Virginia State Police and seven additional state police and highway patrol agencies issued 3,017 summonses in 'Operation Border to Border'

VSP Operation Border to Border

State Police said they were among eight state police and highway patrol agencies that spend Friday, June 9 - Sunday, June 11 enforcing Operation Border to Border along 791 miles of U.S. Route 15 and 124 miles of U.S. Route 17 in an effort to prevent traffic crashes along the heavily-traveled corridor.  State Police said the coordinated traffic safety enforcement initiative resulted in 3,017 total summonses and arrests among the seven states.  There were also zero fatal traffic crashes along either highway corridor during the enforcement effort.  State troopers from Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia worked together by conducting saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, commercial vehicle inspections and other enforcement initiatives to reduce traffic crashes and combat criminal behavior along the non-interstate highways.  Virginia State Police said 835 of those summonses and arrests came from our state in the counties of Loudoun, Prince William, Warren, Culpeper, Madison, Orange, Louisa, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Prince Edward, Charlotte and Halifax.  “Once again, the Virginia State Police was proud to partner with fellow state police and highway patrol agencies with the common goal of saving lives along the Route 15 and Route 17 corridors,” said 1st Sgt. A.D. Blankenship, Area Commander of the Virginia State Police in Loudoun County.  “Taking 25 drunken drivers off the highway, slowing down almost 1,300 speeders and buckling up more than 470 children and adults translates into countless lives saved.  And, that’s what this initiative is all about – getting the public to recognize the importance of driving to save lives through such proactive actions as buckling up, driving free of distractions, complying with posted speed limits and never driving impaired by alcohol or drugs.”  Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

6/22/17

Line

State Troopers to begin patrolling St. Louis interstates, freeing up police for violent crime

MHP patrolling interstates

Missouri Highway Patrol troopers will soon be patrolling interstates in St. Louis as part of a 90-day pilot program to free up city police officers to focus on violent crime.  Between 20 and 30 troopers will be assigned to the special detail, which will focus on the stretches of Interstates 55 and 70 that fall within the city limits, said Missouri Highway Patrol Cpl. Juston Wheetley.  About eight troopers will be on each shift.  The troopers also will be available to back up city police officers if they’re ever in need of assistance, but their primary focus will be traffic enforcement, Wheetley said.  “There’s a lot of violent crime in that area, and we will be aggressively enforcing all traffic and hazardous movement to free up city officers to focus on the violent crime in those areas,” he said.  “We’re really looking forward to partnering with the city and assisting them in any role that we can.”  Troopers were originally scheduled to begin patrolling the interstates this week, but the plan was postponed as leaders continue to “work out some details,” Wheetley said.  Troopers are now set to begin patrolling in the city in early July, he said.

6/20/17

Line

 

 

California Highway Patrol officer rescues baby deer

CHP saves deer

A California highway patrol officer came to the rescue of a baby deer stuck in a freeway drain during a thunderstorm.  California Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Fisher says he was driving on Interstate 80 near Truckee Monday when he spotted the fawn sticking its little head out of rushing water.  Fisher says he freed the deer's left back leg from the drainage ditch, placed it on the side of the road and waited for its mother to show up.  When the mother did not show, Fisher wrapped the fawn in his sergeant's jacket, put it in his patrol car and drove it to a veterinary.  A veterinarian treated the deer for water in her lungs and hypothermia.  Fisher says the deer, named "Star," is doing well and will be taken to an animal sanctuary in Lake Tahoe.

6/21/17

Line

State Patrol to target left lane "campers"

WSP Left Lane

Washington State Patrol announced (WSP) troopers will be conducting a “statewide focus of effort” to address left lane violators on multiple lane roadways between June 20th and 22nd.  According to a recent announcement, this is in response to numerous requests WSP has received about left lane “campers” throughout Washington.  RCW 46.61.100 requires all vehicles to keep right except when passing on multiple lane roadways.  Left lane “campers” refers to drivers who remain in the passing lane (left lane) for long periods of time without passing.  The WSP said in their announcement left lane camping can lead to road rage, aggressive driving, traffic congestion, and collisions.  Getting caught camping in the left lane can result in a $136 ticket.  Last year, the WSP reports they contacted 16,453 left lane violators.

