The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announced June 6, that Colonel Robert Evanchick has been confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate as the 23rd commissioner of Pennsylvania State Police. He had been serving as acting commissioner since March 2018. The unanimous vote to confirm Colonel Evanchick took place in Harrisburg on June 4, 2019. As commissioner, Colonel Evanchick exercises command, administrative, and fiscal authority over the tenth largest police agency in the United States and its more than 6,500 enlisted and civilian employees. "It is truly an honor to follow in the footsteps of those who came before me and serve as commissioner of the oldest, and what I believe is the finest, state police force in the country," said Colonel Evanchick. "I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated men and women of this department to move the agency forward in our mission to improve the quality of life of all Pennsylvanians." A native of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Colonel Evanchick, 61, began his career in law enforcement as an officer with the Wilkes-Barre City Police Department before enlisting in the PSP in 1981. As he progressed through the ranks, Colonel Evanchick served as a station commander, troop commander, director of the department's Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards, and deputy commissioner of operations.
South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Patrick Bumann has been named the 2018 South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year. Bumann, who is a member of the Sioux Falls squad, was honored during a Wednesday, June 5, awards luncheon in Sioux Falls. The award, sponsored by AAA South Dakota, is presented to a trooper for their continued demonstration of exceptional service to the agency, citizens, and communities. “Trooper Bumann has performed at a high level since he joined the Highway Patrol in 2014,” said Maj. Rick Miller of the Highway Patrol. “He is always willing to take on new challenges and responsibilities.” A Sioux Falls native and graduate of Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School, Bumann has worked in the areas of crash investigation, drug recognition and technology. He also has helped train new highway patrol recruits as a field training officer and is involved in the South Dakota Special Olympics. This is the sixth year that AAA South Dakota has sponsored the Trooper of the Year Award. Marilyn Buskohl, manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA South Dakota, says the organization is honored to be part of the award. “Every year, I am reminded how fortunate we are in South Dakota to have so many outstanding law enforcement officers working for us every day,” Buskohl said. “We are honored by their call to duty and this award is a way to recognize those who protect and serve us.”
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is launching its Safe Summer Travel campaign, reminding motorists to put safety at the top of their travel checklist this summer. With more residents and visitors on Florida’s roadways, FLHSMV and its Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to help ensure all travelers Arrive Alive. “Summer is one of the busiest times on Florida roadways, but it is also a great time to travel with the whole family. Take time to make sure your vehicle is travel-ready and always check for children and pets every time you get out of your vehicle,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Whether it’s a day trip or longer vacation, remember to slow down, stay cool and be safe.” In June and July 2018, there were 118,060 citations issued for unlawful speed, the highest out of any other months. Obeying speed limits and not driving aggressively improves safety by reducing the probability and severity of crashes. All motorists must obey speed limits and are responsible for knowing the speed limit on the roadway. In Florida, the speed limit will never be higher than 70 mph. “As we approach one of the busiest times on Florida’s roadways, FHP Troopers remain committed to being highly visible to ensure motorists are following speed limits and not driving aggressively,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Take the time to safeguard yourself and your loved ones by preparing your vehicle before a road trip and Arrive Alive this summer.” Motorists are reminded to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time. The inside of a vehicle can heat by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window open does little to keep the vehicle cool. There have been nine child heat stroke deaths in the United States in 2019, three occurred in Florida, claiming the lives of three children. Since 1998, 91 child heatstroke deaths have occurred in Florida, more than any other state except Texas. “Families across Florida are gearing up to enjoy quality time during summer break,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. “Parents and caregivers should always remain vigilant around water and remember to never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Tragedy can strike in seconds. Always take the proper precautions to keep you and your family safe all year long.” Throughout June and July, FLHSMV is joined by its campaign partners to educate Floridians on all aspects of vehicle and driving safety during the busy summer months. “The summer months are some of the busiest on Florida’s roadways. Whether you’re hitting the road for the ultimate family vacation or driving across town, prepare before you leave, practice good habits behind the wheel and never leave children or pets unattended,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “From checking tire pressure and planning your route to always driving sober and obeying the speed limit, simple steps can make a big difference and help keep you and others safe. The first line of defense is our behavior. And remember, buckle up – every trip, every time.”
The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911 and check traffic conditions before departing for their trip. For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel information, visit: flhsmv.gov/summertravel.
A two year old girl was saved from possible disaster by a quick acting state trooper on Friday, May 24. Sergeant Joseph Richards from the Alpena post was on duty in Alcona County's Mitchell Township when he saw the toddler cross a busy road ahead of him. State police say that as Sgt. Richards approached the little girl she turned back on to the road, with a dump truck coming toward her. Richards stopped the patrol car, jumped out, and grabbed the little girl just as the passing truck locked it's brakes up trying to avoid her.
