California Highway Patrol graduates 126 new officers
Crash pushed state police car into troopers conducting traffic stop
A dump truck struck a New Jersey State Police car on Interstate 80, pushing it into a traffic stop and injuring two troopers and a third driver. The cause of the Thursday afternoon crash that tied up westbound traffic for hours in Warren County is still under investigation, state police announced on social media late Friday morning. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. State police said the first trooper stopped a Honda Accord and was speaking to the driver outside the car at mile marker 5.3, about a mile east of the exit for Routes 94 and 46 in Knowlton Township and five miles from the Pennsylvania border at the Delaware Water Gap. Another trooper was en route when their Chevrolet Caprice was struck in the rear by a Mack truck, pushing the police car onto the right shoulder and into the Accord, which in turn was pushed forward into the first trooper and the Accord's driver, state police said. The troopers and the Accord's driver were flown to Morristown Memorial Hospital. The truck's driver was not hurt, authorities said. The highway was closed and detoured during the evening rush hour during the initial investigation. Some readers reported being stuck in standstill traffic for two hours or more.
Michigan State Police troopers bust driver with 45 pounds of marijuana
Michigan State Police troopers busted a 25-year-old man from West Bloomfield after discovering 45 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. Troopers assigned to the Hometown Security Team were conducting a traffic stop on southbound I-75 near Gibraltar Road in Brownstown Township on February 28. After pulling the driver over, troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the 2016 Dodge Dart. Troopers located the marijuana in the trunk of the vehicle. The driver told police he was driving to Toledo, Ohio with the marijuana. The man was arrested and is in jail as prosecutors review the case.
Wyoming Highway Patrol gets slick new look
On Feb. 21 Wyoming Highway Patrol introduced a new active pilot program featuring “slick top” cars to increase highway and road safety. Slick top patrol cars differ from standard patrol cars in the absence of a light bar on the roof. “These new patrol cars allow police officers to see and observe a whole lot more than officers in normal patrol cars ever will,” Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant David Wagener said. Wagener said slick top patrol vehicles are less likely to be recognized right away, preventing a distracted driver from correcting their behavior only before driving near or past a police officer. Colonel Kebin Haller said in a press release that the highway patrol had been discussing a program like this for the past year. “Slick top enforcement patrol vehicles are not new to law enforcement or other highway patrol agencies throughout the country,” Haller said Slick top patrol cars could provide several benefits for the state of Wyoming’s highways and safety efforts. “In my personal vehicle I have seen so many distracted drivers, people will pull up to a stoplight and be using their phone,” Wagner said. “Where as if they see a cop they are more likely to put their phone away and pay attention, but return to whatever they were doing as soon as they go their separate way from the police officer.” State troopers assigned to slick top patrol vehicles will see and observe a great deal more, and recognize distracted drivers much more easily, Wagener said. It may also support efforts to stop human and contraband trafficking. “One example of how this would work is if I was heading east-bound on I-80 to Cheyenne, and a driver behind me was going 100mph in a 75mph zone.” Wagner said. “Without the identification of a light bar on the roof, the driver is less likely to slow down because of the presence of a state patrolman.” There are students on UW’s campus that agree and disagree with the move. UW Freshman Haley Dollerschell, a speech pathology major, said, “I think the new patrol cars are a good idea because in the long run it will hopefully prevent more accidents that are the result of distracted driving.” UW Freshman Kyle Sager, A secondary education major, disagrees. “I think it’s probably best to keep them on top of the car since that’s what people are used to and it seems to have no problems as far as I can see, so why would you change it?” Sager said. Only five new slick tops vehicles will be used across the state of Wyoming until effects of the initiative are determined. If the results are positive, entire fleets could be considered for upgrades to slick tops. Each of Wyoming’s five highway patrol districts will receive one slick top vehicle, Wagener said.
Michigan State Police crack down on left-lane drivers
Driving in the left lane in Michigan is illegal, unless to pass someone and Michigan State Police are about to crack down on left-lane drivers. Beginning Wednesday, March 1 through the end of April, troopers will be pulling over people who use the left lane for anything other than passing a vehicle. Lieutenant Chris McIntire commands the Rockford Post and says road rage is a big problem with left-lane hogs. "They over take them on the right and cause an accident or ride them on their bumper which causes the person in front to get mad. It causes a whole bunch of issues for us." The main focus in West Michigan will be U.S. 131 in Kent and Montcalm counties.
