Memorial cross for Utah Highway Patrol trooper killed in line of duty unveiled
A memorial cross was unveiled in Southern Utah Friday in honor of a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who died last month after being struck by a vehicle while trying to alert motorists of a low-hanging power line. A 14-foot-tall cross memorializing Trooper Eric Ellsworth was erected along Interstate 15 among 14 other white metal crosses already standing. Each cross bears the name and badge number of a fallen Highway Patrol trooper killed in the line of duty, reminding the public of those troopers’ service and ultimate sacrifice. The crosses, placed on private property owned by DATS Trucking located at 321 N. Old Highway 91 in Hurricane, face northbound traffic and can be seen just north of I-15 Exit 16. Don Ipson, a state senator and president and CEO of DATS Trucking, said he erected the crosses in 2007, following a lawsuit that had been filed alleging the crosses – originally placed near the areas where the troopers had died – violated the U.S. Constitution. The suit argued that the placement of crosses on public land violates the principle of separation of church and state. The American Atheists Inc. and three of its Utah members sued the state over the crosses in 2005. They claimed the memorials suggested a state endorsement of Christianity. In 2010, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver agreed and ordered the crosses removed. State attorneys appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it declined to hear the case. The Utah Highway Patrol Association said it had constructed the memorials in the Latin-cross shape, not for the purpose of endorsing any religion but because, in this roadside context, the cross, unlike any other marker, communicates to motorists passing at highway speeds the simultaneous messages of “death, honor, remembrance and safety.” “Memorial crosses, in general, are secular symbols widely used to honor and respect the heroic acts and noble contributions of fallen public servants,” the Highway Patrol Association states on its website. “Roadside crosses, in particular, are secular symbols widely used to memorialize, and generally understood to represent, traffic-related and other roadside deaths.” When Ipson, an honorary colonel with the UHP, heard the crosses had to be taken down, he notified the Highway Patrol Association of his idea to put all 13 memorial crosses, at the time, on his business’ property and offered to pay for them. Ipson and his family have been “unbelievable supporters of the Utah Highway Patrol,” UHP Col. Michael Rapich said Friday after Ellsworth’s cross had been erected. “This is just one thing among hundreds of other things that they do.” “You’ve been our champion in so many ways – we appreciate it,” Rapich told Ipson, adding: “This fight goes back a long ways.” Ipson said supporting the Highway Patrol has been a life-long passion of his, adding that he personally knew two of the troopers whose names now appear on the crosses. Ipson recalled being 12 years old when UHP Trooper Armond “Monty” Luke died in 1959 during a vehicle pursuit just outside of Panguitch, where Ipson grew up. Years later, when Ipson’s son was 12 years old and his family returned to Panguitch, Ipson said Trooper Ray Lynn Pierson died of a gunshot wound within a few miles of where Trooper Luke had died. Families of the fallen troopers have been appreciative of the crosses, Ipson said, adding that some families stop by to visit the memorial site from time to time.
Video that shows the faces of the 139 police officers that died in the line of duty in 2016
This 74 second video shows the faces of each of the 139 law enforcement officers that died in the line of duty in 2016. I ask that you please take one minute out of your day to watch and remember all these heroes we as Americans lost this year.Honor these men and women by sharing this video. Show the world that police officers are human beings, just like everyone else.Music: "Never Let Go" by Bryan Adams.
Highway Patrol officer jumps into moving car to save toddler from impaired driver
Suffolk County Police today arrested a woman for driving while ability impaired by drugs with her baby in the vehicle after she refused to pull over on the Long Island Expressway in Manorville tonight.Maria Lagatta was driving approximately 20 miles per hour eastbound on the Long Island Expressway one mile west of exit 70 when Highway Patrol Officer Joseph Goss attempted to initiate a traffic stop. Lagatta refused to pull over. Officer Goss pulled alongside the vehicle and saw a baby in the rear passenger seat. Officer Goss was able to slow down incoming traffic so they would not get rear-ended. Lagatta then slowed down to approximately 5 miles per hour.Officer Goss sped past Lagatta, and parked his vehicle on the right shoulder. He then jumped into Lagatta’s car, through the passenger side window and was able to bring the vehicle to a stop.Lagatta and her 22-month-old daughter were not injured. The daughter was released to a family member. Child Protective Services were notified.Lagatta, 37, of Farmingville, was charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger 15 Years Old or Younger (Leandra’s Law) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.Lagatta will be held at the Fourth Precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on December 30.The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Seventh Squad detectives are investigating.
