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

WHP 7M Traffic Stop

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

8/31/18

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Alaska State Troopers change logo and slogan

AKSP Change Logo and Slogan

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

8/29/18

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

Karsten retiring from Missouri HP

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

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

8/28/18

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

SDHP Peace Officer of the Year

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

8/28/18

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Kansas Highway Patrol awarded accreditation by CALEA

KHP CALEA

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

8/27/18

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Vermont State Police launch year-round prescription drug drop boxes

VSP Drug Drop Boxes

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

8/23/18

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

WSP Filling Gas Tank

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

8/22/18

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

NJSP Helicopter

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

8/20/18

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Wisconsin State Patrol will use airplanes to help reduce speeding

WSP Planes

Wisconsin state troopers can now catch people speeding from the air. In a new effort to help keeps the roads safer, state trooper will start using airplanes to help detect speeding. The planes will use technology to help calculate if cars are going over the limit. If they are, a description will be given to a nearby state trooper. Highway patrol is hoping that this new technology helps to limit crashes that are caused by speeding. "We will be doing several aircraft details throughout the Wausau region. In an effort to get people to slow down and abide by Wisconsin laws. It's more of a highway safety factor again, with speed being a leading factor in crashes. We want to reduce the number of crashes and enhance highway safety," says Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant Matthew Strickland. Portage county will be the first county to use this new method.
Highway patrol says that the planes should be in the air on August 16th.

8/14/18

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California Highway Patrol officer killed in line of duty

CHP End of Watch

Officer Kirk Griess was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop on I-80, near Manuel Campos Parkway, in Solano. Another vehicle entered the area and struck both Officer Griess and the vehicle he had stopped. Officer Griess and the driver of the stopped car were both killed. Officer Griess was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the California Highway Patrol for 19 years. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and son.

8/13/18

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West Virginia State Police trooper wins state award

WVSP Lifesaving Award

Senior Trooper J.B. Yeager of the Beckley Detachment received a Lifesaving Award Thursday in a ceremony at the West Virginia State Police headquarters. On Sept. 24, 2017, a male was on the Glade Creek Bridge on I-64 in Raleigh County, according to Sgt. R.A. Daniel, commander of the Welch detachment. The male was threatening to jump to his death. The male, who was from Oregon, had phoned 911, and a deputy with the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office had responded to speak with him. Yeager also responded and asked to speak with the male subject, Daniel said. After developing rapport with the male, she was able to convince him to step down from the bridge and transport him to a local hospital for evaluation. The male later said if it weren’t for Yeager’s kindness and compassion, he would have jumped to his death. “Trooper Yeager’s commitment to duty, compassion and caring exemplify the traits of the West Virginia State Police,” Daniel said.

8/7/18

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Ohio state troopers seize $6.3 million worth of cocaine during traffic stop

OHSP Cocaine Bust

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers have filed felony charges against a Canadian man after finding $6.3 million worth of cocaine in a car he was driving on July 31. The Patrol says troopers stopped a rented 2018 Chrysler 300 with California plates for "several marked lane violations" on the Ohio Turnpike. A drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle, and a search revealed 165 pounds of cocaine in the vehicle.

8/3/18

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Minnesota State Patrol has sights set on 'Super Speeders'

 

