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Louisiana State Police equipping troopers with body cameras

LSP getting body cameras

Louisiana State Police plans to equip its state troopers with body cameras in an effort to improve transparency and safety.  The LSP will purchase more than 1,500 of TASER’s “Axon Body 2” body cameras to be used by approximately 700 uniformed state troopers on patrol.  “Each Trooper that’s assigned to patrol will get one,” LSP Master Trooper Brooks David with Lafayette-based Troop I said.  Troop I has about 40 state troopers who cover eight parishes, including Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary.  Trooper interactions with the public usually take place during traffic stops in front of the trooper’s vehicle. More Troopers find themselves in situations that happen away from their vehicles and out of the line of sight of the current in-car camera systems, David said.  “I think it’s self-explanatory.  It will catch a whole lot more than just that picture in front of the vehicle,” he said.  According to LSP Public Affairs Section’s Lt. J.B. Slaton, there is an increased need for the LSP to be able to document these interactions for evidence collection and the protection and safety of the troopers and the public.  State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson researched the use recording devices in January 2016.  His staff also researched other law enforcement agencies’ deployment of different types of recording systems as well as the capabilities and the compatibilities of the various recording systems.  Twenty-two troopers across the state used the “Axon Body 2” cameras from February through September.  “Nothing is more important than the safety of the public we serve and the troopers committed to that service.  We must ensure that we maintain transparency and accountability through proper training, sound procedures and the latest technology,” Edmonson said.  “For nearly 20 years our troopers have used in-car cameras to document interactions with members of the public, but I am pleased to announce that we will now be taking that capability a step further.”  “Fully deploying HD body cameras, let alone taking the innovative step of purchasing two per officer, is undoubtedly a bold move in the direction of improved accountability and officer protection,” said TASER CEO and co-founder Rick Smith.  “Combine that with our Axon Signal technology, which virtually ensures that important interactions don’t go unrecorded, and you’re looking at an agency whose technology can help them go above and beyond.  We commend them on being the first major, statewide agency to take these steps.”  “They’re going to outfit New Orleans first because of the troopers that work on Bourbon Street and then after that they’ll start outfitting the troops,” David said.  “I don’t know which order they’re going to go in.”

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Pennsylvania State Police welcomes 62 new troopers

PA state police graduation December 2016

Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker announced that 62 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey, PA and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth.  The men and women represent the 147th graduating cadet class.  Blocker spoke during the ceremony at Bishop McDevitt High School, along with Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Christie and Major William White.  Anthony Mazzone, from Montgomery County, spoke on behalf of the graduating cadet class.Line

Michigan State Police graduates 41 new troopers

Michigan State Police December graduates

Forty-one new Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers will report for work at MSP posts across the state this week following graduation from the 131st Trooper Recruit School.  Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP, administered the Oath of Office during the ceremony at the Lansing Center.  "As these new troopers travel home to be with their loved ones for the holidays, they can leave proud knowing they have what it takes to join the ranks of the elite Michigan Department of State Police," stated graduation keynote speaker, Governor Rick Snyder.  "We wish them safety each and every day and hope they enjoy long and rewarding careers serving and protecting the residents of our great state."  Today’s graduation ceremony also marks the debut of MSP’s new Campaign hats, a nod to what enforcement members wore until the early 1920s.  All active enforcement members were given the opportunity to vote on whether the department should make the uniform change for its 100th Anniversary, which will be celebrated across the state throughout 2017.  All active enforcement members began wearing the hats today.  In her address to the graduates, MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said, "You have joined the MSP family at a very exciting time.  As our newest troopers and the last recruit school to graduate in 2016, you are now part of our department’s history and you will help determine its future.  I expect you to do what’s right, to do your best and to treat others the way you want to be treated.  In everything you do, I ask that you provide ‘Service With a Purpose.’"  Tpr. Thomas Gladney III was elected Class Orator by his fellow recruits and spoke on behalf of the graduating class at today’s ceremony.  Other award recipients included Tpr. Brett Nichols who received the Academic Achievement Award and Team Building Award, Tpr. Trevor Baesch who received the Marksmanship Award and Tpr. Antonio Palmer who received the Outstanding Performance Award.  The 131st Trooper Recruit School began on July 17, when 50 prospective troopers reported to the MSP Training Academy in Lansing.  For the past 23 weeks, recruits received training in firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, patrol techniques, report writing, ethics, first aid, criminal law, crime scene processing and precision driving.  In order to be selected to attend the academy, all applicants had to pass a stringent selection process that included a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview.  As part of the department’s commitment to "Providing Service With A Purpose," the recruits participated in community outreach projects in which they donated food to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing and packaged food for Capital Area Community Services.  The 131st Trooper Recruit School is the third of four trooper recruit schools this year, as well as a motor carrier officer recruit school.

