher, who died in the line of duty after being struck by a distracted motorist.

Located a short distance away from Thruway Exit 54, the bridge crosses over New York State Route 16 in West Seneca, the Erie County town where the deceased trooper resided.

"Trooper Gallagher dedicated his life to keeping his fellow New Yorkers safe and was actively assisting a disabled motorist when he was gravely injured by a distracted driver," Cuomo said in a release. "His passing early this spring is yet another reminder of the selfless actions our state police and other first responders perform daily. We pay homage to Trooper Gallagher's life and ultimate sacrifice by designating this bridge in his honor."

Gallagher joined the State Police in 2014 and was previously assigned to Troop F and Troop T. He was last assigned to Troop L, working out of the State Police barracks in Brentwood.

In December 2017, Gallagher was assisting a disabled motorist on the Long Island Expressway at the entrance ramp to the Sagtikos Parkway when he was struck by a distracted driver. Though he initially survived the crash, he died of his injuries in March, and is survived by his wife, two children, parents, sister, and brothers.

The driver of the vehicle that struck Gallagher was charged in connection with the crash. He later pleaded guilty to assault with criminal negligence. 

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan said, "Trooper Gallagher grew up in South Buffalo and West Seneca and dedicated his life to helping others. He served our nation as a helicopter pilot with the Coast Guard before becoming a proud member of the State Police. Naming this bridge in his honor is one way to acknowledge his sacrifice and it will stand as a reminder to the community of his hard work and dedication."

Assembly Member Pat Burke said, "Naming a portion of the New York State Thruway after State Trooper Joseph Gallagher is the least we can do to honor the life of a fallen hero. Trooper Gallagher was working to bring the driver of a disabled vehicle to safety when he was struck by a distracted motorist in 2017. Sadly, he succumbed to those injuries this past March 2021. He was 38-years-old, a Buffalo native and Bishop Timon graduate. My condolences go out to Trooper Gallagher's wife, two children, his parents, and the extended Gallagher family in South Buffalo."

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HOMES FOR HEROES AND THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE TROOPERS PARTNER TO HELP THEIR MEMBERS IN THEIR HOME SALE OR PURCHASE

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Homes for Heroes and the American Association of State Troopers (AAST) have announced a partnership to help Law Enforcement professionals’ save when purchasing, selling, or refinancing a home. AAST members, their families, and their first responder friends will be eligible to take advantage of the Hero Rewards program, which provides discounts, savings, and rewards on real estate transactions.

Through the Hero Rewards program, law enforcement professionals’ and other eligible heroes maximize savings on a home. The average person saves at least $2,400 when buying or selling a home through the program, not including the additional savings available from real estate agents, loan officers, title companies, home inspectors, and other related expenses. To date, the program has saved heroes over $88 million on their real estate transactions.

Homes for Heroes will also make a donation to the AAST Foundation for every professional who utilizes the Hero Rewards program through the AAST’s webpage on the Homes for Heroes web site, located at www.homesforheroes.com/AAST. The AAST Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of the American Association of State Troopers (AAST). The AAST Foundation initially was organized to raise funds to provide scholarships for the dependents of AAST trooper members. Since it was established, the Foundation has awarded over $3 million dollars to 4,170 students to support their educational endeavors.

“We are excited to partner with Homes for Heroes to offer savings to all state law enforcement officers who purchase, sell, or refinance their homes,” said John Bagnardi, Executive Director of AAST. “Both AAST and Homes for Heroes are dedicated to supporting the state troopers and officers who give so much to our communities. It is a true joy to be able to give back to the incredible officers who selflessly serve and protect their neighbors every day.”

“In our mission to thank every hero in the nation, partnering with the AAST allows both our organizations to work together to give back to those who work tirelessly every day to protect the communities we live in and keep us all safe,” said Greg Cecchettini, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Homes for Heroes. “We are looking forward to working with AAST members on their next real estate transaction.”

To learn more and take advantage of the program, visit www.homesforheroes.com/aast.

About Homes for Heroes
Homes for Heroes, Inc. is the largest nationwide network of affiliate real estate, mortgage, and local business specialists; committed to providing easy ways for heroes to save on a home. Shortly after 9/11, Homes for Heroes, Inc. was established to give back to firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves, and veterans), healthcare professionals, and teachers for all they do. Since 2009, Homes for Heroes, Inc., has helped over 50,000 heroes save over $88 million on their real estate transactions, sold over $11 billion in real estate to heroes, actively partnered with 4,200 like-minded real estate and mortgage professionals who’ve joined in the mission, and donated over $1,000,000 to heroes in need through the Homes for Heroes Foundation. Learn more about Homes for Heroes at www.homesforheroes.com.

