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California Highway Patrol worried about possible increase in crashes due to marijuana legalization

CHP Marijuana Legalization

Recreational marijuana will become legal in California at the start of 2018.  As more people have access to cannabis, the California Highway Patrol warns there is an increased risk of pot-impaired drivers on the road.  "You can look at the states that have legalized it and they've seen an uptick in collisions and fatal collisions, so it's definitely a concern for us," said CHP Officer Jonathan Sloat.  Despite that evidence, a new poll shows just 40 percent of Americans believe pot contributes to more crashes.  Officer Sloat said public perception has to change because the effects of marijuana are obvious. "What we see behind the wheel is the same thing we see with alcohol.  We see an inability to maintain your lane, maintain a consistent speed.  Slow reaction time," added Officer Sloat.  With alcohol, a 0.08 blood alcohol content is the legal basis to presume someone is intoxicated.  However, there is not a clear legal standard for impairment with marijuana yet.  Instead of passing a Breathalizer, the CHP will look for a driver's ability to pass field sobriety tests.  Officer Sloat suggests one simple rule: "If you're going to be smoking, don't jump behind the wheel, give it some time."  Or, arrange a different ride home.

1/3/18

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State police receives over $1 million in grant funding to combat meth, heroin

 VSP Grant

Virginia State Police is one of six law enforcement agencies to be awarded grant funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for their efforts in combating the meth and heroin epidemic.  The department is heading into 2018 with $1,169,546 in grant funding from COPS, which is the second largest amount of grant funding of the six agencies.   Also, the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) awarded more than $5 million to six state law enforcement agencies.  "These state agencies have demonstrated numerous seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine, laboratories, and laboratory dump seizures.  State agencies will be awarded two years of funding through CAMP to support the investigation of illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine," according to COPS.  The grant money will be used at the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (BCI) field offices across Virginia.  The department participated in 776 meth-related investigations in 2016 through its drug task forces statewide.  During those investigations, 37,744 grams of methamphetamine were seized, which had a street value of $4.5 million.   Also in 2016, state police took down 293 meth labs across the state.  This is the seventh COPS grant Virginia State Police received since 2004.

1/2/18

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Good deed by state trooper paid forward by little girl

RI Donuts

A good deed at a Sheetz by a Pennsylvania State Trooper was paid forward by a little girl.  When 9-year-old Brooke didn’t have enough money to pay for her donut holes at the local Sheetz, Pennsylvania State Trooper Chad Savannah paid for her treat.  Savannah says Brooke rushed right out of the Sheetz after that.  That was when she went home and wrote a letter to Savannah, which read, “My name is Brooke and I am 9 years old.  I was at Sheetz and didn’t have enough money.  A nice police officer behind me kindly paid for my item.  I thanked him, but felt bad because I didn’t offer him the money I had.  So, I am donating this money.  I want to thank this officer again. Stay safe. Brooke.”  It continued from there.  Troopers collected $50 and delivered a Toys R Us gift card and a special letter to Brooke at her home.  They told her to buy toys for herself.  Brooke took the gift card and used it to donate $50 worth of toys to Toys For Tots.

To watch video, go to: http://cbsloc.al/2zxF49f

 

12/29/17

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Rhode Island State Police present signed Patriots jerseys to boys involved in tragic crash

RISP Jerseys

The community came together on Friday, December 22, to help raise the spirits of two Providence children affected by tragedy earlier this month.  The boys are members of the West Elmood Intruders, a youth football team who traveled to Disney World for a national football tournament.  While on their way back home, one of the vehicles transporting the players got into a serious crash in South Carolina.  The mother of one of the players was killed in the crash, while another player suffered extensive injuries to his face and legs.  On Friday, Rhode Island State Police presented the boys with autographed New England Patriots jerseys.  “We sincerely hope these gifts make your holiday a little brighter,” Major Christopher Dicomitis said as he presented the boys with the framed jerseys at the South Side Boys and Girls Club in Providence.  The autographed jerseys were donated by Steve Barbato of Stevie B. Sports in Warwick, who said he was moved by the story of what happened.  “I wanted to make sure they had some joy in their lives because every kid deserves to smile at Christmas,” Barbato said.  State police said Barbato brought the shirts to Edgewood Gallery in Cranston to have them framed and the owner of the company, Ron Caracchio, donated the labor and materials.  “When I told [Caracchio] the story he said, ‘well, you’re not paying for it, I’ll frame them,’” Barbato recalled.  “Then Tasca Automotive, where I work, heard what I was doing and they said, ‘I know it sounds like I’m plugging everybody but we’ll pay for everything.’  So the support was overwhelming.”

