Pennsylvania State Police welcomes 99 new troopers

NYSP March 2020 graduation

The latest class of Pennsylvania State Police troopers had a graduation much different those of the past.  At the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey on Friday, March 27, 99 cadets of the 158th graduating class became troopers in a closed-to-the-public ceremony that was streamed live on Facebook.  Graduation ceremonies for the state police are formal affairs usually taking place with cadets’ families watching from the auditorium.  Family members of cadets who work in law enforcement are usually able to present their graduate with their new badges.  On Friday, cadets were separated by at least one seat and practiced social distancing as they accepted their credentials.  No family members in law enforcement were permitted to present badges, but their names were read during the ceremony.  “The men and women graduating today join the ranks at an unprecedented time in our department’s history,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.  “Friends and family were unfortunately unable to attend and celebrate in person, but we are grateful for their support as our newest troopers begin their public service careers in a period of extraordinary need.”

4/9/20

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"Speechless" traffic stop dance melts hearts

Indiana SP dances with girl

Indiana State Police Sgt. Mike Allen says a call he placed for backup the night of Friday, March 13, in French Lick alarmed another agency’s responding officer.  West Baden Springs Police Department Officer Gideon Ewing, 24, knew to be prepared to possibly pull up to something unpleasant because troopers do not normally ask for backup.  But, instead of summoning Ewing into danger, Allen called him to assist with something else — a sidewalk dance with a young teen girl — that was captured on a popular video being shared on the Jasper Post’s Facebook page.  Allen has served in various capacities during his state police career.  He’s been a detective, had more than 40 negotiations as a hostage crisis negotiator and was deployed out of state while serving on a tactical intervention platoon/riot team.  His current job is night shift squad sergeant.  In that role, Allen teaches his troopers to look past a traffic stop and get concerned about more than just a license, registration and possible citation.  He thinks police should get at why an infraction occurred.  He was practicing what he preaches at 10 p.m. that Friday when he stopped a vehicle for driving with no headlights on French Lick’s Beachwood Avenue, behind a Dairy Queen restaurant.  “We don’t write tickets for that,” Allen says, “but it can be dangerous.”  And, sometimes, a car at night with no headlights can signal impaired driving. Allen learned the vehicle he stopped was operated by 16-year-old Hailey Wilson who was bringing her young stepsister, seventh-grader Selena Mereno, home from a dance.  While Allen got the driver’s information, he noticed a sad-looking Selena wore a long dress and heels.  “She was obviously dressed for a certain occasion that was very formal,” Allen says.  The trooper asked about the event and whether Selena had had a good time.  She said, "Not really."  “It kind of caught me off guard,” Allen says.  “I asked what happened.  She said, ‘Nobody would dance with me.  I was lonely all night.’”  “That tore my guts up,” says the father of three children, including two daughters.  Allen went back to his patrol car to document the stop and write out a warning.  “The more I thought about it, the more it was eating me alive,” he says.  Allen went back to the girls’ vehicle, returned Wilson’s documentation, explained the stop and handed the driver a warning.  He also asked Selena what her favorite song was.  The answer: Dan + Shay’s “Speechless.”  Allen said, “I know it’s cold out, but I’ll dance with you out here on the sidewalk.”  Selena asked if he was serious.  “Absolutely,” he said.  And, with that, Allen went to his car to retrieve his phone.  That is also when he keyed his radio for a transmission that basically told Ewing in cop-speak to meet him behind Dairy Queen.  Ewing says all he knew at that point was that Allen needed assistance at a traffic stop.  And Ewing knows troopers: His brother, Noah Ewing, is also a trooper at the Jasper Post.  Not knowing what lay ahead, Ewing responded, exited his patrol truck and came upon a scene bathed in red and blue flashes that had him remarking to himself: “Is he dancing?”  Wilson started playing “Speechless” for her sister and the trooper, and in the video, there is a pause where Selena says something to Allen.  She said, “I don’t know how to do this.”  Allen said he didn’t either and that they could learn together.  And it wasn’t long before Ewing cut in and did the best he could, too.  “They don’t teach us how to dance in the Academy,” Ewing says.  It would have been nice to have additional officers, Allen says, but it was cold.  And Selena’s reaction makes him think the night was salvaged.  “She was smiling pretty big,” Ewing agreed.  Allen went off shift later and woke up Saturday to discover lots of messages on his phone and bunches of missed calls.  “I thought something horrible had happened,” he says.  Turns out Selena’s stepfather, a very happy and grateful Derek Wilson of West Baden Springs, had posted the dance video, commenting there are still “good people out there!!!!”  “The officers were great,” Derek Wilson said when asked about the incident.  “I know Mr. Allen.  He is a good guy all of the time.”  There had been only four people at the traffic stop: two girls and two cops.  But many more have been able to view what happened.  “It was really unexpected,” Ewing says.  Police officers can build barriers and not let anyone through, Allen says.  Maybe that is a way to avoid having their emotions stirred to the point of having a bad reaction. Maybe they’ve seen too many horrific things.  Maybe they have been around too many people who haven’t been very nice to them.  The video of Selena Mereno’s Friday night gets through to them.  Allen can now say he’s literally heard from hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the country who say the video and the story behind it helped them step back and re-evaluate why they do what they do.  “We got more from that little girl than she got from us,” Allen says.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.facebook.com/derek.wilson.1671897/videos/1616907455116891/