Oregon State Trooper out of ICU following Christmas shooting
The family of a wounded Oregon State Police trooper says he has been moved out of the intensive care unit and into a hospital room just days after being shot several times on Christmas night. The brother of Trooper Nic Cederberg writes on an online fundraising page that the officer will undergo surgery Friday to fix a broken arm. The brother, Jeff Cederberg, says the procedure is his brother's last major surgery for the time being and he is "amazing the doctors and nurses with how his recovery is going." Authorities say the trooper was shot Sunday night by homicide suspect James Tylka following a car chase. Tylka was then killed by police. Officers pursued Tylka after finding his estranged wife dead outside his suburban Portland home.
State Police Lieutenant who responded to September 11 WTC attacks dies from cancer
A New Jersey State Police lieutenant who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2015 attributed to his response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center died Thursday from cancer, the State Police announced. Lt. Bill Fearon, of Cedar Grove, served 22 years with the State Police, most recently as a tactical instructor, according to his LinkedIn profile. Fearon was diagnosed with a brain tumor on May 3, 2015 and underwent surgery three days later. While undergoing treatment, he returned to work on a limited basis in July 2015, according to a story by NorthJersey.com. The Cedar Grove community rallied around the trooper during his illness and raised funds to cover medical expenses as he underwent chemotherapy treatment. A GoFundMe account started in May 2015 raised nearly $60,000 and a local fire department hosted a chili cook-off. The State Police, in a Facebook tribute to Fearon posted late Thursday, cited his enduring positive attitude during the ongoing treatment. He handed out "No Fear" wristbands throughout his battle with cancer, the State Police said. "Every day I put my feet on the ground and I look forward to winning," Fearon said, according to the State Police post. "This is the mindset that I have, it's about living without fear." Fearon is survived by his wife Janice, and their three children, Ryan, Elyse and Jessie.
Pennsylvania Trooper Killed in Line of Duty
Trooper Landon Weaver was shot and killed when he and another trooper responded to a domestic disturbance at a rural home on Bakers Hollow Road in Juniata Township, Huntingdon County, at approximately 6:30 pm.He had responded to the home to investigate a protective order violation when he was shot. The subject who shot him had been released on bail on a felony charge earlier in the month. The subject was located the following morning is and is now deceased.Trooper Weaver had served with the Pennsylvania State Police for only one year and was assigned to Troop G. He is survived by his wife.
Connecticut State Police find 10,000 Oxycodone pills during traffic stop
Troopers found 10,000 oxycodone pills after stopping a truck on I-95 southbound Wednesday afternoon, state police. A trooper patrolling through the service center on I-95 southbound in Milford about 3 p.m. spotted a man outside a Ford F150 talking on a phone, state police said. They noted that he appeared agitated. The trooper also spotted numerous equipment violations on the truck, state police said. Another man came to the truck and they both left, pulling onto I-95, state police said. The trooper stopped the vehicle on the Exit 40 ramp. A police dog was called to the scene and alerted to drugs in the vehicle, state police said. Inside the truck, state police said the troopers found the pills, valued at about $200,000 on the street. State police took the passenger in the vehicle, 30-year-old John Carlos Torres of West Haven, to Troop G. Given the amount of drugs found, state police contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration, who after contacting the U.S. Attorney's office, decided to take over the case. State police turned Torres over to DEA custody. This was the second recent sizable opioids seizure in recent weeks in the region. On Dec. 21, police in Derby stopped a tractor trailer truck on Route 34. Inside they reported finding 55 pounds of suspected fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. The drugs, they estimated, were worth $1.5 million. This case was also turned over to the DEA with the U.S. Attorney's office handling prosecution of the driver: 47-year-old Erick Escalante from Arizona.