6/20/17

Line

State Patrol to set up OVI checkpoints

OSHP OVI Checkpoints

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will once again be cracking down on intoxicated drivers this summer by using checkpoints and having more troopers on the road.  Lt. Brian Aller, commander of the state patrol’s Springfield Post, said his office is working on setting up OVI checkpoints over the summer and will also have troopers working overtime to stop dangerous drivers.  “We are trying to keep people who are impaired off the roadway so they don’t kill people who hurt somebody,” Aller said.  He said his office is committed to the safety of the roadways, and an intoxicated driver threatens everyone.  “We will have an influx of units who work traffic on overtime, and they look for impaired drivers and other criminal activity,” he said.  The Marysville post will be setting up OVI checkpoints soon, Lt. Molly Harris said.  She said she notices an increase in impaired driving during the summer months.  “I think if you think about your own cookouts and hanging out with friends most of those are usually held in the summer,” she said.  “Bon fires and different functions.”  She said in her area, Indian Lake is a popular attraction this time of year and can be good fun for all.  But it is important that everyone acts responsibly when its time to go home.  Checkpoints and increased patrols will hopefully remind drivers that putting their life and the lives of others at risk is not OK.  “We want to make sure we are visible and people know we are out here,” she said.  Wearing seat belts and being a cautious driver is also important safety tips that Ohioans should follow this summer, Harris said.

6/20/17

Line

 

Texas DPS graduates 122 new Highway Patrol Troopers

DPS graduates 122 new troopers June 2017

The Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw was joined by members of the Texas Public Safety Commission, including PSC Chairman Steven P. Mach, Friday as the department commissioned 122 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers.  “It takes a special kind of person to be willing to sacrifice their safety in order to protect others from danger,” Chairman Mach says, “in joining DPS, you have declared to the world that you intend to live a life of purpose serving and protecting the people of the great State of Texas.  We are extremely fortunate for your dedication to duty and are proud of each and every one of you – our newest Texas State Troopers.”  The A-2017 class, which is the department’s 159th training class, included 15 women, 12 former peace officers, and 48 military veterans.  The oldest graduate is 49-years-old and the youngest is 21-years-old.  The class also included a Trooper whose father, a Highway Patrol Sergeant, died in the line of duty in 2015.  It was also the first known time two sisters graduated in the same class.  “These 122 graduates will join their fellow DPS Troopers as the a first line of defense against a wide variety of threats in the communities they serve,” says Director McCraw,“we are counting on you to help make your communities safer, and to uphold the tradition and standards of the Texas Highway Patrol.”  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.  The Troopers began the 23-week training academy in January of 2017.  Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, traffic, 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.

6/19/17

Line

Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Killed in Line of Duty

FHP Sergeant Bishop Killed In Line of Duty

Sergeant William Bishop was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating an accident on I-75, near mile marker 403, in Alachua County.  He was outside of his vehicle when a secondary accident occurred in the center lane at approximately 10:00 pm.  One of the vehicles involved in the secondary accident then struck Sergeant Bishop, pinning him underneath it.  Sergeant Bishop had served with the Florida Highway Patrol for 30 years.  He is survived by his wife and son.

6/19/17

Line

Ohio State Patrol's 2016 Trooper of the Year

OHP 2016 Trooper of the Year

State Sen. Gayle Manning, a North Ridgeville Republican, honored Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Juan “Ray” Santiago of the Elyria Post during a recent visit to Columbus, according to a June 15 news release from her office.  Santiago was named the 2016 Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year, according to the release.  “I am pleased to honor Trooper Santiago for his commitment to our community and the state of Ohio,” Manning said.  “Ohians should take comfort in knowing that Ohio’s Highway Patrol has some of the best-trained and most dedicated public servants in the country.  “Thank you to Trooper Santiago and those who join him in an effort to keep our Ohio families safe.”  A resident of Lorain, Santiago joined the Highway Patrol in 2010, and was honored along with nine other District Troopers across the state, the release said.  Santiago’s wife, Mallory, joined him when he was honored by Manning.