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Pennsylvania State Police announce death of Trooper

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Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Robert Evanchick says 57-year-old Trooper Dung X. Martinez, who was hospitalized, died Thursday morning, October 21st.

Trooper Martinez was assigned to the Patrol Section of Troop T, King of Prussia.

“Our department expresses deep sorrow for the sudden loss of a colleague and friend,” said Colonel Evanchick. “We wish Trooper Martinez’s family and friends comfort and peace during this difficult time and ask Pennsylvanians to keep them in their thoughts.”

Trooper Martinez enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police in April 2000 and graduated as a member of the 107th cadet class. Upon graduation he was assigned to Troop K, Media. Martinez also worked with Troop J, Lancaster and Troop M, Trevose during his career.

He was a recipient of the Blooming Grove Service Award for participating in the 2014 manhunt of Eric Frein.

Trooper Martinez is survived by his wife and two children.

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Iowans send condolences to Trooper Benda's family

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Following a single vehicle crash on October 14th, Iowa State Patrol announced the passing of Trooper Ted Benda.

Following the announcement made by Iowa State Patrol, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a statement thanking Trooper Benda for his service.

"I'm deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Iowa State A patrol Trooper Ted Benda. Kevin and I join Iowans in mourning the loss of this dedicated servant and wee keep his family, friends and fellow brothers and sisters in uniform in our thoughts and prayers as they cope with this devastating loss. Tragic events like this are a somber reminder of how precious life is and of the unwavering, selfless sacrifice our brave men and women in law enforcement make every day," said Gov. Reynolds.

Congresswoman Ashley Hinson also sent her condolences to the family and friends of Trooper Benda.

"I am devastated that Trooper Ted Benda has passed away. Trooper Benda has deep roots in Waukon and has dedicated his professional life to protecting our community through his service with the Iowa Department of Public Safety and as a State Trooper. Matt and I are sending our deepest condolences and prayer to his family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers during this time," said Congresswoman Hinson.

Benda joined the Iowa State Patrol in 2016. At the time of his passing, he was working out of District 10 in Oelwein.

The community showed their support for the family. Joanne Howell said the city of Oelwein is there for the family.

"All I have to say is our prayers are with you and if there's anything we can do, as a community, we will do it," said Howell.

Trooper Benda is the second Iowa State Patrol officer to pass away this year. In April, Sargent Jim Smith lost his life in the line of duty.

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Seized C7 Corvette, Fifth Gen Camaro Now Serve As Ohio Highway Patrol Cars

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C7 Corvette and a fifth-generation Chevy Camaro that were seized by the Ohio Highway Patrol have been repurposed as police cars.

According to Lima, Ohio-based news station WLIO, the high-performance Chevys were seized by the Ohio Highway Patrol after the previous owners were pulled over as part of separate drug investigations. The C7 Corvette appears to be a soft-top convertible model finished in the Torch Red exterior color, while the Camaro looks to be a V6-powered RS model finished in Ashen Gray Metallic. The Ohio Highway Patrol has put its own touches on both vehicles, as well, including police body decals, lights and sirens.

While these two confiscated cruisers look ready for duty, heavy-footed Ohio residents don’t have to worry about the local highway patrol chasing them down in a Corvette or Camaro. These vehicles will not be used for traditional highway patrol activities, WLIO reports, and will instead be brought to car shows and other community events to help police engage with the public and educate them on road safety. Troopers told the news station they hope the two cars will attract local residents to their booth at community events, making it easier for troopers to engage in friendly community outreach.

The two cars, which are owned by the Limo post of the Ohio Highway Patrol, will make appearances at a handful of events in the Lima area in the coming months, WLIO reports.

For those who may be wondering, the Ohio Highway Patrol can usually be seen in its simple silver-painted Chevy Tahoe, Dodge Charger and Ford Explorer patrol cars. These run-of-the-mill cruisers may not be as fast as a C7 Corvette or as stylish as a fifth-gen Chevy Camaro, but they’re much better suited to the demands of policing.

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Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper awarded for helping to save the life of a woman who fell off a train in Texas

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An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was thanked on August 2nd for his role in saving the life of a woman who fell off a train in Texas in July. 

Trooper Ian Lowry with the Ohio State Highway Patrol received a Director's Award for his actions in relation to a July 26 incident in which a female migrant was badly injured after falling off a train in Eagle Pass, Texas, and needed immediate medical care.