Louisiana State Police equipping troopers with body cameras
Louisiana State Police plans to equip its state troopers with body cameras in an effort to improve transparency and safety. The LSP will purchase more than 1,500 of TASER’s “Axon Body 2” body cameras to be used by approximately 700 uniformed state troopers on patrol. “Each Trooper that’s assigned to patrol will get one,” LSP Master Trooper Brooks David with Lafayette-based Troop I said. Troop I has about 40 state troopers who cover eight parishes, including Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary. Trooper interactions with the public usually take place during traffic stops in front of the trooper’s vehicle. More Troopers find themselves in situations that happen away from their vehicles and out of the line of sight of the current in-car camera systems, David said. “I think it’s self-explanatory. It will catch a whole lot more than just that picture in front of the vehicle,” he said. According to LSP Public Affairs Section’s Lt. J.B. Slaton, there is an increased need for the LSP to be able to document these interactions for evidence collection and the protection and safety of the troopers and the public. State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson researched the use recording devices in January 2016. His staff also researched other law enforcement agencies’ deployment of different types of recording systems as well as the capabilities and the compatibilities of the various recording systems. Twenty-two troopers across the state used the “Axon Body 2” cameras from February through September. “Nothing is more important than the safety of the public we serve and the troopers committed to that service. We must ensure that we maintain transparency and accountability through proper training, sound procedures and the latest technology,” Edmonson said. “For nearly 20 years our troopers have used in-car cameras to document interactions with members of the public, but I am pleased to announce that we will now be taking that capability a step further.” “Fully deploying HD body cameras, let alone taking the innovative step of purchasing two per officer, is undoubtedly a bold move in the direction of improved accountability and officer protection,” said TASER CEO and co-founder Rick Smith. “Combine that with our Axon Signal technology, which virtually ensures that important interactions don’t go unrecorded, and you’re looking at an agency whose technology can help them go above and beyond. We commend them on being the first major, statewide agency to take these steps.” “They’re going to outfit New Orleans first because of the troopers that work on Bourbon Street and then after that they’ll start outfitting the troops,” David said. “I don’t know which order they’re going to go in.”
Pennsylvania State Police welcomes 62 new troopers
Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker announced that 62 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey, PA and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth. The men and women represent the 147th graduating cadet class. Blocker spoke during the ceremony at Bishop McDevitt High School, along with Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Christie and Major William White. Anthony Mazzone, from Montgomery County, spoke on behalf of the graduating cadet class.
Michigan State Police graduates 41 new troopers
Forty-one new Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers will report for work at MSP posts across the state this week following graduation from the 131st Trooper Recruit School. Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP, administered the Oath of Office during the ceremony at the Lansing Center. "As these new troopers travel home to be with their loved ones for the holidays, they can leave proud knowing they have what it takes to join the ranks of the elite Michigan Department of State Police," stated graduation keynote speaker, Governor Rick Snyder. "We wish them safety each and every day and hope they enjoy long and rewarding careers serving and protecting the residents of our great state." Today’s graduation ceremony also marks the debut of MSP’s new Campaign hats, a nod to what enforcement members wore until the early 1920s. All active enforcement members were given the opportunity to vote on whether the department should make the uniform change for its 100th Anniversary, which will be celebrated across the state throughout 2017. All active enforcement members began wearing the hats today. In her address to the graduates, MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said, "You have joined the MSP family at a very exciting time. As our newest troopers and the last recruit school to graduate in 2016, you are now part of our department’s history and you will help determine its future. I expect you to do what’s right, to do your best and to treat others the way you want to be treated. In everything you do, I ask that you provide ‘Service With a Purpose.’" Tpr. Thomas Gladney III was elected Class Orator by his fellow recruits and spoke on behalf of the graduating class at today’s ceremony. Other award recipients included Tpr. Brett Nichols who received the Academic Achievement Award and Team Building Award, Tpr. Trevor Baesch who received the Marksmanship Award and Tpr. Antonio Palmer who received the Outstanding Performance Award. The 131st Trooper Recruit School began on July 17, when 50 prospective troopers reported to the MSP Training Academy in Lansing. For the past 23 weeks, recruits received training in firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, patrol techniques, report writing, ethics, first aid, criminal law, crime scene processing and precision driving. In order to be selected to attend the academy, all applicants had to pass a stringent selection process that included a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview. As part of the department’s commitment to "Providing Service With A Purpose," the recruits participated in community outreach projects in which they donated food to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing and packaged food for Capital Area Community Services. The 131st Trooper Recruit School is the third of four trooper recruit schools this year, as well as a motor carrier officer recruit school.