Trooper's video about this 'often forgotten, incredible safety feature' is a hit
An Indiana state trooper's hilarious turn signal PSA has gone viral in less than 48 hours, gaining more than 6.6 million views. "What if I told you there's a feature on every car that's standard, that not only will help prevent crashes, but also will help prevent road rage a little bit," Sergeant John Perrine says in a Facebook video on Friday. Perrine calls the turn signal "incredible" and marvels at its usefulness, warning drivers to put down their coffee cups of cell phones while turning. "It's not only against the law not to use it, but it's the courteous thing to do," Perrine says.
State Trooper thrown from vehicle in crash
A Louisiana State Trooper was ejected from his marked patrol vehicle when a chain reaction sent another vehicle plowing into his on I-59 yesterday. Trooper Dustin Dwight said the unnamed Trooper sustained minor injuries and received treatment at Ochsner Medical Center. Several Troopers were working a previous accident on I-59 just north of I-10 when a Nissan Sentra driven by 22-year-old Dlane Michael Harris slammed into a Chrysler PT Cruiser driven by 22-year-old Ronald Dwayne Tillery. The impact pushed the PT Cruiser into the Trooper’s vehicle, which was parked with the emergency lights flashing, according to Dwight. The Trooper, who was working on paperwork at the time with his door open, was thrown onto the neutral ground. Harris was cited for careless operation and no seatbelt, while Tillery was cited for driving with a suspended license and no insurance, Dwight said. There were no other injuries in the crash. “Friday night’s crash represents the third crash this year where a Trooper in the Troop L area was hit and injured by a vehicle during the course of his duties,” Dwight said. “In all three crashes, carelessness or impairment were contributing factors. Thankfully, all three Troopers survived the crashes, but the results could have easily been much more tragic for the Troopers and their families. If you find yourself passing a police officer, first responder, or any other vehicle stopped on the shoulder, please slow down, move over, and pay attention to your surroundings. Aside from being the law, it is the right thing to do.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 134 new highway patrol troopers
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon, and members of the Public Safety Commission (PSC) today were joined by Texas Rep. Tony Dale as the department commissioned 134 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony. Rep. Dale was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held Friday in Austin. “The men and women here today have selflessly pledged their lives to protect the people of Texas by joining law enforcement – a noble profession that requires immense courage and sacrifice,” said Rep. Dale. “The state is profoundly grateful for your dedication to becoming our newest Texas Highway Patrol Troopers.” The D-2016 class, which is the department’s 158th training class and the largest since August 2000, includes 16 women, 16 former peace officers and 58 military veterans. The oldest graduate is 51-years-old and the youngest is 21-years-old. 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. “I know each of you has worked tremendously hard in order to get where you are today, and your perseverance and achievements have been nothing less than remarkable,” said Chair Leon. “We are honored to welcome you to the DPS family, and I know you will make us all proud as you walk out these doors to begin your new career serving and protecting your communities.” The Troopers began the 24-week training academy in September of last year. 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. “These 134 men and women have risen to the challenge of DPS’ months-long training to prove their proficiency and dedication, and the department is honored to add them to our law enforcement ranks,” said Director McCraw. “From this day forward, you will serve on the front lines protecting our communities from the full gamut of public safety threats, and Texas will be a safer place because of your commitment to duty.” As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,866 for the Green Beret Foundation; and $1,150 for the Louisiana State Troopers Association (to assist Troopers affected by flooding in Louisiana). In addition, the class established the “158th Fund,” which will provide future recruits with financial assistance for miscellaneous medical expenses. Members of the class also volunteered to be tested as potential donors for a national bone marrow registry.
California Highway Patrol Officer killed in the line of duty
Officer Lucas Chellew was killed in a motorcycle crash near the intersection of Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road, in Sacramento, while pursuing another motorcycle. Officer Chellew's motorcycle crashed during the pursuit. The motorcyclist he was pursuing fled the scene and remains at large. Officer Chellew was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the California Highway Patrol for eight years and was assigned to the South Sacramento Area Office. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, parents and sister. His father was a retired CHP officer and his sister also serves with the agency.