4/7/20

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Minnesota State Patrol trooper gives a doctor he pulled over for speeding his N95 medical masks

Minn SP trooper gives doctor his protective masks

A Minnesota state trooper moved a doctor to tears when he turned what should have been a speeding ticket into a heartwarming act of kindness. Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua, a cardiologist at a coronavirus quarantine unit in Duluth, was pulled over by Trooper Brian Schwartz for speeding on March 21.  But instead of a ticket, Schwartz handed Janjua five N95 masks he was supposed to use as protection -- along with a firm warning for speeding.  "I burst into tears. And though it may just have been the cold wind, I think he teared up a little as well, before wishing me well and walking away," Janjua said.  "This complete stranger, who owed me nothing and is more on the front lines than I am, shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking."

4/7/20

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Nebraska State Patrol trooper saves the day after his daughter's dance competition is postponed

Nebraska trooper dances with daughter

After his daughter’s dance competition was postponed because of coronavirus (COVID-19), a Nebraska state trooper proved you don’t have to be on a big stage to have a big audience.  The patrol posted a video on its social media pages of Lt. Kroenke dancing with his daughter.  “Big time #DadSkills on display!” the post reads.  “After Lt. Kroenke’s daughter’s dance competition season was postponed, her dance studio challenged the dancers to teach a parent part of a dance as a way to continue practicing.  Here’s the result.”  The video shows Kroenke and his daughter moving their hips (quite comically, in his case) to Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For a Hero.’  “When life gives you global pandemic lemons, the lemonade you make has to be fabulous!” the patrol’s post goes on to say.  And with thousands of views on social media, clearly people feel the dad’s creative gesture is fabulous indeed.

To wach video, go to:  https://www.facebook.com/NEStatePatrol/videos/662848724529141/

3/31/20

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North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper killed in the Line-of-Duty

NCHP Trooper killed in line of duty March 2020

Trooper Nolan Sanders was killed in a single-vehicle crash on I-795 near exit 22 at mile marker 19 in the Pikeville area of Wayne County, at 7:17 pm.  His patrol car left the roadway and struck a concrete culvert before landing on its side.  Trooper Sanders suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene.   Trooper Sanders had served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for five years and was assigned to Troop C, District 2.

3/31/20

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Nevada Highway Patrol Sergeant Killed In Line-of-Duty

NHP Sergeant killed in in line of duty March 2020

Sergeant Ben Jenkins was shot and killed when he stopped to assist a disabled motorist on US-93 near mile marker 106 in White Pine County shortly before 6:00 am on Friday.  During the encounter with the subject, the man fatally shot Sergeant Jenkins.  The man then stole Sergeant Jenkins' uniform and patrol car and fled the area.  He was apprehended several hours later following a massive manhunt involving numerous agencies. Sergeant Jenkins was a veteran of both the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.  He had served with the Nevada Highway Patrol for 12 years.  He had previously served with the Nevada State Fire Marshal Division and with the Nevada Division of Forestry.  He is survived by his wife, four children, five grandchildren, and mother.