Oregon Trooper critically wounded in shootout; suspect killed
An Oregon State Police trooper was critically wounded and a homicide suspect fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire in suburban Portland, authorities said.Sgt. David Thompson of the Washington County Sheriff's Office said the incident began late Christmas night, when police in King City found a dead woman after responding to a call about shots being fired. A suspect identified by police as 30-year-old James Tylka was seen driving away and a chase ensued. It ended with an exchange of gunfire about 20 miles south of Portland. The wounded trooper, identified by the Oregon State Police as 32-year old Nic Cederberg, is a seven-year veteran of the state police who also served in the military. Officers from Hillsboro, Sherwood and Tualatin police were involved in the incident. They have been placed on paid administrative leave. Police have not released the name of the woman found dead. The body was at a home that is Tylka's listed address. Court records indicate Tylka was married and also had an ex-wife. Court records show Tylka and the ex-wife had several years of disputes regarding custody and child support payments. The woman filed for immediate temporary custody of their child in September, saying the boy was in danger of potential abuse. The woman said Tylka spoke about suicide in September 2015, drawing a call to police, before leaving town for four months. She wrote that they agreed to joint custody in May 2016 but he had been acting irrational, impulsive and aggressive, constantly pressuring the boy for updates about what she is doing at home. The woman wrote that the boy was crying when she picked him up Sept. 5. The boy, she said, told her that Tylka yelled at him and a grandmother. "I asked him what he meant. (The boy) stated: 'If I don't tell daddy what you do he yells at me and sends me to the corner. I told him no and he yells until I tell him.'" A judge denied the request for immediate temporary custody. Earlier this month, an auto dealer filed a small claim against Tylka, saying he owes $450 for a down payment of a vehicle.
Georgia Department of Public Safety answers Tennessee Highway Patrol's mannequin challenge
The Georgia Department of Public Safety was challenged by the Tennessee Highway Patrol to take part in the mannequin challenge. The theme of the DPS mannequin challenge was cell phone use, in an effort to bring awareness to distracted driving.
Florida Highway Patrol Brings Christmas Gifts to Family of Immokalee Vehicular Fatality
October 7, 2016 began as did any other school day for Luis Renosa Francisco. One of Magdalena Francisco’s five children, Luis, 6, and his eldest brother, Andres, set off to meet the school bus near the intersection of North 19th Street and Immokalee Drive. Accompanied by their grandfather, they walked along the grassy, west shoulder of North 19th Street. Luis failed to reach the corner. He was struck and killed by a black pickup truck. Reportedly, Luis “darted out” into the street and the 2007 GMC Sierra was unable to avoid him. Luis was transported to NCH Northeast but did not survive his injuries. Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant, Greg Bueno, frequently mentions that horrific morning. Luis’ name has arisen in several conversations over the course of the past two months. The Lieutenant was not going to forget Luis, or his family, at Christmas time. Thanks to the kindness and benevolence of his fellow troopers, as well as an anonymous donor, the Florida Highway Patrol was able to purchase a stockpile of assorted gifts for Luis’ four siblings, Alex, 5; Vibiana, 8; Celia, 9; and Andres, 11. Four FHP vehicles, including a cargo van, covertly approached the family home in Immokalee shortly after the children arrived home from school. With the cooperation and support of their mother, the children were kept occupied while FHP staff topped the front lawn with bicycles, toys and other assorted gifts. Upon exiting the home, the children were clearly taken aback by the collection of toys and the presence of both FHP troopers and the media. After all of the gifts were unwrapped, Magdalena Francisco invited all into her home to see photographs of her late son, Luis. “It broke our hearts,” professed Bueno. “We wanted to do something for this family…to remind these children that this world can still be a magical place. That’s what the holidays are about.” The children repeatedly thanked the Florida Highway Patrol staff and even thanked members of the media for visiting.
State Troopers Play Santa at Connecticut Children's Medical Center
Christmas came early Tuesday morning at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, with some very deserving kids getting presents from folks dressed not in red and white, but rather, blue and gray. For the twentieth year, Connecticut State Police troopers played Santa for patients, their sleigh a gurney filled with toys collected over the past week at Toys R Us stores in Newington, Manchester, and West Hartford. "We stand out in the cold, the rain, the sunshine, whatever it is, at the toy stores and its just thousands of people coming in and out," said Trooper First Class James Nolting. Some toys were handed out today. Most will be given to kids who come to the emergency room. "To be able to provide them with a gift and our support and let them know that we're here for them, it's just a good thing overall," said Nolting. Over the years, this program has collected a half a million toys and $280,000, thanks to sponsors and the public.