Michigan State Trooper describes how two good Samaritans saved his life
Two men are in custody all thanks to the help of good Samaritans. They stopped to help the officer who was being attacked. For the first time, we're hearing from the officer and the man who helped him. The Michigan state trooper described it as being in slow motion even though it took about 5 minutes for everything to happen. The trooper says there was a moment where he began to think the worst. Michigan State Trooper Garry Guild, was patrolling U.S. 31 Monday morning. That’s when he clocked a motorcyclist going 92 miles an hour. "Activated my overhead lights. Got behind the motorcycle about two three car lengths. He pulled over to the shoulder, slowed down briefly and sped away at a high rated speed,” said Guild. Guild followed the driver to the Niles Buchanan exit. Michael Barber, 21, lost control and crashed. When Guild approached him, he didn't listen. That's when police say the two got into a physical altercation. "So I am trying to secure him and secure my duty weapon into my holster--put it into the holster. I'm on top of him. Trying to get him in hand cuffs,” said Guild. While restraining Barber, Guild saw 19-year-old Travis Wise sprinting towards him but not to help. "The next thing I know, I'm in full choke-hold. He comes behind me and puts his elbow around my neck. He wrenched me back about 5 to 10 feet,” said Guild. That's when Jerry Burnham happened to be driving by. "We were on our way down the bypass heading towards Niles to get our taxes done. We came up on this scene. This motorcycle laying on the side of the road and a squad car. My wife started yelling that the police officer needed help and told me to stop and help,” said Burnham. Burnham and another man pulled Wise off the trooper. They held him until help arrived. Burnham said he didn't think twice about helping. “I really was still kind of in shock that I even got out to do something. I just did it. I think that he was in need of help, and that's what we should do,” said Burnham. Burnham says several other cars passed by and even slowed, but didn't help. He says he was in the right place at the right time. Guild says he tries not to think about what could have happened without help from a good Samaritan.
Ohio Highway Patrol renews push for "Move over and slow down" campaign after recent tragedies
“Imagine this: You’re driving on the highway and see an emergency vehicle up ahead with flashing lights stopped off the side of the road. This is the time when you need to slow down or move over one lane,” states the opening of an Ohio Highway Patrol public safety announcement for Ohio’s Move Over Law. The OHP, through a media release, is asking motorists to help keep their fellow drivers and law enforcement officers safe by following this law, which was enacted in 2009. “Ohio law requires all drivers to move over one lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside. If moving over is not possible due to traffic or weather conditions, or because a second lane does not exist, motorists should slow down and proceed with caution,” according to an OHP media release. In 2013, the law was expanded to also cover construction and maintenance workers as well. “By moving over, motorists are helping to protect the lives of everyone who works on or uses our roadways,” said Sgt. Jeremy Kindler of OHP Chardon Post. “It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do.’ OHP Sgt. Jim Smith, who was struck by a motorist on Mayfield and Auburn roads in Munson Township on July 29, feels that people get too busy or are in too much of a rush. “Slow down and pay attention,” Smith said. “Those few seconds that you are saving by not doing whatever it is you are doing, isn’t saving you enough time to risk a life. Nowhere you have to be is worth a life.” Kindler reports that during 2016, seven officers were struck within a eight-month period. “We are putting out public safety announcements, we just want to make sure our motorists have a good understanding of what this law is and means and also what it means to everyone involved,” Kindler said. Kindler noted that prior to 2016, citations weren’t really issued too often for this type of violation. “With the increase in officers being struck from 2016 up until now, that’s an infraction and a violation that we are not only stopping and talking to you about, we are issuing you a citation,” he said. OHP is enforcing this law with teams of troopers, Kindler explained. “We usually have more than one officer working on the interstate,” he said. “One officer makes the traffic stop. The other officer will sit across from them, behind them or in front of them. They watch as the violation occurs and runs a stationary radar. If they fail to move over, or slow down, that is when the violation occurs.” At that point, the second officer is then able to stop the motorist for the violation. Depending on the court, fines for failure to move over or slow down can be doubled for a first offense and require a court appearance. Kindler emphasizes the importance of the Move Over Law with the statement, “We want to go home at the end of the day. “That’s our main goal for a traffic stop is not only to keep everyone else safe, but also to keep us safe as well. This is near and dear to our hearts, to make sure that we are able to go home to our families at the end of the day just like everybody else is.” Two law enforcement officers: OHP Trooper Kenneth Velez and Cleveland police officer David Fahey, were struck and killed on I-90 within a six-month period when motorists failed to move over or slow down. Velez was struck on I-90 near Warren Road on Sept. 15 and Fahey was struck and killed Jan. 24 while putting out flares at the scene of an accident. “You gotta think about the person on the side of the road as a person. Think of that person as yourself and would you want someone flying by with 3 feet of you at 60 mph,” said Smith’s wife, Tiara, after he was struck. “People think of that officer as a car. Instead think of that officer as yourself or someone you love and be more considerate of that person as you are flying down the road.” Smith recalls Velez as a good friend for 25 years and one he has known his entire career. “This one hit me and my wife more than my own did,” Smith said. “I was lucky to survive and he didn’t. He didn’t have to die, it was a senseless tragedy.” As he reflected on the crash that claimed Velez’s life, Smith posed the question: “Why when you are on a road four lanes wide, why were you in that lane, when he was standing there on the side of the road?”