As the weather heats up, drivers tend to put their lead foot on the pedal. Last year, Minnesota state troopers stopped more than two dozen drivers going more than 120 miles per hour. The worst offenders were young men. The top speed: 157 miles per hour. Minnesota Department of Transportation cameras captured exotic sports cars speeding on Interstate 394, even passing school buses. A state trooper clocked the group over 100 miles an hour. “The problem I have is when you get out onto a busy congested highway and start driving like that, putting other people at risk, somebody is going to die, and I don’t want to see that happen,” said the trooper to one of the drivers in dashcam footage. That was 2016, and drivers have not slowed down. “Holy buckets man, you were cruising. Did you see how fast you were going?” said a trooper to a driver going 137 miles per hour. From drivers without a license, to those under the influence going excessive speeds, state troopers have seen it all. “These are high rates of speed. Dangerous, dangerous rates of speed,” said Lt. Paul Stricker said. He has pulled over his fair share of so-called “super speeders.” “Somebody that’s traveling much faster than the general flow of traffic. Somebody that’s going to endanger other motorists that are out there. Traveling too fast, coming up on cars fast behind them, weaving in and out of lanes,” Stricker said. He sees speeders all over the metro. It is more common when there are multiple lanes, on loops like I-494 and I-694, and main interstates like I-35W. There a super speeder is typically a driver going above 70. Hundreds across the state topped 90 in 2017, with 30 offenders pulled over for going 120 plus. The most egregious stop of the year was a 34-year-old man going 157 in a 55 mile-an-hour zone. And those were the cars state troopers caught up with. Some try to offer an excuse. “We’ll hear everything from, ‘I’m late for a meeting,’ ‘I wasn’t paying attention,’ ‘I have to go to the bathroom,’” Stricker said. While WCCO was riding along, Stricker caught a driver weaving in and out of traffic, and witnessed other cars putting on the brakes. “Kind of went a little fast coming in and he caught me. Wasn’t trying to deny it, and I should have not been doing that,” said driver Grant Wenkstern. “I think most people realize how fast they’re going, just hoping to get away with it,” Stricker said. “Some of them you have to laugh at. I’ve told people ‘I’ve heard that one.’” But when it comes down to it, it is no laughing matter. The state patrol wants drivers to realize speed can be deadly. It was a factor in 88 fatal crashes last year. Troopers on the move use built-in radar to capture how fast a driver is going. Along the highway, they use a handheld radar to nab a car’s speed. “We’re here to change driving behavior to make it safe for everybody on the road,” Stricker said. At the end of the day, they want drivers to follow the posted speed. Exceeding it can be costly. “Our ultimate goal is for people to get home we want them to get to their destination safely,” Stricker said. We are in a stretch of what law enforcement calls the “100 deadliest days on the road.” It runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is extra enforcement on the road. Speeding tickets vary by county, but the cost is typically $110 for going 10 miles over the limit. Fines double at 20 miles over. Drivers can lose their license for six months if they are caught driving 100 miles per hour or higher.

8/2/18

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2018 Best Looking Cruiser Contest Results

2019 Calendar Pictures

 2018 Best Looking Cruiser Contest Results

Congratulations! To the Kentucky State Police for being voted the “2018 America’s Best Looking Cruiser”.

This is the first year the Kentucky State Police has received the honor and will be the cruiser featured on the cover

of the “2019 America’s Best Looking Cruiser Calendar”.

 The contest received over 250,000 “likes” and reached over 1 million people. Thank you to everyone who participated

to make this year’s contest a success.

 The 2018 top 13 finalists are listed below:

1st          Kentucky State Police

2nd          Georgia State Patrol

3rd          North Carolina State Highway Patrol

4th           Ohio State Highway Patrol

5th           Tennessee Highway Patrol

6th           Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

7th           Florida Highway Patrol

8th           Delaware State Police

9th           Michigan State Police

10th         Idaho State Police

11th         Texas Department of Public Safety

12th         Mississippi Highway Patrol

13th         Pennsylvania State Police

The 2019 Calendars will be available to purchase at www.statetroopers.org beginning September 2018.

Watch for the announcement on the AAST Facebook page.

Net proceeds of the calendar sales will benefit the American Association of State Troopers Foundation that provides educational scholarships to dependents of AAST members.

7/26/18

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Lone Star Lawmen: Texas Rangers work on area's most challenging cases