According to officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the woman's leg eventually needed to be amputated after the fall, but she is expected to survive thanks to Lowry and Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Lopez. 

Lopez will receive a Lifesaving Award from the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

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Trooper escorts woman in labor to hospital after pulling her over for speeding

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Kentucky state trooper escorted a woman in labor to the hospital after he pulled her over for speeding. 

"I went from, you know, thinking that I was in a vehicle pursuit to how am I going to get the lady that’s in labor to the hospital as fast as I can,"  Trooper Jason Adkison, of the Kentucky State Police, told WBKO.

The situation unfolded on an interstate in Elizabethtown, as Adkison headed back to Bowling Green from training in Frankfort. I couldn’t believe that this person just passed me at that speed approaching from the rear," Adkison recounted.  "I was kind of mentally, you know, preparing myself for that, to go into pursuit mode, and turn on my siren. She’s still not stopping initially. And eventually, she pulls over after a couple of miles," he said. When he approached the vehicle, he realized the driver, Jacqueline Cornish, was pregnant and she explained she was in labor. The seven-year trooper offered to call an ambulance to quickly get her to the hospital.  "And I was like, please don’t do that. I don’t have time to wait," said Cornish. He then turned on his lights and siren and escorted Cornish as she drove behind him.  "He led the way we were going through red lights and everything trying to get to the hospital," said Cornish. Cornish delivered her baby girl, Alisha, on Thursday and Adkison visited with the baby and mother the following day.  "I was just excited to get to meet her the following day," said Adkison. "I was really honored to be able to hold Alisha. I don’t think that I’ve ever held a baby that that’s that new to the world." "I was thinking about the Trooper’s Creed, we subdue people in times of trouble. But we also help people in their time of need. And that’s something that’s ingrained in all of us," Adkison added of the event. The Kentucky State Police also praised Adkison, with Sgt. Billy Gregory telling Fox News that the trooper's "actions represent his commitment to upholding KSP’s highest standards of excellence." "Our code of ethics states ‘as a law-enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind…’.  What better way to serve than to help bring new life into the world," he said.

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Mississippi Highway Patrol entered 2022 calendar contest in honor of fallen trooper

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Last year’s entry came in eighth place in the national competition. This year’s entry has special meaning for the agency and came in tenth place. A photo of the Dodge Charger was taken at Red Bluff Canyon in Marion County. The cruiser belonged to late Trooper John Harris. Harris was a member of the MHP Interdiction Team and had three years of service.

Trooper First Class Ron Bosarge said, “Trooper Harris was involved in a fatal crash involving a tractor-trailer earlier this year in May while conducting a routine traffic stop. The Mississippi Highway Patrol would like to dedicate this year’s submission to the memory of Trooper Harris.” Harris was killed on Highway 16 in Yazoo County. He left behind a wife and two children.

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Injured Maryland swimmer rescued by state police helicopter

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A Maryland swimmer who suffered a head injury was brought to safety by a state police helicopter.

The patient, who was not identified, was hurt after slipping on a rock at the Youghiogheny River’s Swallow Falls, about 189 miles west of Baltimore, according to a Maryland State Police release.

“Due to the steep terrain, extended extraction time, and the nature of the victim’s injuries,” the aerial hoist rescue was performed by a Maryland State Police Aviation Command helicopter, according to the release.

Helicopter Trooper 5 had been dispatched shortly after 5 p.m., according to the release.

The patient was treated by Garrett County Fire and Rescue during ground operations as well, the release noted.

The patient was transported to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Wv., about 50 miles west of Swallow Falls.

Authorities did not detail the patient’s current condition.

A similar rescue was made earlier that day by Maryland State Police Helicopter Trooper 1, regarding an individual who was hurt after jumping 20 to 30 feet off a rock in a creek at Gilpin’s Falls, authorities said on the department’s Facebook page.

Maryland State Police also shared video of that rescue.

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Master Trooper Adam Gaubert, a 19-year veteran, was ambushed in his patrol vehicle

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A Louisiana state trooper was killed by a man who authorities believe also fatally shot another person and wounded three others across multiple parishes, the state police said.Master Trooper Adam Gaubert, a 19-year veteran of the force, was ambushed in his patrol vehicle Saturday near Prairieville, according to a Louisiana State Police news release. The suspect, Matthew Mire, 31, was taken into custody that night after a daylong manhunt.

