Virginia State Police mourns the loss of two officers
Trooper Pilot Berke Bates and Lieutenant Pilot Jay Cullen were killed when their Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area in a residential neighborhood on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County, Virginia, at approximately 6:30 pm. They were in the area to monitor civil unrest that was occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a large protest. The helicopter had just taken off to monitor the Virginia governor's motorcade after he arrived in the area to assess the situation. The helicopter experienced some sort of issue before crashing into the trees and becoming engulfed in flames. Trooper Bates and Lieutenant Cullen were killed in the crash.
Trooper Bates had served with the Virginia State Police for 13 years and was assigned to the Aviation Unit. He had previously served with the Florida Highway Patrol for six years. He is survived by his wife and his twin son and daughter. He was killed the day before his 41st birthday.
Lieutenant Cullen had served with the Virginia State Police for 23 years and was assigned as the commander of the Aviation Unit. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Forty-one Cadets graduate from Kentucky State Police Academy
The Kentucky State Police Academy presented diplomas to 41 new troopers at ceremonies held in Frankfort Friday. Their addition to the force brings the agency’s strength to a total of 866 troopers serving the citizens of the Commonwealth. KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the addition of these newly-graduated troopers will help with the current strength, but does not come close to resolving the agency’s shortage of personnel. “Like other police agencies, we have been challenged with maintaining our strength of active officers in light of retirements and attrition,” Sanders said. “In 2000, the agency manpower was more than 1,000. Yet, we are doing more today with fewer personnel and resources than we had back then. To add to this dilemma, we are servicing a higher population while seeing new crime that we didn’t have in the past such as human trafficking, electronic sexual exploitation of children and the potential threat of terrorism.” Sanders went on to say that “the role of law enforcement has developed exponentially to meet the needs of an ever-changing society, and KSP is a significantly more specialized agency compared to the past. With more troopers working in specialized capacities that means fewer troopers available to respond to calls for service.” The new troopers are part of the agency’s 95th cadet class, which was the agency’s fourth Law Enforcement Accelerated Program (LEAP), a condensed course for current officers who have two years of Kentucky Police Officer Professional Standards (POPS) law enforcement experience. They reported for duty on May 21, 2016 in a class that consisted of 63 cadets. Twenty-two resigned during the program. The training included more than 500 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigations, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, land navigation, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials.
North Dakota Highway Patrol makes 183-pound marijuana bust
The North Dakota Highway Patrol arrested a California man Monday after finding 183 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop. The man was headed eastbound on I-94 between Mandan and Bismarck. He was pulled over for minor traffic violations in a construction zone. The trooper detected a strong marijuana smell and the driver, 71-year-old Harold Miller, admitted to having marijuana in the vehicle. Miller was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the street value of the marijuana is $700,000 and is one of their largest drug busts.
Channing Tatum visits Kentucky State troopers
Before coming to Knoxville for a benefit, actor Channing Tatum made a stop in Harlan, Kentucky. Tatum visited Kentucky State Troopers to learn about the “Shop with a Trooper” project and other initiatives. The star will be in Knoxville Wednesday for the screening of his upcoming movie “Logan Lucky” at the Regal Cinemas Pinnacle 18. The screening will benefit Variety – The Children’s Charity of Eastern Tennessee.
South Carolina Highway Patrol, emergency officials prep for 2 million visitors for the eclipse
Planning a road trip for this month’s big eclipse? Be prepared for traffic, and for a heavy law enforcement presence. “Any of those major thoroughfares or major routes, we will be monitoring them on a 24/7 basis the weekend before and day of the eclipse,” said Lance Cpl. Matt Southern. The exact number of state troopers stationed between Beaufort County and Charleston along I-95 or U.S. 17 could not be provided, but additional manpower from South Carolina Highway Patrol headquarters and State Transport Police is being added across the Palmetto State. The State recently reported that 160 extra state troopers will be stationed along the I-26 corridor between Columbia and Charleston during the eclipse. While the major roads leading into the path of the eclipse from Beaufort County will certainly have significant monitoring from the Highway Patrol, there is a reason more northern cities and roads are receiving special attention. “The path of the eclipse goes from Greenville into Columbia and then down into Charleston, so that is why there is such a major focus there,” said Southern. Planning for the eclipse began last year for the Highway Patrol, which has partnered with the state’s Emergency Management Division and Department of Transportation to prepare for the eclipse, and Southern feels confident that together they are ready to handle the additional traffic burden it will bring on. “This is not a natural disaster,” said Southern. “We plan all the time for natural disasters, hurricanes and things where there’s a lot of traffic. We know the exact timetable on the eclipse, so we’re able to put our resources in place ahead of it and be ready on an exact timetable.” Anywhere between a half million and 2 million people are expected to travel to South Carolina for the eclipse, which will have a major impact on roads throughout the state. The South Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to suspend lane closures the weekend of the eclipse, and the Emergency Management Division has formulated a readiness plan. “Be prepared for a lot of people,” said Derrec Becker, public information officer with SCEMD. “Go ahead and make sure your car is filled up with gas. Go ahead and buy groceries. Give yourself extra time to get where you need to go, and prepare for long lines.” Rob Perry, state traffic management engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation predicts traffic on par with the 4th of July weekend, perhaps worse. Traffic issues will be exacerbated by the fact that unlike other high traffic events which are localized to certain cities or tourist destinations, this month’s eclipse will traverse the entire state. It should be a magical experience, but Southern stressed the importance of readiness. “The one thing we’re asking the public is to be prepared,” said Southern. “If you have no desire to participate in the eclipse, the best thing you can do is stay off the roads. That will really help us. If you have to get out in traffic give yourself ample time to get from Point A to Point B and expect traffic not just on the day of the eclipse but the days leading up to it.”