6/19/17

Line

 

Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Killed in Line of Duty

FHP Sergeant Bishop Killed In Line of Duty

 

Sergeant William Bishop was struck and killed by a vehicle while investigating an accident on I-75, near mile marker 403, in Alachua County.  He was outside of his vehicle when a secondary accident occurred in the center lane at approximately 10:00 pm.  One of the vehicles involved in the secondary accident then struck Sergeant Bishop, pinning him underneath it.  Sergeant Bishop had served with the Florida Highway Patrol for 30 years.  He is survived by his wife and son.

6/19/17

Line


South Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 39 new troopers

SCHP 101st Graduation

The South Carolina Highway Patrol held graduation ceremonies for 39 troopers from its High Basic class 101 Wednesday.  South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson spoke to the graduates on behalf of Gov. McMaster and read a letter to the graduates from the governor.  "Leadership is not about the perks and privileges that come with it.  It is about service," Wilson told the graduates.  Basic 101 brings the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 798.  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 in the field training.  "Your job is important because you do something that few people can't even imagine," said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith.  Troopers are assigned to areas based upon population, calls for service, and the number of licensed drivers in an area.  "Many long hours of training and sacrifice lead up to this exciting day," said SCHP Col. Michael Oliver.  At each graduation, the Patrol presents distinguished awards to outstanding troopers from the class.  The winners from the 2017 Basic Class 101 are:  Trooper Spencer Nieto of Goose Creek is the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award.  TroNieto was diagnosed with cancer in his 16th week of training.  Throughout his treatments, he remained committed and graduated with honors.  Trooper Chad Richards was presented with the Marksmanship Award after he demonstrated the best marksmanship during fire training.  Lastly, Trooper Stephen Steagall of Gaffney was presented the Physical Fitness Award after he excelled on all physical training test during each exercise.  The South Carolina Highway Patrol strives to ensure public safety by protecting and serving the people of South Carolina.

6/16/17

Line

State Police warn warmer weather poses danger for children

Kentucky Hot Car tips

The Kentucky State Police have issued a warning to remind parents not to leave a child alone in a hot car.  Police say law enforcement agencies answer calls every year about unattended children in vehicles.  KidsandCars.org reported that 39 children died in the U.S. during 2016 from vehicular heat stroke.  Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said vehicle heat stroke is often misunderstood, and a majority of parents are misinformed and would like to believe that they could never "forget" their child in a vehicle.  "The most dangerous mistake a parent can make is to think leaving a child alone in their car could never happen to them," Webb said.  "In these fast-paced times, it is easy for parents to get distracted and forget their child is in the car with them."  Webb said that the interior of a car heats up very quickly and temperatures inside can reach 125 degrees in minutes.  "A child's body heats up three to five times faster than that of an adult," Webb said.  "The temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in 10 minutes.  Together, this can be deadly in a very short period of time."  Kentucky passed "Bryan's Law" in 2000, which makes a person liable for a second-degree manslaughter or first-degree wanton endangerment for leaving a child younger than eight years old in a motor vehicle where circumstances pose a grave risk of death.  Police have also asked citizens to keep an eye out for children left in vehicles on hot days and to call 911 if they think the occupant is in danger.  

Police have offered the following safety tips:

• Never leave a child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.

• Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don't overlook sleeping babies.

• Always lock your car. If a child is missing, check the car first, including the trunk. Teach your children that vehicles are never to be used as a play

  area.

• Keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and when the child is put in the seat, place the animal in the front with the driver as a reminder.

• Place your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car.

• Make ‘look before you leave’ a routine whenever you get out of the car.