“(Gaubert) served selflessly and courageously to keep our people and our communities safe, and he represents the best of all us,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement Sunday. The trooper was found dead near the scene of another killing. Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said Mire fatally shot Pamela Adair, 37, at a home around 3 a.m. on Saturday before fleeing. Authorities said they have reason to believe she was Mire’s half-sister, but his motive for shooting her wasn’t immediately clear. He also shot a man who was transported to a hospital, the sheriff said. In Livingston Parish, authorities said Mire shot two people — a man and woman — at a trailer park on Highway 444. Deputies said the man was shot in the arm and the woman was shot in both her arm and leg around midnight Saturday. Both of those victims are expected to survive, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities believe Mire fired at another state trooper while fleeing into East Baton Rouge Parish. The trooper wasn’t injured, but his police car was damaged by bullets. Mire was taken to a local hospital for injuries stemming from a police dog bite and a gunshot wound to his leg that police believe was self-inflicted. Troopers are watching over him at the medical facility, and he will be booked upon release. Mire could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday. State detectives obtained arrest warrants for charges including first-degree murder of a police officer in Ascension Parish. In East Baton Rouge Parish, they obtained warrants for attempted first-degree murder and aggravated flight from an officer.

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North Carolina Highway Patrol officers treat stranded woman to lunch

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An elderly woman was traveling alone when her car ran out of gas alongside I-85 in Alamance County, North Carolina. She called local law enforcement to request assistance.

North Carolina State Troopers Linch and Coggins arrived on the scene to help the woman. Trooper Linch sat with her in her vehicle while Coggins retrieved gas for her.

After refueling her car, the troopers invited her to join them for lunch. The woman and the two troopers were joined by Troopers Foster and Gibbs upon arrival. 

Andrea King Lowe saw the luncheon, snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook. In just over 24 hours, her post received 2.8 thousand likes, 4.7 thousand shares and over 380 comments praising the good deed of the officers.

"That’s what it’s all about y’all. Community service at its best. Proud to be part of this organization/family." Lowe said in her post.

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Darlington County road named after South Carolina Highway Patrol Col. Chris Williamson

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The first African American commander for the South Carolina Highway Patrol is now cemented in history on the very road's he serves.

On Saturday, a road dedication for Commander Christopher N. Williamson was held at Darlington Raceway.

Members of the South Carolina legislature and Governor Henry McMaster were present to be a part of this special occasion.

Speakers at the ceremony described Williamson as someone with integrity, dedication, and someone always looking to pay it forward.

Colonel Williamson told ABC 15 he hopes when young people drive on Colonel Christopher N. Williamson Road they will also strive for greatness and change their communities for the better.

"But it's not about where you come from, where you're going. What commitment in your life and that upbringing that you have that's a part of you, that make you want, that instill something in you to do better than the people before you," said Colonel Williamson.

The commander has been with the highway patrol for more than 30 years.

Colonel Christopher N. Williamson Road is located on the portion of Society Hill Road in Darlington County. It starts from the intersection with Greenfield Rd. to the intersection with South Carolina Highway 34.

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Maine State Police Trooper Keeps His Word and Makes a Splash

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Maine State Police Trooper David Barnard has recently transferred to Troop F which is responsible for police coverage for all of Aroostook County and the northern parts of Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Somerset Counties. Prior to that, he was a member of Troop J, which provides coverage to Hancock and Washington Counties.

According to Baileyville Police Chief Bob Fitzsimmons, who is a model of community policing, Barnard made a promise to some young folks jumping off a bridge into the water. The bridge separates Princeton and Indian Township and has been a popular swimming spot for folks for as long as Chief Fitzsimmons can remember. David told the kids that he would be back when he wasn’t in uniform and take the jump with them.

Even though Trooper Bernard recently transferred to a different area, he kept his promise to those kids!
Although many of the activities on this list are geared toward kids, the entire family can find fun in many of them. Preserve family memories by making a scrapbook, complete with old photos and a family tree. Create brand new memories with a backyard campout—complete with s’mores and ghost stories—all with the comfort of a toilet just a few short steps away.

For adolescents who don’t like to get too much sun, indoor activities like creating a website or designing a board game inspire creativity without leaving the house. Parents of gamers can even inject learning into video game time, with a course on architectural history taught through Minecraft.

Kids of all ages can beat the heat with a water balloon fight or pass the time on a rainy day by learning more about the weather. Get down and dirty by making slime or play dough, get the blood flowing by training for a family 5k, or create a backyard obstacle course.

There’s more out there than you know. Keep reading to find 50 fun-filled activities to keep children engaged this summer.