To watch video, go to http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article165207942.html.
Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 48 new highway patrol troopers
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw was joined by Texas State Representative Mark Keough as the department commissioned 48 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers. This 11-week advanced recruit school was specifically designed for current and eligible law enforcement officers to train to become troopers. This school provided officers an accelerated path to becoming a Trooper, versus the standard course that spans more than 20 weeks. The C-2017 class includes four women and six military veterans, and the graduates represented 39 different law enforcement agencies. The troopers began the 11-week training academy in May. Instruction included counter terrorism, traffic, and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in the use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness. The new troopers will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training.
Grant money will put more state troopers on the road
Alabamians can expect to see additional troopers on the roadways thanks to Gov. Kay Ivey. Ivey has awarded grants totaling $3.5 million to support law enforcement efforts. According to the Alabama Department of Law Enforcement Cpl. Tracy Nelson, the agency will utilize the funds by having every available trooper on Alabama roadways. “The funds will allow us to have extra funding available for overtime,” Nelson said. “With funding available for overtime we can increase patrol and safety-checkpoint locations across the state.” Ivey has indicated the purpose of the grant money is to make Alabama roads safer by preventing injuries and fatalities. “At this point our fatality rate has increased by 10 from this time last year,” said Trooper Kevin Cook. “We all have concern in this number. Going at this rate 2017 will be more deadly than 2016 and records show 2016 was one of the deadliest years in Alabama’s history.” Gov. Ivey said in a written release that drivers who get behind the wheel while impaired, or disobey traffic laws, present a danger to every motorist on the road. “The only way we can change a driver’s behavior is to be visible,” Cook said. “The more troopers we have on the roadways the more we can target speeding, driving while under the influence and seat belt violations. Visibility, visibility is the only way we can make our roadways safer.” A portion of the funds received will also go toward the “Click It or Ticket” program and the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” program. “The time frame for the ‘Click It or Ticket’ program will wrap up soon,” Cook said. “Once that program wraps up for 2017, we will start the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ program. This program is scheduled to run through September 3. This program not only targets driving while under the influence on the roadways, but also on Alabama’s waterways.”
Arkansas State Troopers surprise 14-year-old with act of kindness
A small act of kindness made a big difference for one young boy. Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Investigator Kristi Kirkwood got a visit from 14-year-old Christopher Wooten. Wooten told her he wanted to be an Arkansas State Trooper and had come to the office to start on the path to his career. Kirkwood, who isn't an Arkansas State Trooper, said she would pass Wooten's message on to some troopers for him. However, she ended up passing on a very different message. When Wooten left, Kirkwood noticed his bike was in very bad shape. It didn't have a seat and the wheels were beaten up. Kirkwood reached out to Troop G in Hope to see what she could do for Wooten. Troop G's Cpl. Bernard Pettit then reached out to Pink Behind the Thin Blue Line, a non-profit organization that his wife is a part of. "We loved the idea," said member Christy Pettit. According to her, the board voted on and approved buying Wooten a new bike within five minutes. Wednesday, according to the Arkansas State Police Facebook page, three Miller County members of Troop G and a member of Pink Behind the Thin Blue Line brought a special surprise to Wooten's house. "Let me see your bike. I heard you didn't have a seat on it. I may have one in my car," said Cpl. Pettit. Wooten brought out his bike for Cpl. Pettit who then walked to his car. "Well Chris, I'm sorry I don't have a seat, but I do have a bike," said Cpl. Pettit. Wooten was speechless. The troopers reassured him several times that the bike was for him. "It was so precious," said Christy Pettit. In addition to the bike, Wooten also got to spend some time with the troopers. They "trained him" on patrol procedures, dash cameras, report writing, and even arrest and search procedures, according to the ASP Facebook page.