6/15/17

Line

 

Governor Edwards appoints Colonel Kevin Reeves superintendent of Louisiana State Police

LSPs New Superintendent Kevin Reeves

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the appointment of Colonel Kevin Reeves as the Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Services and the Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police (LSP).   In March, Col. Reeves was appointed to the position on an interim basis.  “Since his appointment, Col. Reeves has done an exceptional job at the state police and he has won the praise of his colleagues and law enforcement across the state,” said Gov. Edwards.  “In preparing for hurricane season or responding to severe weather, Col. Reeves has accepted the challenge of leading this agency and serving the people of Louisiana.  I have been extremely impressed by his level of professionalism and the new ideas he has brought to the department.  I look forward to continuing to work with him on a more permanent basis, and I am grateful that he and his wife, Kristi, have accepted this position.”  “I am humbled by the Governor’s permanent appointment to serve as Superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and Deputy Secretary of Public Safety.  It is a tremendous responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of our state, and I shall never take it for granted,” said Colonel Kevin Reeves.  “However, this appointment is not about Kevin Reeves.  My priority is to support every DPS employee and provide the training, tools and technology to be successful.  As we move forward, accountability begins with me and extends to every employee in the department.  We know we have some challenges ahead, but we will face these challenges together and be stronger because of them.  The public demands nothing less.”  Major Reeves, a native of Baton Rouge, received his degree from Louisiana Tech University.  He began his career at the Louisiana State Police in 1990 as a trooper assigned to motorcycle patrols with Troop A in Baton Rouge.  His career in the state police brought him to Troop F in Monroe in 1993, where he served as a squad leader for the mobile field force and as a case agent and undercover agent on many narcotics investigations and operations for the Bureau of Investigations.  In 2008, he became the Troop Commander of Troop F before assuming the role of Command Inspector of Patrol Operations and Commander of Statewide Mobile Field Force Team in 2013.  Major Reeves is married to Kristi Hall Reeves and they have three children – Kaleb, Kyle and Klayton.

6/14/17

Line

Where are Florida's Highway Patrol troopers?

FHP Trooper Shortage

Drunks weaving in and out of lanes on highways. Drivers texting and paying little attention to the road.  Cars drag racing at high speed.  And white-knuckled, frustrated motorists who ask: Why don’t we see Florida Highway Patrol troopers stopping these people?  Answer: Because there are not as many as there should be on our state roadways.  FHP is struggling with chronic manpower shortages and high turnover because Florida troopers’ pay ranks dead last in the nation.  The ripple effect is being felt by drivers who rarely observe troopers on patrol and must wait longer for a response if they are involved in a crash.  The FHP is currently operating with 201 vacancies in a workforce that is supposed to be 1,946 at full capacity.  Starting salary for a Florida rookie trooper is $33,977 — the lowest among the 49 states that have a state patrol. (Hawaii does not.)  California’s starting troopers earn the highest starting wage, at $74,700.  In Texas, it’s $73,000.  In Alabama, at No. 48, it’s $35,590.  “They are in a dire situation and it’s a disgrace,” said Charles Miller, a retired Miami-Dade police officer who worked as an auxiliary FHP trooper for the final three years of his 37-year career.  “Where are the troopers?  You can drive a considerable distance and never see one.  There’s extreme speeding and more and more horrific crashes.  It’s a demanding job and they often have no backup.  It’s a shame for the men and women who put their lives on the line for Floridians.”  Of the 226 law enforcement agencies in Florida, the highway patrol ranks 174th in starting salary, according to an Office of the Inspector General report.  That puts FHP ahead of such small towns as Chipley and Chattahoochee, but far behind Miami-Dade County ($54,090), Broward County ($47,482), Palm Beach County ($51,312) and such local cities as Pinecrest, which ranked No. 1 at $64,708 and Lighthouse Point ($60,000), Boca Raton and Sunrise ($57,000), Miami Shores ($54,038), Miami Gardens ($47,800) and Miami ($45,929).  FHP is battling an 8.83 percent turnover rate.  Plus, the academy that would typically have 80 recruits per class currently has only 25.  Sixty-three recent graduates are in field training.  “Due to attrition and retirements, the FHP has experienced a steady shortage of sworn members over the past few years,” said FHP Capt. Jeffrey Bissainthe.  “FHP uses a proven staffing model to determine minimum staffing requirements for each of the FHP troops, but when there are fewer troopers on the road, it may mean a slower response time for drivers involved in a crash or disabled motorists who are stranded on the side of the road.”  Higher pay in other states and municipalities is luring Florida troopers away, said Matt Puckett, executive director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association.  “We think salaries should be in the mid-40s in order to be competitive,” he said.  Drivers have reason to worry.  Compare data from 2011 to 2016.  The number of licensed drivers in Florida has increased by 1 million during that time and the number of annual crashes has increased from 229,000 to 395,000.  Yet the number of traffic citations issued by the FHP has decreased, from 947,000 to 742,000.  Speeding tickets are down 18 percent.  Response time should be 30 minutes or less, but has increased.  As a consequence of lower trooper numbers, local police and sheriff’s officers are working more crashes on state roads — almost 50 percent of accidents statewide.  “It used to be if I needed help from a trooper late at night, I could count on a quick response,” said Miller, the ex-Miami-Dade captain who often found that during the three years he patrolled for the FHP he would be the only trooper on duty in the entire north end of Miami-Dade County.  “They used to be our pursuit cars on a robbery.  They don’t do that anymore.  There can be a major rollover wreck on I-95 and no trooper available.”  DUI arrests can take two hours or more to process, which further exacerbates troopers’ lack of presence on the road.  Some relief is on the way.  Included in the state budget passed by the Florida Legislature and awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature is a pay increase, to $36,223 for starting salaries, and a 5 percent raise for all state law enforcement officers.  The PBA had lobbied for a $10,000 across the board raise and incentives or a step pay plan that would reward troopers for longevity.  “If you hit certain benchmarks, you should earn increases in pay,” Puckett said.  “We will have to revive bills on career development.  People are happy with the 5 percent raise but we need to deal with the retention problem.”