12/29/17

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Texas Department of Public Safety welcomes 97 new highway patrol troopers

Texas DPS December 2017 graduation

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw today was joined by members of the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) as the department commissioned 97 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers.  Major General John F. Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas, was the keynote speaker during the recruit graduation ceremony held in Austin.  “This class of Texas State Troopers represents the best of our country: men and women of different backgrounds from Texas and beyond, all with a shared commitment to public service,” said Major General Nichols, who oversees the Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard and Texas State Guard.  “Texans can rest easy knowing there are brave men and women like those graduating today who work to keep our communities safe every day. The Texas Military Department is fortunate to call the Department of Public Safety one of our closest partners, and I am proud to serve alongside today's graduates to protect and serve the people of Texas.”  “Each of you has worked tremendously hard to get where you are today, and your perseverance and accomplishments have been nothing less than remarkable,” said PSC Chairman Steven P. Mach.  “We are confident you will make us all proud as you walk out these doors to begin your new career serving and protecting our state as a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper.”  The D-2017 class, which is the department’s 162nd recruit school, included 18 women, 16 former peace officers and 36 military veterans.  The oldest graduate was 42-years-old and the youngest was 21-years-old.  The class suspended training for a week to assist disaster relief operations in downtown Houston during Hurricane Harvey.  They also raised money for school supplies for an Austin elementary school and law enforcement families who had a loved one killed or injured.  There were recruits who moved to Texas to join the Academy from 11 different states, and this is believed to be the highest number of women graduates in one class in the department’s history.  “You now represent DPS and the State of Texas in all that you say and do, so let the department’s core values – integrity, excellence, accountability and teamwork – always be your guide,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.  “Thank you for answering the call to serve and protect your state.  Today you step into the important role as our state’s newest public protectors, and we are extremely proud of each of you.”  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 24-week training academy in July.  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.

12/28/17

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19 lateral candidates graduated from the Arizona Department of Public Safety State Trooper Academy

AZDPS December graduation

December 19th, 19 lateral candidates graduated from the AZDPS State Trooper Academy.  Four of the new troopers worked at law enforcement agencies out of state.  This is the first lateral-only AZDPS academy this year.   Lateral means the troopers are already sworn officers prior to joining the AZDPS State Trooper Academy.  Congratulations, troopers! 

12/27/17

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California trooper killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver

CHP Camilleri EOW

Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver on I-880, near Route 92, in Hayward.  He and his partner were parked on the shoulder the freeway when the vehicle struck the rear of their patrol car at a high rate of speed shortly before midnight.  Officer Camilleri, who was in the passenger seat, suffered fatal injuries in the collision.  His partner was treated and released from a local hospital.  The driver who struck them was also injured and faces numerous charges pending his release from the hospital.  Officer Camilleri had served with the California Highway Patrol for 16 months.  He is survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, parents, brother, and sister.

12/27/17

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Indiana State Police seize more than 100 pounds of marijuana during traffic stop

Indiana State Police drug bust

Police arrested two people and confiscated more than 100 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Tuesday morning in Greenfield, Indiana.   Police say it happened around 11 a.m. on Dec. 19.  That's when police say a trooper with the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section stopped a Toyota minivan for speeding on I-70 eastbound at the 95.2 mile marker, just west of the Mount Comfort Road exit in Greenfield near Indianapolis.   During the traffic stop, the trooper became suspicious of the driver, 43-year-old Tong Pan from Elk Grove, California and his passenger, 52-year-old Liandi Zhang from Mechanicsville, Virginia.  The two men stated that they were on their way to Virginia from California.   While talking to the men, police say the trooper smelled "a strong odor of marijuana and fabric dryer sheets coming from the van."  Police searched the van and found several containers and bags filled with marijuana that had been shrink wrapped and individually packaged.  Police say they seized approximately 120 pounds of marijuana.  Pan and Zhang were arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail.  They're charged with dealing and possessing marijuana. 

12/20/17

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State Troopers awarded grant to continue DUI Task Force