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Oregon Trooper critically wounded in shootout; suspect killed

Oregon injured trooper

An Oregon State Police trooper was critically wounded and a homicide suspect fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire in suburban Portland, authorities said.Sgt. David Thompson of the Washington County Sheriff's Office said the incident began late Christmas night, when police in King City found a dead woman after responding to a call about shots being fired.  A suspect identified by police as 30-year-old James Tylka was seen driving away and a chase ensued.  It ended with an exchange of gunfire about 20 miles south of Portland.  The wounded trooper, identified by the Oregon State Police as 32-year old Nic Cederberg, is a seven-year veteran of the state police who also served in the military.  Officers from Hillsboro, Sherwood and Tualatin police were involved in the incident.  They have been placed on paid administrative leave.  Police have not released the name of the woman found dead.  The body was at a home that is Tylka's listed address.  Court records indicate Tylka was married and also had an ex-wife.  Court records show Tylka and the ex-wife had several years of disputes regarding custody and child support payments.  The woman filed for immediate temporary custody of their child in September, saying the boy was in danger of potential abuse.  The woman said Tylka spoke about suicide in September 2015, drawing a call to police, before leaving town for four months.  She wrote that they agreed to joint custody in May 2016 but he had been acting irrational, impulsive and aggressive, constantly pressuring the boy for updates about what she is doing at home.  The woman wrote that the boy was crying when she picked him up Sept. 5.  The boy, she said, told her that Tylka yelled at him and a grandmother.  "I asked him what he meant. (The boy) stated: 'If I don't tell daddy what you do he yells at me and sends me to the corner.  I told him no and he yells until I tell him.'"  A judge denied the request for immediate temporary custody.  Earlier this month, an auto dealer filed a small claim against Tylka, saying he owes $450 for a down payment of a vehicle.

 

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Georgia Department of Public Safety answers Tennessee Highway Patrol's mannequin challenge

 

The Georgia Department of Public Safety was challenged by the Tennessee Highway Patrol to take part in the mannequin challenge. The theme of the DPS mannequin challenge was cell phone use, in an effort to bring awareness to distracted driving. Line

Florida Highway Patrol Brings Christmas Gifts to Family of Immokalee Vehicular Fatality

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October 7, 2016 began as did any other school day for Luis Renosa Francisco.  One of Magdalena Francisco’s five children, Luis, 6, and his eldest brother, Andres, set off to meet the school bus near the intersection of North 19th Street and Immokalee Drive.  Accompanied by their grandfather, they walked along the grassy, west shoulder of North 19th Street.  Luis failed to reach the corner.  He was struck and killed by a black pickup truck.  Reportedly, Luis “darted out” into the street and the 2007 GMC Sierra was unable to avoid him. Luis was transported to NCH Northeast but did not survive his injuries.  Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant, Greg Bueno, frequently mentions that horrific morning.  Luis’ name has arisen in several conversations over the course of the past two months.  The Lieutenant was not going to forget Luis, or his family, at Christmas time.  Thanks to the kindness and benevolence of his fellow troopers, as well as an anonymous donor, the Florida Highway Patrol was able to purchase a stockpile of assorted gifts for Luis’ four siblings, Alex, 5; Vibiana, 8; Celia, 9; and Andres, 11.  Four FHP vehicles, including a cargo van, covertly approached the family home in Immokalee shortly after the children arrived home from school.  With the cooperation and support of their mother, the children were kept occupied while FHP staff topped the front lawn with bicycles, toys and other assorted gifts.  Upon exiting the home, the children were clearly taken aback by the collection of toys and the presence of both FHP troopers and the media.  After all of the gifts were unwrapped, Magdalena Francisco invited all into her home to see photographs of her late son, Luis.  “It broke our hearts,” professed Bueno. “We wanted to do something for this family…to remind these children that this world can still be a magical place.  That’s what the holidays are about.”  The children repeatedly thanked the Florida Highway Patrol staff and even thanked members of the media for visiting.

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State Troopers Play Santa at Connecticut Children's Medical Center

 

Christmas came early Tuesday morning at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, with some very deserving kids getting presents from folks dressed not in red and white, but rather, blue and gray.  For the twentieth year, Connecticut State Police troopers played Santa for patients, their sleigh a gurney filled with toys collected over the past week at Toys R Us stores in Newington, Manchester, and West Hartford.  "We stand out in the cold, the rain, the sunshine, whatever it is, at the toy stores and its just thousands of people coming in and out," said Trooper First Class James Nolting.  Some toys were handed out today.  Most will be given to kids who come to the emergency room. "To be able to provide them with a gift and our support and let them know that we're here for them, it's just a good thing overall," said Nolting.  Over the years, this program has collected a half a million toys and $280,000, thanks to sponsors and the public.