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Ohio Highway Patrol post commander dies of Covid-19

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The commander of the Springfield Post of the Ohio State Highway patrol, Lt. Brian Aller, 47, died on September 29th.

“The patrol can confirm the off-duty death of Lt. Brian K. Aller of the Springfield Post who passed away today,” said Lt. Nathan Dennis of the OSHP.

A Facebook page and GoFundMe were made in support of Aller after he was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19.

According to the pages, Aller was admitted to the hospital Sept. 11.

Aller was commander of the Springfield Post since January 2014, after working as an OSHP trooper for over 15 years.

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office extended condolences to Aller’s family and coworkers at the OSHP, saying he “will be sorely missed,” according to a Facebook post.

“Lt. Aller was a previous employee of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office (1996-97). Lt. Aller was a great law enforcement officer and a good friend. His contributions to the Clark County and Champaign County communities are immeasurable,” the sheriff’s office said in the post.

Aller began his law enforcement career as an officer with the St. Paris Police Department, then later was a deputy with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office before applying for the State Highway Patrol. He was then at the OSHP Dayton post for five years, and worked as a sergeant at the Piqua post for 11 years before becoming Springfield’s post commander.

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Washington State Patrol Trooper dies from COVID-19

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A veteran Washington State Patrol trooper and accident-reconstruction expert who led the agency’s investigation into the 2017 derailment of an Amtrak train in Pierce County has died from COVID-19 contracted while on the job, the agency said Sunday.

The patrol said Trooper Eric Gunderson, 38, a husband, father, and 16-year WSP veteran, died Sunday morning surrounded by his family. Gunderson is survived by his wife Kameron and two sons, Braden, 10, and Blake, 13, the agency said.

WSP Chief John Batiste said Gunderson is the 32nd trooper to die in the line of duty since the agency’s formation 100 years ago, a landmark celebrated just weeks ago.

“Eric Gunderson was a respected trooper and public servant,” Batiste said in a statement. “I had hoped our second century of service would be more forgiving.”

“But serving the public, as we do, has inherent dangers and this pandemic has been a foe to our agency and indeed our state and nation,” Batiste said. The agency said Gunderson is believed to have contracted COVID-19 while on a trip related to his police work with aerial drones.

Agency spokesperson Chris Loftis said he did not know whether Gunderson had been vaccinated and said the agency for now is “focusing on supporting the family and honoring their privacy during their loss.” He said the agency “will share what it can, when it can regarding this intersection of a very raw moment of tragedy and a very real time of public debate and interest.”

Gunderson embraced technology and used his expertise as a pioneer in the use of drones to expedite and improve investigations.

Gunderson’s methods were featured in media articles and he traveled the country lecturing and advocating for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to aid law enforcement.

“His pioneering work has allowed the state to shorten the time of road closures during collision investigations,” the WSP said in a release. “His work after the 2017 Amtrak passenger train derailment in DuPont gained wide acclaim and appreciation for its precision and value.”

Gunderson used drones to map the scene of the DuPont wreckage even as rescuers were pulling survivors from the train, which was on its inaugural run from Seattle to Portland on Dec. 18, 2017, when it approached a curve leading to a bridge over Interstate 5 at more than 50 mph over the recommended speed. The train jumped the rails and several cars spilled onto the freeway. Three people were killed, 68 passengers and crew members were hurt, and damages were estimated at more than $40 million.

Gunderson’s expertise with the drones and reconstruction techniques enabled him to create a model of the massive crash and much of what led up to it within nine hours, according to reports. He had put together a three-dimensional view of the accident scene in a day and a half.

“Pushing the envelope with our technology is having a huge impact,” Gunderson said in a subsequent article about his work. “We could never have trained for an incident like the derailment. But when it happened, we didn’t hesitate to respond because we knew we had the technology and tools we needed. You’re going to have victims who want answers and investigators who have to give those answers. Our ability to provide information that will help people find the answers feels really good.”

Gunderson joined the WSP in 2005 and was commissioned as a sworn officer three years later. He worked as the technology liaison officer with the Criminal Investigation Division in the patrol’s Tacoma-based District 1, and later became a detective specializing in accident reconstruction. His technical expertise was called on by every bureau in the agency. He also was a member of the WSP’s Special Weapons and Tactics team.

Plans for a memorial service are pending the “guidance and wishes” of the family, Loftis said.

“We will show our fallen hero the respect and honors his service to our state and agency deserve,” said Batiste, the WSP chief.

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