GA DUI Grant

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has awarded the Georgia Department of Public Safety a Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic grant to continue its Nighthawks DUI Task Force and Administrative License Suspension program.  The grant, which totals about $3.14 million, went into effect on Oct. 1 and will last through Sept. 30, 2018.  The primary goals of the H.E.A.T program are to combat crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired driving and speeding; to increase seatbelt use; and to educate the motoring public on traffic safety and the dangers of driving under the influence.  "Unfortunately, law enforcement officers encounter impaired drivers far too often," said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough.  "DPS is committed to removing these drivers from our roads.  This grant is a benefit to both GOHS and DPS to achieve the common goal of deterring impaired driving on Georgia's roads."  The Nighthawks DUI task force is divided into three separate units.  The units are all comprised of Georgia State Patrol troopers who have undergone specialized training in impaired driving enforcement.  The North unit primarily focuses enforcement in Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett counties, and the Athens-Clarke County area.  The Middle unit focuses on Dougherty, Muscogee and surrounding counties, in addition to the metropolitan areas of Albany and Columbus.  The South unit patrols the Savannah-Statesboro area.  The ALS program and the GSP Nighthawks DUI Task Force were created in 2004.  Through the ALS program, state troopers receive training, legal assistance, and in some cases, legal representation as they testify at ALS hearings for people charged with driving under the influence.  In Georgia, under certain circumstances, the state can administratively suspend the driver's license and the ALS hearing is held when the motorist contests the suspension.  Dee Brophy, a former prosecutor, is the ALS attorney who represents troopers at the ALS hearings.

12/20/17

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Florida Highway Patrol officers return from Puerto Rico

FHP officers return from Puerto Rico

A total of fifty of them traveled to the island to help as much as they could.  After just a couple of days after getting back, Sargent David Rodriguez shared his memories.  "In my 20 years of law enforcement, I never thought that I would be on the island of Puerto Rico in my uniform, in my Florida Highway Patrol Uniform in Puerto Rico, working,” said Rodriguez.  Conditions on the island were a difficult sight when the group first landed.  Most of them were either Puerto Rican or from Puerto Rican families.  Sgt. Rodriguez’s family was from the island, and he had traveled every summer when he was a child.  "I knew what the island looked like beforehand,” he said, "It was tough to see all that.”  Sgt. Rodriguez and state troopers joined forces with local Puerto Rican law enforcement to get the island back up and running.  "We had to do traffic control, because obviously the traffic control signals were out in over 400 intersections, island-wise,” Rodriguez said.  Wearing their Florida uniforms and bright yellow traffic vests, they stood in the middle of the road with traffic paddles that signaled drivers in Spanish.  "They knew we were there to help,” Rodriguez said of the Puerto Rican community.  Everyone was hands-on while working for 28 days straight.  They only had a one-day break, where they enjoyed some time at a local beach.  "We did a lot of humanitarian deliveries up in the mountainous areas, which sustained the most damage,” Rodriguez said.  He remembered one specific delivery in vivid detail.  “It was a special needs, where people were missing limbs and stuff like that.  There was no power.  They needed generators, so we brought generators up there,” Rodriguez said.  He explained that there were several struggles along the way trying to get the help out.  "It was frustrating to be there to help, and just see that lack of communication between government and the entities on the island [that] prevented a lot of stuff from moving,” Rodriguez said.  However, that didn’t prevent the Puerto Rican people to be warm and thankful to the officers.  "They would offer food to our people out in the street or on posts.  They would bring water to us,” he smiled.  This was Sgt. Rodriguez's longest deployment in his career, and it was all worth it.  "I felt like I had to be there.  To me, it was rewarding, very humbling to do that,” he said.     According to Sgt. Rodriguez, all officers who traveled to Puerto Rico to help were actually sworn in as officers for the island, which he described was a very special and rewarding moment for all.

 12/19/17

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Florida State Trooper Revives Driver

A woman found unresponsive and without a pulse in a car Wednesday on Alligator Alley was revived by a state trooper and then arrested because she was driving under the influence, authorities said. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper reported finding her vehicle on Interstate 75 near mile marker 85 in Collier County at 11:45 p.m. The vehicle was resting against the south shoulder fence along lanes for eastbound traffic, according to an FHP news release Thursday. A woman later identified as Cory Lynn Webster, 32, of Delray Beach, was sitting in the driver's seat , and the car was locked, the news release states. Concerned for her well-being, the trooper broke the rear passenger window to gain access and found Webster did not have a pulse, the release states. To gain better access, the trooper then broke the driver's side window, carried Webster out of the car and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, reviving the woman a short time later. Webster was taken to a Physicians Regional hospital in Collier. Upon being treated and released from the hospital, Webster was arrested by the trooper. She faces charges of driving under the influence (third violation in 10 years) and driving while her license was suspended, the release states. Drug test results are pending, but a breath test indicated her alcohol concentration level was .039, according to FHP. The legal limit in Florida is.08.