6/13/17

Line

Rupert native named Idaho State Police deputy director

Idaho SP deputy director

Idaho State Police’s next deputy director is a Rupert native who began his career in 1997.  Maj. Sheldon Kelley, a native of Rupert, will assume his new rank of lieutenant colonel on July 2.  Lt. Col. Kedrick Wills — the next Idaho State Police director — designated his own replacement with the appointment of Kelley.  It will become effective once Col. Ralph Powell retires and Wills assumes his role as director on June 30.  Kelley began his career with the Idaho State Police in 1997 after six years of service in the United States Army.  He attended the Idaho Peace Officer Standards Training and ISP training academies.  He was assigned as a resident trooper to the Gooding County area.  In 2002, he was promoted to a member of a narcotics investigation team in the Treasure Valley.  He was promoted to District 3 Patrol lieutenant in 2010, headquarters captain in 2012 and major in April 2016.Bottom of Form  “Major Kelley is highly deserving of this promotion and I’m confident he’ll handle his new role with the integrity and outstanding attention to detail for which he is well known throughout ISP and the Idaho law enforcement community,” Wills said in a statement.

6/13/17

Line

Highway Patrol trooper receives AAA South Dakota State Trooper of the Year award

SDHP 2017 Trooper of the Year

South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Cody Jansen has been named as the 2017 South Dakota State Trooper of the Year.  The Department of Public Safety said trooper Jansen, who is with the Vermillion squad, was recognized during an awards luncheon Tuesday in Sioux Falls.  Sponsored by AAA South Dakota, the award is presented to a trooper for continued demonstration of exceptional service to the agency, citizens and communities.  “The Highway Patrol is proud of Trooper Jansen, not only for his commitment to the Highway Patrol, but also to his family and community,” Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the Highway Patrol, said.  “Trooper Jansen reflects the high standards of the Highway Patrol in his daily life and for that, is well deserving of this award.”  The DPS said that in the nomination received for Trooper Jansen, he was honored for his professionalism and ability to work with others.  Among his many duties as a state trooper, Trooper Jansen serves as a field training officer for new recruits.  In his private life, Trooper Jansen serves on the Vermillion/Clay County Ambulance and Vermillion Fire Department.  This is the fifth year for the Trooper of the Year awards ceremony.  Trooper Jansen is a seven-year member of the Highway Patrol.

6/9/17

Line