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Texting and Driving

 

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Michigan State Police troopers will wear 1920's-era campaign hat to celebrate 100th anniversary

MSP campaign hat

Beginning tomorrow, Michigan State troopers will be wearing campaign-style hats, last worn by troopers in the early 1920s, to celebrate the department's 100th anniversary in 2017.  The majority of state police agencies wear campaign hats: MSP is one of only six that did not wear them.  MSP held a vote to see if members wanted to switch back for the 100th anniversary in 2017, and it was approved.  The campaign hat is a black straw hat with a clear coat protection.  It is a traditional four-dent style with an extra stiff brim.  Similar to their current hats, trooper hats include a black braid, sergeants a silver braid and lieutenants and above a gold braid.  Hat badges are being reused on the campaign-style hat.  When properly fitted, the strap around the back of the head secures the hat to prevent it from being blown away in high winds.

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Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 116 new Troopers

DPS Graduation December 2016

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon, and members of the Public Safety Commission (PSC) today [Friday] were joined by Texas Sen. Donna Campbell and Texas State Rep. Mark Keough as the department commissioned 116 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony.  Sen. Campbell was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held today in Austin.  “The people of Texas will forever be grateful to the courageous men and women – past and present – who pledge their lives to protecting and serving others no matter the cost, and today, 116 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers join that esteemed legion,” said Sen. Campbell.  “Thank you for answering this honorable call of duty – your grit and enthusiasm are an inspiration, and I know you will make us all proud.”  The C-2016 class – which includes 14 former peace officers, 47 military veterans and a set of twin brothers – will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training.  “I want to thank and congratulate all of our graduates here today.  Your perseverance through the many months of demanding training has certainly paid off – you’ve earned the right and privilege to be called a Texas State Trooper,” said Chair Leon.  “We appreciate your willingness to serve and are pleased to officially welcome you to the DPS family.”   The troopers began the 23-week training academy in July. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, tr affic and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness.  “Not everyone has the mettle necessary to pursue a career in law enforcement, which requires an unwavering devotion to duty and countless sacrifices not only from the officer but also from their loved ones,” said Director McCraw.  “DPS and the entire state are thankful for these 116 graduates who have risen to the challenge to become Highway Patrol Troopers sworn to serve their communities and protect Texas from a full spectrum of threats.”      In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott authorized 250 additional Trooper positions to be permanently stationed in the border area (DPS Regions 3 and 4) by August 2017, as well as additional DPS recruit schools to help fill that need and address vacancies across the state.  A total of 47 troopers from Class C-2016 will be stationed in Regions 3 and 4 as part of this initiative, bringing the total number of positions to the authorized 250.  “I am pleased to say that today’s graduation marks the completion of filling those 250 new positions directed by state leaders – more than eight months ahead of schedule,” said Director McCraw.  “Additionally, the department is proud of the impact our men and women have made during the past two years of around-the-clock security operations combating threats posed by a porous Texas-Mexico border.”  As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,632 for DPS Trooper Chad Blackburn, who was severely injured this year when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver; $750 worth of gifts for the Toys for Tots program; and $200 in school supplies for an elementary school.

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Meet 'Statie" the elf, the newest Massachusetts State Police Recruit

MA Elf

Internet-savvy police departments across the country started posting images of “Elf on the Shelf” dolls to their social media accounts this month ahead of Christmas, Massachusetts State Trooper Dustin Fitch decided he wanted to buck the trend.  So he got creative.  In early December, Fitch, who handles social media operations for the state police, had a minuscule police uniform custom-tailored for an “elf,” slapped a teeny badge onto the blue suit, and then debuted to the world the newest pint-sized police recruit: “Statie” the elf.  “I just wanted to add a little holiday humor,” said Fitch of the elf doll, which has appeared on Twitter and Facebook dutifully helping officers with daily tasks. “I wanted to use an elf to humanize us. ... It shows how we are all just people, too, looking to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, like everyone else.”

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Tennessee Highway Patrol graduates 33 cadets