Hundreds attend Oklahoma trooper's funeral in Norman
The deeds of evil men were not lost on the Rev. Jerry Jones as he addressed the hundreds of somber state police officers and civilians who sat before him Monday in a college basketball arena. “We live in a hellish world,” Jones said, his tone calm but stern. “You do and you see things that we don’t want to see,” Jones said, addressing the troopers present. “May God bless you, you men and women who wear the uniform.” Those in attendance at the Lloyd Noble Center gathered for the funeral of Lt. Donald Heath Meyer, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper killed earlier this month during a car chase. Meyer, 43, had lain stop sticks on Interstate 35 near N 27 in Moore during a July 14 chase, when he was struck by another trooper's cruiser. Jones and Meyer were both pastors at Anchor Church, 1200 Lakewood Drive, which Meyer and his wife started in their home almost a decade ago. Meyer joined the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in 2005, after graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University the year before. He was the 36th Oklahoma trooper to die in the line of duty. “We ask our troopers to go out and do incredibly dangerous work. It’s volatile, and sometimes it’s violent," Oklahoma Department of Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson said to those gathered. Thompson is a tall, stoic man, but his deep voice wavered as he read to Meyer’s family a proclamation from Gov. Mary Fallin honoring the fallen trooper’s service to the state. Thompson worked in the same building as Meyer, he recalled after the funeral, and Meyer was just as much a pastor at work as he was from behind the pulpit. He was quick to put others at ease with a warm smile and handshake. Meyer’s father-in-law was a trooper, and through that example he saw another opportunity to give, Thompson said. “He just has a servant’s heart,” Thompson said. He added that Meyer volunteered to work in Troop A, which covers the metro area and is the biggest and busiest troop in the patrol. Dozens of Oklahoma state troopers filed into the east entrance of the center Monday morning. The wives of several troopers dotted the line every five or six officers, their bright dresses standing in stark contrast with the tan trooper uniforms. State police from every state bordering Oklahoma, as well as some from as far away as Georgia and Illinois, filed in behind them in full dress. The driver of the fleeing vehicle, D'Angelo Ladon Burgess, 28, was arrested the night of the accident. Burgess remained in the Cleveland County jail Monday afternoon, held on a $5 million bail. He was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, eluding a police officer and drug and paraphernalia possession. At the time of the crash, Burgess was out on bail and facing charges connected to a similar incident the year before. Burgess was arrested in June 2016 after a pursuit that ended when he crashed a car. Meyer also worked that crash, Ricky Adams, the highway patrol chief, confirmed. At the funeral, Adams told his fellow troopers he recognizes the dangers involved in situations they face every day. “They’re uncertain, they’re ambiguous and they’re volatile," Adams said. "Saying all that, we place you there to face down evil and restore order out of chaos.”
Washington State Patrol vehicles get carbon monoxide alerts
The Washington State Patrol is equipping hundreds of its vehicles with carbon-monoxide detectors after six troopers since January have reported feeling sick from possibly inhaling exhaust fumes. Crews will install the devices in 634 Ford Explorer Police Interceptors over the next few weeks, according to State Patrol Capt. Shane Nelson. The move comes amid a months long federal investigation into a version of the Ford Explorer over worries of exhaust-fume problems nationwide. Ford has responded to the numerous carbon-monoxide claims by promising to make repairs as it investigates the complaints. According to a statement on the State Patrol’s blog, six troopers reported symptoms associated with possibly breathing in carbon monoxide while at work in Interceptors, a high-performance version of the Ford Explorer used by law enforcement. They made the reports January through mid-July. Two troopers were hospitalized, and released, Nelson said at a news conference Friday, which the State Patrol streamed online. Officials confirmed there was measurable carbon monoxide in the system of one of the troopers. Both have returned to work. “We wanted to get in front of it, make sure everybody was protected,” Nelson said of the detector being installed in troopers’ vehicles. Symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning include dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath and nausea or vomiting. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints of exhaust odors and possible carbon-monoxide exposure in 1.33 million Ford Explorers across the nation. Among the complaints, three involved crashes and 41 were reports of injuries, such as loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches. In Texas, the Austin Police Department has pulled nearly 400 of its Ford Explorers off the street. More than 60 officers there have reported health problems since February, and more than 20 were found to have measurable carbon monoxide in their systems, city officials said. Ford said in a statement it has discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some police-department Interceptors that had equipment installed after leaving Ford’s factory. The company said police and fire departments routinely drill holes in the backs of vehicles to add customized lighting, radios and other equipment.