South Carolina Highway Patrol want to equip troopers with new rifles

A South Carolina law enforcement agency is seeking to purchase and arm personnel with semi-automatic weapons in the upcoming year. Recent shootings in Las Vegas and Texas have prompted this initiative, said Col. Chris Williamson of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The need for an upgrade in weaponry has been overlooked in past years, he said. But as state legislators are expected to review its annual budget in January, Williamson said, he hopes they consider approving more than a half-million dollars to buy more than 600 semi-automatic rifles. “From the highway patrol standpoint, we’ve already decided that this is a necessity,” he said. “We’re just hoping that the budget request is honored.” Currently, 600 of 800 troopers are armed with shotguns. Williamson said the budget approval will allow remaining personnel to upgrade to semi-automatic rifles, which provide longer range as well as coverage of a larger area, should an active shooting situation arise. “With recent active shooting situations, all suspects were armed with long rifles that took out people from a larger area and distance, so in the modern age now, we’re looking to equip all of our law enforcement with these patrol rifles as we transition from a shotgun,” Williamson said. The budget request has been submitted for the upcoming legislative session. Williamson said troopers are already trained to use semi-automatic rifles, but if the request is approved, the agency will enhance the training. “We’ve been training all of our individuals with the rifle and the rifles will do a whole lot better than the shotguns,” he said. “This is a requirement to protect our citizens. It won’t do us any good to have faster response and when we get there we don’t have the possible tools to react to a threat.”

12/14/17


Deputy accidentally shoot Oregon state trooper with Taser, apologizes with cake

Oregon trooper tased

An Oregon state trooper received a cake as an apology after an Umatilla County deputy accidentally shot him with a Taser while they both responded to a domestic violence call.  A state police Facebook post Monday shows Trooper Mitchell Goldman smiling while holding the white frosting cake brought to him by the unidentified deputy who shocked the trooper and a suspect at the same time last week.  On the top: "Sorry you got tased" written in blue icing.  Goldman arrived at the scene first and encountered a man who "became belligerent" after the trooper tried to pat him down to check if he had any weapons, according to state police.  The two got into a scuffle, which was still going on when the deputy arrived.  The deputy fired his Taser.  One prong hit the suspect.  The other hit Goldman.   "Since they were in contact with each other, they both took the tase," police said in the post.  It's not clear what happened to the man or Goldman after that.  State police and Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan didn't immediately respond to requests for further details.  The deputy brought the cake for Goldman out of guilt, the post said.  On Dec. 4, Goldman shared the photo of himself and the cake on his Facebook page. 

12/14/17

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Florida Highway Patrol trooper hit by car in crash involving suspected drunken driver

FHP Trooper Cruz seriously injured

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was seriously injured early Sunday in a crash involving a drunken driver, authorities said.  Trooper Daniel Cruz was working the scene of an earlier crash about 1 a.m. on Okeechobee Road near the Palmetto Expressway when he was hit, FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez said.  According to the arrest report, John Bencosme, 26, of Miami, was driving a blue Hyundai Velastar south on Okeechobee Road when he slammed into one of the cars from the earlier crash.  The impact sent a Hyundai Elantra spinning into Cruz, throwing him several feet into the air, the report said.  After the crash, troopers said they conducted field sobriety tests after smelling alcohol on Bencosme's breath. Troopers said Bencosme's blood alcohol level was .201 -- more than double the legal limit.  Bencosme faces multiple charges, including driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury.  "It's the greatest fear that we face," Sanchez said.  "Our roads have gotten to the point where troopers are more scared to be hit by a car than to be shot out there while they are performing their duties."   Sanchez said Cruz was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.  Troopers said Cruz seriously injured ligaments in his legs and he broke a small bone in his back.  "He is alert.  He is going to be out for about six months," Sanchez said. "He did sustain some, you know, injuries that are critical. ... But thank God he is alive."   The Palmetto Expressway southbound exit ramp to Okeechobee Road was shut down for several hours as authorities investigated the scene.

12/13/17

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North Carolina Highway Patrol welcome 17 new troopers

NCHP December 8 graduation

The State Highway Patrol proudly welcomed 17 new troopers at a graduation ceremony for the 143rd Basic Highway Patrol School.  The celebration ended 15 weeks of extensive academic and physical training.  The ceremony was held at the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary at 10 a.m.  The oath of office was administered by Justice Robin E. Hudson, Supreme Court of North Carolina.  Colonel G. M. McNeill Jr., the 27th Commander of the State Highway Patrol provided remarks to those in attendance.  "Today you are becoming an ambassador for this great state, not only to North Carolinians but to those who visit from other states and other countries,” said Colonel Glenn M. McNeill Jr.  “As ambassadors, you must serve with loyalty, integrity and professionalism; the patrol’s core values that should be reflected in every action made.”  The cadets will report to their respective duty stations on Wednesday, December 27th to begin a rigorous field training program.

12/13/17

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