3/31/20

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Oregon State Police SWAT team wins "Best of the West" competition

Oregon SWAT

Seven members of the Oregon State Police’s SWAT team travelled to San Jose, California in May to compete with 30 other tactical teams in the annual “Best of the West” SWAT competition.  The team was proud to be sponsored by AAST, whose assistance helped cover some of the travel costs.  Thirty of the teams were comprised from municipal, county and state law enforcement in the state of California.  OSP SWAT was the only non-California team to compete and it just so happens…they won the whole thing.  Before quickly leaving town J, the team was able to snap the attached picture.  Also included here is a thank you letter from team members, who anxiously await the opportunity to defend their title at next year’s competition.

3/27/20

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Virginia State Police graduates 37 new troopers

VSP March 2020 graduation 

Virginia State Police graduated 37 members of the 131st Basic Session on March 17, ahead of the agency's original graduation date. The members graduated on Tuesday instead of Friday because of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's directives related to COVID-19. “This is the first time in decades that state police has had to postpone an Academy graduation ceremony,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “However, this in no way diminishes the Department’s pride in or appreciation of these new Troopers and Special Agent Accountant joining our ranks. We look forward to bringing these men and women and their families to our campus at a later date in order to properly celebrate their accomplishments of completing the Virginia State Police Academy.” According to Virginia State Police, the class has received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management. The class became the 29-week journey at the Virginia State Police Academy last August. The new troopers will report to their assignments across Virginia next week.

3/26/20

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Washington State Patrol trooper killed in line-of-duty

WSP Justin Schaffer killed March 2020

Trooper Justin Schaffer was struck and killed by a fleeing vehicle while attempting to deploy stop sticks during a vehicle pursuit along I-5 in Chehalis.  The suspect driving the vehicle had stolen an item from a convenience store in Lacey the previous day.  The man had threatened the clerk with a stun gun and threatened to run him over.  Thurston County deputies spotted the truck the following day and attempted to stop it in Maytown.  The vehicle fled into Lewis County with deputies pursuing it.  Trooper Schaffer was struck by the subject as he attempted to deploy stop sticks near mile marker 79.  The man continued to flee until stopping and barricading himself inside his vehicle several miles later.  He was taken into custody by Thurston County deputies.  Trooper Schaffer had served with the Washington State Patrol for six years.  He is survived by his wife, parents, and brother.

3/25/20

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A Massachusetts State Police trooper pulls driver from burning vehicle

MDSP Pull man from burning car

A state trooper pulled an alleged drunken driver from his burning, crashed SUV early Thursday morning, possibly saving the driver’s life, police said.  Trooper Zachary Camara of the Foxboro barracks pulled the 28-year-old Brighton man through the windshield of the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse before it went up in flames in woods off Interstate 95, Trooper Dustin Finch, a state police spokesman, said.  The man, who was not identified, was the only occupant of the SUV.  The single-vehicle accident occurred about 2:20 a.m. on I-95 North just before the I-495 interchange.  Finch did not know further details of the rescue but said, based on information he was given, the trooper potentially saved the man’s life.  The victim suffered minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Mansfield Fire Chief Justin Desrosiers said. “The fire started in the engine compartment and then spread,” Desrosiers said.  The plastic gas tank melted from the heat of the blaze, releasing gas that helped fuel the flames and spread them on the ground.  The vehicle was destroyed in the incident, Desrosiers said.