Two men were arrested early Sunday on cocaine trafficking charges following a vehicle stop on Interstate 91 near the Vermont line in Bernardston, state police said. Troopers found 145 grams of cocaine inside the car, or about a little over 5 ounces, and $4,700 in cash, according to state police. The car was originally pulled over at around 12:30 a.m. after Trooper Scott Boutell noticed the 2009 Jeep Cherokee had a faulty bulb on its rear license plate.
Trooper Nic Cederberg received the National Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor presented by the President of the United States. This is the highest national award for valor a public safety officer can receive. Nic was awarded this honor for his bravery shown on December 25, 2016, Christmas Day. Trooper Cederberg, on patrol alone and without cover, attempted to arrest a craven and desperate murder suspect. The suspect engaged Nic in a close quarters gun battle, with our OSP family member sustaining a dozen gunshot wounds and left clinging to life. That Christmas morning, Nic provided us all with the greatest gift imaginable, his determination and will to survive in the face of impossible odds. Nic, who was a US Army veteran and who is seven year veteran of the Oregon State Police at the time, has not yet been able to return to work due to the injuries inflicted. Nic initially spent 48 long days in the hospital, and continues to fight for a full recovery. “The greatest gift the Oregon State Police has received is Nic’s pure determination to survive. Trooper Cederberg typifies the grit and perseverance of an OSP Trooper, humbly serving with distinction in the face of difficult circumstances. Nic, we love you and honor your service. All of Oregon celebrates your award of the Medal of Valor and the personal story it symbolizes.”- Superintendent Travis Hampton. “I am proud to have our Oregon State Police represented at the White House today by Trooper Cederberg. On Christmas Day 2016, he showed enormous courage in the most difficult of circumstances, and exemplified the kind of service and bravery the Medal of Valor represents. His life and community will be forever impacted by that night, and his experience is part of why I feel strongly that we need more troopers on Oregon’s highways. I wish Nic the best on his continued recovery and congratulate him for this distinguished recognition.” - Governor Kate Brown.
Every day, public safety officers risk their lives to protect America’s citizens and communities. To honor that commitment, Congress passed The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001 (https://www.bja.gov/programs/medalofvalor/valor.html), which created the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer. The medal is awarded annually to public safety officers who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect human life.
For those that would like to watch, the ceremony at the The White House is accessible at the provided links below:
State troopers recovered more than 170 pounds of marijuana during a routine traffic stop near the town of Eagle earlier in the month. After pulling over the vehicle on the night of May 9, the trooper noticed it reeked of pot. Spotting several large boxes in the back of the van, the trooper questioned the driver, who allegedly said she was driving the boxes from Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada. Other troopers were called to the scene to search the van and recovered 173 pounds of pot and 3,800 grams of what appeared to be concentrated marijuana oil. State Patrol says the driver was arrested on felony charges for possessing more than 50 pounds of marijuana, as well as careless driving.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper had to leap onto a concrete barrier wall on I-95 in Boynton Beach on Monday to avoid a car that was hydroplaning in rainy weather. The trooper, Jeremy Medastin, was treated for an apparent broken ankle and released from an area hospital, FHP spokesman Lt. Alvaro told reporters. Medastin’s dashboard video camera caught the incident on the southbound lane of I-95. Medastin was preparing to fill out paperwork for an earlier crash on inside shoulder of the highway. As he walked back to his patrol car, a vehicle in the right lane hydroplaned, crossed several lanes of traffic before hitting the 7-foot wall, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The car hit Medastin’s leg as he scrambled up the wall. The vehicle also hit the car that had been involved in the previous crash. The investigation is ongoing.
To watch video, go to: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article230388774.html
Maj. Rick Miller of Pierre has been named as the next superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. Miller is currently an assistant superintendent for the Highway Patrol in charge of administrative services and special operations. He will replace Col. Craig Price who was named to the position of Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Public Safety by Gov. Kristi Noem. It was Secretary Price, then as Highway Patrol superintendent, who promoted Miller to Major in 2013. Miller is a Watertown native and served almost seven years in the U.S. Marines Corps. He has been with the Highway Patrol for almost 18 years, serving as both a trooper and as a police service dog handler. “I’m grateful for the confidence that Secretary Price and Governor Noem have in me,” Miller said. “My goal as superintendent is simple – give our motor carrier inspectors and our troopers the support, training, and resources needed so they can best serve the public and return home safely each night to their own families.” An official transfer of command ceremony will be held at a later date. Miller, who will be promoted to the rank of Colonel at that time, will become the 14th Superintendent in the history of the Highway Patrol, which was established in 1937. The Highway Patrol currently has 193 state troopers and 85 civilian staff.