Rhode Island State Police receive top-level accreditation from national group
The Rhode Island State Police have received a “gold standard assessment” from the national Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. Col. Ann Assumpico announced Sunday morning that the State Police received the Accreditation with Excellence award from the organization, which is the highest level of accreditation that CALEA awards. The State Police become the only law enforcement agency in the state to receive top-level accreditation. The State Police have been accredited since 1994 but decided to go even further and apply for the more rigorous Accreditation with Excellence award, which demands that they meet or exceed 480 professional standards outlined by CALEA. The CALEA assessment concluded last week as the State Police hosted the CELEA 2017 Summer Conference, at which many other departments concluded assessments. According to Col. Assumpico, the CALEA Review Committee praised the State Police for diversity in its ranks, the low number of complaints filed against its personnel, having few vehicle pursuits, and for having a police dog specifically training in finding electronic equipment used in cyber crimes. “This is a tremendous honor earned by the hard-working men and women who serve the citizens of our state with professionalism and pride,” Assumpico said in a statement. “It also underscores our commitment to providing Rhode Islanders with exceptional law enforcement that meets or exceeds national standards at every level.”
Tennessee Highway Patrol conducts traffic stop, locates 28 pounds of marijuana
On July 12th, 2017, Trooper Al Seitner of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Cookeville District stopped a vehicle in Putnam County for following another vehicle too closely. The driver, 25-year-old Jonathan Kossa of Cookeville, Tennessee appeared extremely nervous for a simple traffic violation. While talking to Kossa, Trooper Seitner observed a large cardboard box in the back seat of the vehicle. When asked what was in the box, Kossa said he did not know as he was transporting the box for his roommate. Consent to search the vehicle was requested and Kossa denied. Trooper Seitner requested K-9 assistance from the Cookeville Police Department. Their K-9 made a positive alert on the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed 18 vacuum sealed packages of marijuana (approximately 28 lbs) inside the cardboard box. Kossa was arrested for possession of Schedule VI narcotics for manufacture, sale and delivery.
Maryland State Police to Support National Night Out Efforts
Maryland State Police will join communities and other law enforcement agencies across the state on Tuesday, August 1 in support of National Night Out. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Communities from Western Maryland to the Baltimore region to the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland have a variety of events planned for National Night Out. From block parties and festivals to parades, cookouts and other community events, neighborhoods are reaching out to Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies as a part of this collaborative effort. Citizens who attend a National Night Out event in their respective communities will have the chance to interact with troopers and learn ways to help make their neighborhood a safer place to live. Since the inaugural event in 1984, National Night Out has grown from 2.7 million Americans participating in 400 communities in 23 states to more than 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide.
From homeless to Highway Patrol officer
A former Sacramento homeless man is now a new CHP officer. Edwin Lopez, now 26, was 21 years old when he was homeless. He used to sleep on benches in North Laguna Creek Park where he spent many nights hoping, praying, and sleeping. "I was pretty new with my job and ended up getting cut at my job," Lopez said. He was working at a tire shop in Elk Grove in 2012. At first, he lost his apartment and then his car. He was able to get some money since he was in the reserves but it wasn't much. He used the money to buy some food and to pay for his phone bill so potential employers could still contact him. He said he didn't try to get help from the government and his family wasn't in a position to help him. "The thing is I got help here and there, but at the time I can't expect anyone to fully pay for an apartment and food and my car," said Lopez. Lopez said the seven to eight months he was homeless was a blur. "Honestly all those months blurred into one time," Lopez said. "I took it upon myself to do whatever I could to get out of the situation." He showered when he was able to sleep with friends and couch surf. As for food, he checked dumpsters near restaurants. He spent a majority of his time by the park and also near his old apartment. It was a place he was familiar and found comfort. He learned a lot during his time homeless not only about survival but how to budget wisely. "A lot of people complain about not having enough money based off their job but a lot of it is just how you spend your money," Lopez said. Today, he lives in Castro Valley getting adjusted to his new job and his soon to be new title as husband.
Watch video at: http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/features/former-sacramento-homeless-man-now-chp-officer/459361451
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant succumbs to injuries sustained while on duty
Lieutenant Heath Meyer succumbed to injuries sustained 10 days earlier when he was struck by a patrol car on I-35, near SW 27th Street, in Moore. He had deployed stop sticks on I-35 as other troopers pursued a vehicle on the interstate. Two of the patrol cars collided as they attempted to avoid the stop sticks. One of the patrol cars then struck Lieutenant Meyer. The vehicle being pursued continued to flee, however, the driver was taken into custody later in the night and charged in connection with the incident. Lieutenant Meyer was transported to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where he remained until succumbing to his injuries. Lieutenant Meyer had served with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for 12 years. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.