Texas Rangers

A picture of the three Texas Rangers from Larry McMurtry’s novel-turned-TV miniseries Lonesome Dove hangs on a wall in the office of Texas Ranger Brandon Bess in the Liberty County Courthouse. “Which one are you?” Bess is asked. Glancing at the iconic photo, Bess responds, “I would have to say that I would be more like Gus and Ryan is more like Woodrow.” “So, who is Jake Spoon?” he is asked. Sitting across from each other in Bess’ office, Bess and Texas Ranger Ryan Clendennen, both amused at the question, look at each other for an answer. Nobody wants to be Jake Spoon, the Ranger-turned-outlaw. Like the characters in the TV show, the partnership between the two Rangers, assigned to neighboring counties, is one built on trust, friendship and a respect for each other’s strengths. Bess is assigned to Liberty, San Jacinto and Hardin counties while Clendennen’s territory includes Polk, Tyler and Jasper counties. The two Rangers have developed such an ease between them that each automatically knows the responsibilities to assume when investigating crimes. “When we go out to complex murder investigations together, I know Ryan is going to process the crime scene as an expert. He’s going to map it, read the blood and collect evidence,” Bess said. “I am going to start looking at videos, running down the witness list and start collecting all the police officers involved to see what happened before we got there. Then potentially go out and interview witnesses to the case. There is a lot of hard work that goes into it.” The more difficult cases, they say, are the ones that seem simple and straightforward. “When we get a murder case, we stress about it less. We know we will be there for days on end, long hours in a row, but it is what it is. You know that someone is going to jail for it. You just have to identify your suspects,” Bess said. “We stress over the easy cases, like an assault between public officials, because you aren’t sure if a crime has occurred and you have to be certain.” Murder cases involving children, however, are the worst and leave scars, despite the invisible shield that all law enforcement officers seem to possess. It comes with the badge. “We have to put on a shield to see the things we see and be able to get the job done so we can speak for the weak and for those who can no longer speak for themselves. That’s what we are here for,” Bess said. When a gunman recently opened fire inside of Sante Fe High School, killing nine students and a teacher, Bess and Clendennen assisted in the investigation.  Before that, Clendennen also helped with the investigation of the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Last year, Bess was called upon to interview serial killer Anthony Allen Shore, who was executed on Jan. 18, 2018. Shore, who was convicted of one murder but confessed to four others, was thought to be a suspect in the 1983 murder of 20-year-old Susan Eads of Seabrook. Bess says he is certain Shore was not responsible for the crime. “I believe he committed more murders, but we proved that he did not kill Susan. He provided me with DNA and it did not match the DNA in Susan’s case. Shore also told me why he wouldn’t have targeted Susan. You can look at his victimology – the types of people he targeted – and it didn’t match,” Bess said. According to Bess, Shore admitted to sexually assaulting as many as 40-50 women in Texas and other states, but with no evidence or victims’ outcries, the investigation died with the condemned man. Both Clendennen and Bess were initially involved in the interviewing of Shore, but Clendennen exited the interview early on when Shore seemed to have a clear disdain for him.  “It goes back to the first question about whether we relate to Woodrow or Gus. I sat in on the interview, but Shore just didn’t like me. We made an immediate decision that I would exit the room because Brandon had a nice rapport with the guy,” Clendennen said. “Looking back on it now, it’s kind of funny. I remember Brandon telling me several months later that he had gotten a Christmas card from the guy. “Think about that. Here is a guy on death row and he’s built such a rapport with the Ranger who interviewed him that he sent him a Christmas card not long before he was scheduled to be executed,” Clendennen continued. When asked what cases keep them up at night, they said “cold cases,” those that appear to be unsolvable without a major development or confession. For Bess, the case that haunts him is the 1982 murder of Monica “Christy” Wilson, who was killed at the age of 20. At the time of her death, Wilson was a newlywed and worked at a convenience store named Snappy’s in Liberty. The morning after her disappearance, Wilson’s body was found on FM 1409 in Dayton near an area known to locals as Dead Man’s Curve. Her killer was never identified. Clendennen says the unsolved murders of two young people from Polk and San Jacinto counties top his cold case list.  “I think a lot about the Natasha Atchley case and the Carl Wills’ murder. There have been a lot of good investigators who have worked on the cases, but the thing about cold cases is a lot of times there isn’t a lot of evidence,” he said. “It almost takes a confession or a CODIS hit to get a suspect.” In 1992, 19-year-old Natasha Atchley disappeared following a birthday party in her hometown of Shepherd, Texas. The next morning her body was found in the charred remains of a vehicle that was set afire about a mile from where the party was held. Carl Wills, 22, was murdered in late August of 2011. His body was found on Sept. 1 by a fisherman in a roadside ditch on CR 2132 in north Liberty County, a few miles south of Rye. Wills had died from gunshot wounds to his back and head. Investigators believe that Wills, who lived in Livingston at the time, was killed elsewhere and dumped in Liberty County. “The cold cases require a ton of dedicated time, and you have to pick them up and drop them all the time to work on other cases,” Bess said. “Think about how many other cases are like that out there.” One of the biggest misconceptions about Rangers, they say, is that they are an internal affairs division to investigate law enforcement officers. “We actually are here to assist law enforcement. About 90 percent of the cases sitting on my desk, and the cases we handle, are assisting other agencies in their investigations,” Bess said. “But we are not in the business of interjecting ourselves into local departments’ investigations,” Clendennen added. Their role is often misunderstood by the public, they say. “People think they can just call us up to report a crime. We take citizens’ complaints but advise them to start with the agency in their jurisdiction,” Bess said. “We will do our best and be objective. The one thing we never want to do is harm the public’s opinion of the Rangers, no matter what we do.” Even when they are away from work, they know they have a reputation to maintain as one of the 162 Texas Rangers representing the state. “There just aren’t a lot of us across the state. We are just another police officer. The only thing that is different for us is that we are part of a family that has been around for almost 200 years. Our history is the oldest police agency in the world,” Bess said. “Once you are a Ranger, you are always a Ranger.”

Article courtesy of Vanessa Brashier with the Bluebonnet News

7/25/18

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