As the summer travel season approaches, there are more than four dozen new pairs of eyes making sure you are not speeding on Florida roadways. The Florida Highway Patrol graduated 54 new troopers Friday, as part of its 141st class. The graduation ceremony was held in Tallahassee, but the new officers are joining troops from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys. The cadets trained for 29 weeks to earn their badges. Governor Ron DeSantis congratulated the graduating class, reminding them that they will likely face stressful situations in the coming years. “It’s been a busy couple of years for the state of Florida, with the things we have had to contend with," said DeSantis. "You very well may be called into action after a hurricane or after some type of emergency situation.” Statewide, there are more than 1,700 sworn FHP officers, which is now in its 80th year of existence.
The Delaware State Police were on on scene of a crash that occurred at approximately 4:15 a.m., Wednesday, May 8, 2019, on southbound State Route 1 at the crest of the Roth Bridge. The initial investigation has determined that two Delaware State Troopers, who were operating separate vehicles, were stopped in the southbound right lane on the bridge, assisting a disabled motorist. One Trooper was seated in his vehicle and a second Trooper was outside the vehicles making contact with the motorist, who was also out of his vehicle. A tractor-trailer traveling southbound in the right lane, struck the rear of the first unoccupied DSP vehicle, causing a chain reaction crash. As a result of the crash both Troopers were transported to the Christiana Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The tractor-trailer driver and other motorist were not injured.
Corporal Joshua Moer, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has been recognized nationally for his quick and decisive actions when rescuing a kidnapping victim who was also being stabbed repeatedly.
The American Association of State Troopers recognized Corporal Moers’ heroic actions by naming him the 2019 Trooper of the Year for, saving the life of a severely injured kidnapping victim and apprehending the violent assailant as well as keeping the citizens of Wichita County, Texas safe.
On April 26, 2018, Anthony L. Carter kidnapped Kaylea Renee Butts in Norman, Oklahoma. The pair traveled to Wichita County, Texas where a vehicle pursuit involving several law enforcement agencies ensued for approximately 35 miles, and reached speeds up to 150 miles per hour. Near the conclusion of the pursuit Corporal Moer was the lead unit. After assisting officers successfully deployed spike strips Carter’s car came to a complete stop, Ms. Butts exited the vehicle and was chased and tackled by Carter. Carter was on top of Ms. Butts and was violently stabbing her with a large knife. Realizing that minutes mattered, Corporal Moer discharged his pistol at Carter from approximately 40 yards away to stop Carter’s violent assault on Ms. Butts. Corporal Moer’s shot hit Carter, thus briefly delaying the assault. Trooper Aaron Clopton arrived at the scene, exited his vehicle with his patrol rifle. Corporal Moer and Trooper Clopton quickly advanced towards Carter and Ms. Butts. Corporal Moer gave verbal commands for Carter to stop, however, he refused to comply and continued to stab Ms. Butts. Both Corporal Moer and Trooper Clopton discharged their weapons at Carter to stop the aggravated assault. Carter eventually fell off Ms. Butts and died, ending the attack. Corporal Moer had discharged his pistol 11 times striking Carter with each round. After determining that Carter was no longer a threat, Corporal Moer returned to Ms. Butts and started to provide first aid along with other first responders until EMS arrived and transported Ms. Butts to the hospital. Ms. Butts received approximately 13 stab wounds and lost approximately 5 pints of blood. Due to the quick actions of Corporal Moer to stop Carter’s assault on Ms. Butts and the immediate first aid provided to her by Moer and others, Ms. Butts not only survived the aggravated assault, but she made a substantial recovery from her wounds and significant blood loss.
In this highly stressful situation, Corporal Moer displayed leadership and courage that saved the life of Ms. Butts. Corporal Moer maintained his composure and relied on his training while using sound judgement. After the event, Corporal Moer showed compassion, but knew he had based his actions and decision on a deep reverence for human life. A presentation ceremony will be held on August 8, 2019 in Austin, Texas at the Public Safety Commission August meeting.
(Warning: This video contains graphic images). Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNkMmfJ01hE
AAST would like to acknowledge and congratulate the other trooper nominations for the 2019 AAST Trooper of the Year.
Joshua McDonnell & Rigoberto Diaz Arizona DPS Highway Patrol
Rockey Rapert Arkansas State Police
Chris Goodman Arkansas State Police
Korey Reynolds California Highway Patrol
Christopher Solda Delaware State Police
Cantrell Cooley Georgia Department of Public Safety
John Oreskovich Illinois State Police
Nicole R. Maenza Indiana State Police
Cody King Michigan State Police
Richard B. Latham Mississippi Highway Patrol
Steven B. Johnson Missouri State Highway Patrol
Joseph Dellabella Nevada Highway Patrol
Keith Ashley New Jersey State Police
Nicholas Clark New York State Police
Jeremy Wheeland Ohio State Highway Patrol
Christopher Jester Ohio State Highway Patrol
Paul Wilkins South Carolina Highway Patrol
James Holland TX Ranger Texas DPS
Austin Albright Virginia State Police
Trooper Matthew Gatti was killed when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer on I-40 near mile marker 74 in Madison County. The incident occurred at approximately 3:45 pm as Trooper Gatti was responding to a call.