3/23/20

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Washington State Patrol welcomes 42 new troopers

Washington State Patrol March 2020 graduation

Friday, March 13, 42 new Washington State Patrol troopers were sworn in by Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Debra Stephens in a ceremony held at the Washington State Patrol Academy in Olympia.  “The 42 cadets graduating today endured a rigorous application process, extensive background investigation, and received the best training, unmatched anywhere else in the nation,” said Chief John Batiste.  “Today, they will join the ranks of Washington’s finest, as troopers of the Washington State Patrol, a tradition that began 99 years ago on June 21, 1921, when six brave men kick-started their Indian motorcycles, strapped on an armband and started a proud tradition known today as the Washington State Patrol.”  It was the 112th Trooper Basic Training Class at the WSP Academy. Graduates have more than 1,000 hours if training, according to a state patrol press release.  The academy produces approximately three cadet classes each biennium, which accounts for about 100 to 120 new troopers.  Historically, only about four to six percent of the total number of applicants makes the grade to become WSP troopers, according to the state patrol.

3/16/20

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Delaware State Police welcomes 25 new troopers

Delaware State Police graduation March 2020

The Delaware State Police Superintendent Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr. announced the graduation ceremonies for the 93rd Delaware State Police and 89th Municipal Recruit Class.  The ceremonies celebrated and recognized the successful completion of Law Enforcement training of 25 Delaware State Troopers and 24 Law Enforcement Officers representing the Delaware River & Bay Authority, Dover Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Newark Police Department, University of Delaware Police Department, Seaford Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, and South Bethany Police Department.  “On Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 the strength of the Delaware Law Enforcement Community grew beyond measure with the addition of 25 State Troopers and 24 Municipal Officers representing eight agencies from across the State.  These graduates represent the top 2.5% of the over 2,000 women and men who pursued positions in this Academy Class and their performance over the past few months reinforced that they were the best of the best!  After receiving two and a half times the minimum training hours required by the Council on Police Training these women and men stand ready to serve the citizens of Delaware with the requisite confidence, passion, and humility to make all Delawareans safe and proud of their Law Enforcement protectors,” said, Captain Jason Sapp, Director of Training for the Delaware State Police.

3/11/20

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2 New Jersey State Police troopers rescue trucker before rig explodes

 NJSP pull man from rig before it explodes

Two New Jersey State Troopers pulled a man out of a burning tractor-trailer on Interstate 287 in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County just seconds before it exploded.  On Monday, March 2, at approximately 3:35 p.m., Trooper Robert Tarleton was speaking with a driver on a motor vehicle stop northbound on I-287 at milepost 20 when a nearby tractor trailer ran off the right side of the road in the express lanes, striking the guardrail and bridge abutment before becoming engulfed in flames.  When Trooper Tarleton heard the impact and observed the crash, he immediately returned the driver’s credentials and ran back to his troop car to request for fire and emergency medical services personnel to respond to the crash.  As he drove to the scene, Trooper Tarleton calmly provided an update to dispatch before exiting his vehicle and sprinting to the burning tractor-trailer.  As he approached the truck, State Police Lieutenant Edward Ryer, who was on his way home from work when he witnessed the crash, was out of his vehicle attempting to rescue the driver from the cab.  Trooper Tarleton and Lieutenant Ryer then worked together to pull the driver from the burning cab, dragging him to safety, seconds before it exploded.  The driver sustained minor injuries in the crash and was transported to Morristown Medical Center for evaluation.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

To watch video, go to:   https://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyStatePolice/videos/1064150437292326/

3/9/20

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Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper buys woman 2 new tires after she suffers blown out tire

Okla Trooper buys tires

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper worked tirelessly to help a driver who had a flat last week as she was traveling to work.  He did it by buying her two new tires.  The Highway Patrol posted the work done by trooper Chris Hanover last week on Facebook.  Andrea Derksen, who sent a note to troopers, said Hanover stopped to help her after her tire blew out.  Hanover looked at Derksen’s spare tire and told her it was in poor condition.  What Hanover did next surprised Derksen, who was driving to work when she experienced the flat tire.  “He took me to a local tire shop and not only helped me get my blown tire fixed, but he also bought 2 other tires that I desperately needed,” Derksen said.  “He turned what was starting to be a tough day into a blessing."

3/9/20

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