THP graduation December 2016

Governor Bill Haslam served as the keynote speaker for the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s graduation ceremony of Cadet Class 1216 at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory on Friday.  The 33 cadets earned their badges and were officially recognized as Tennessee State Troopers for the first time.  The 33 new state troopers took their oaths of office after completing 16 weeks of intense physical and classroom training at the THP Training Center.  This was THP’s first-ever lateral class, meaning 100% of the graduating class had prior law enforcement experience.  Included in the cadet class are six veterans, seven with bachelor's degrees, an associate’s degree graduate and 20 who have college experience.  “The law enforcement experience this class of cadets brings to the Tennessee Highway Patrol is impressive, and their skills and knowledge will be needed with the challenges facing state troopers today.  These cadets are putting themselves on the front lines to help protect the citizens of Tennessee and the millions of visitors to our state.  I thank them for their continued service and congratulate them on this accomplishment,” Governor Haslam said.  “It’s my privilege to join our state’s leadership today as we graduate the first lateral trooper cadet class in the history of the Highway Patrol," Commissioner David W. Purkey said.  "These men and women are going through a training academy for the second time because they recognize the responsibility of serving as a Tennessee State Trooper.  They were specifically chosen from a field of some 500 applicants, and today they will don the same uniform that I once was privileged to wear.  Congratulations to each of them as they celebrate with their families – they’ve absolutely earned this honor.”  “I am very proud of our newest trooper class,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.  “The cadets came to our training program as individuals from a variety of law enforcement backgrounds.  As they underwent an intense training regimen they bonded and became a unit.  Today I am proud to call them Tennessee State Troopers.  There is no doubt they are going to face increasing challenges, but I am confident that they are going to approach their duties with honor, pride in service, and as professional law enforcement officers.”   As part of a class community service project, Class 1216 participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.  The class collected 31 units of blood that served over 93 patients.  Class 1216 also collected over 700 donated food items that will be delivered to the Gatlinburg area.  The cadet class and the Tennessee State Trooper Association donated money to a fellow trooper cadet and his family that lost their home in the Gatlinburg wildfires.  The new graduates will continue their training, totaling more than 400 hours of hands on experience in the field. 

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South Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 62 new troopers

SCHP graduation picture

The South Carolina Highway Patrol announced the graduation of 62 troopers from its Highway Patrol Basic Class 100 Thursday.  According to the press release from Communications Director Sherri Iacobelli, Basic 100 brings the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 816.  Basic 101 will report to the Academy in January.  Today’s graduating class began training on July 15 and graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy on October 30.  An additional 15 prior certified officers joined on October 14. The class continued with specialized training from the Highway Patrol in all areas of law enforcement.  The SCHP Basic Training Program consists of 21 weeks of extensive law enforcement training in-residence.  After graduation, troopers must complete a minimum of 400 hours of field training.  Troopers are assigned to areas based upon population, calls for service, and the number of licensed drivers/registered vehicles in an area.  The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.

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Highway Patrol Troopers go shopping with children in Sampson County, North Carolina

NCHP kids shopping

Local Highway Patrol troopers enjoyed filling up baskets with toys such as tractors, Transformers, Legos, dolls and Pokemon.  The Sampson County branch (Troop B, District 2) took 16 children shopping for the holiday season.  Clothing items were purchased first.  Next, it was the toy section. Children were selected after letters were sent to local elementary schools and guidance counselors contacted Tina Byrd, the station’s office assistant, with suggestions.  Byrd was assisted by Trooper Evelyn Campos.  First Sgt. David Kinlaw was grateful to participants, sponsors and donors from a golf tournament held in June.  Those funds went towards helping fellow residents.  “It’s our way of giving back to the community,” he said. “It’s something we look forward to every Christmas.”  The golf tournament began in 1989 to honor deceased Trooper Randy Ward.  It began to help less fortunate children and became more popular.  Along with the Christmas shopping, troopers were able to add funds for scholarships for students attending Sampson Community College.  Kinlaw assisted with plans for the golf tournament.  Trooper Chris Strickland collected funds for the tournament. In 2015, he was helped by Sgt. Bryan Smith.  Kinlaw said the events builds a rapport with the community by helping needy families.  “Especially this year, with the hurricane and flooding and people losing their homes, it’s good that we can have something like this,” Kinlaw said about giving back to the community.  “It helps the people who are less fortunate and makes their Christmas a little bit brighter.”

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CHP Stops Truck Hauling $11 Million Worth of Heroin

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A big rig carrying nearly 120 kilograms of heroin valued at over $11 million was stopped on the 15 Freeway in Victorville on Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol.  The truck was pulled over for speeding on the northbound freeway just past Highway 395 about 6:50 a.m., CHP Officer Leon Lopez told KTLA.  A K-9 alerted on the big rig, leading officers to 118 kilogram-sized packaged of heroin in the trailer, Lopez said.  The narcotics were found in the rear of the trailer mixed in with the truck’s load, CHP Officer Robert Mendenhall told Victor Valley News.  Mendenhall estimated the street value and weight of the heroin, saying it was the largest drug seizure in his 29-year CHP career.  The driver was arrested on suspicion of transportation and possession of narcotics.  His story and nervousness, along with “criminal indicators,” drew attention, Mendenhall said.  The investigation and the evidence were being handed over the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Lopez said.  The vehicle was headed for Canada, Mendenhall told Victor Valley News.

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