Number of hit and run crashes increasing, Florida says
The number of hit and run crashes in Florida has increased every year since 2013, according to figures from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The data has prompted the DHSMV to designate February as Hit and Run Awareness Month in an effort to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in the state. The initiative, Stay at the Scene, is in partnership with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – the Auto Club Group. “All motorists involved in a crash must be prepared to act responsibly and in accordance with state law,” DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. “Motorists are required to stay at the scene, provide certain information to the other parties involved and contact necessary law enforcement and first responders. These actions may save a life.” Staying at the scene is not only the law, but ensures that those impacted by a crash are safely assisted. In 2016, there were 99,004 hit and run crashes in Florida with 15,851 resulting charges. Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property that results in injury or death. Leaving the scene of a crash is a felony and a driver, when convicted, will have their license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. “Leaving the scene of a traffic crash is a crime,” Florida Highway Patrol Director Col. Gene Spaulding said. “It is your responsibility to remain at the scene and immediately report the accident to law enforcement”. You should do your best to provide immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians that may have been injured in the crash and wait for emergency first responders to arrive.” Vulnerable road users, like bicyclists and pedestrians, are particularly at risk for drivers leaving the scene. In fact, of the 179 hit and run fatalities in 2016, more than 55 percent were pedestrians. During that same period, 18 to 28 year olds received over one third of all hit and run charges issued. And 70 percent of those charges were filed against males. “Leaving the scene of a crash is dangerous, and it can be deadly. Help our officers render aid and protect lives by making the responsible decision to remain at the scene and immediately contact first responders,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Albert (Butch) Arenal, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Don’t make a bad situation even worse by leaving – it’s a felony.” The most important thing a driver can do when they are involved in a crash is to Stay at the Scene and call for help. The public is encouraged to report hit and run crashes by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information on hit and runs and staying at the scene, go to flhsmv.gov.
Two drivers in Alabama are dead in a head-on collision, and what state troopers found when they responded is tragic
Jeffrey Brasher and Austin Brasher, 50 and 22 respectively, are dead this morning. They are father and son, according to the report from AL.com. Both men lived in Bankston, Ala. They collided head-on around 4:10 a.m on Fayette County 49 near Winfield. Alabama state troopers say alcohol is a factor in the accident and that neither man was wearing a seatbelt when the crash occurred. State police are still investigating, but they say that Jeffrey Brasher’s pickup, a 2006 Ford, lost control and hit his son’s pickup, a 2004 Chevrolet. Authorities responded to the scene and pronounced Jeffrey Brasher dead there. Five hours later, Austin Brasher passed away at 9:18 a.m. at the University of Alabama hospital in Birmingham. Alabama State Police continue to investigate the accident.
Tennessee Highway Patrol arrests human trafficker smuggling 12 people
On February 8th, 2017, Trooper Jeremy Miller of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Interdiction Plus Team (IPT) stopped a white Toyota Sienna on I-40 eastbound in Hickman County for a traffic violation. Upon speaking to the driver, Trooper Miller asked for a driver license which the driver stated he did not have. The driver identified himself as Bernado Mateo-Lucas. Trooper Miller continued to question the driver asking how many people were in the van. The driver stated there were four additional people in the vehicle. Trooper Miller observed six people counting the driver with an additional person lying under a blanket in the floor behind the driver’s seat. As the interview continued, Trooper Miller noticed more movement in the back cargo area. He counted six additional people lying on the floor for a total of 13 people in the vehicle. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection Blue Lighting Operations Center (BLOC) was contacted and given the driver’s name and information. Trooper Miller was later informed by BLOC that Mateo-Lucas had a history of several human smuggling incidents and that his passport was fraudulent. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to the scene and took 13 people into custody (nine adults and four juveniles). All 13 people where undocumented aliens traveling from Texarkana, TX to Nashville, TN. They were from Mexico and various Central American countries. The driver is an admitted illegal alien smuggler with several records in BLOC’s systems. Agents with the Nashville HSI Office responded to the scene. HSI arrested Mateo-Lucas who was referred for federal prosecution in Nashville. Mateo-Lucas is an undocumented alien from Guatemala and was federally charged with alien smuggling. The four children were placed in the care of the government. This is an ongoing investigation.
Montana Highway Patrol commissions 12 new troopers
The Montana Highway Patrol commissioned twelve new troopers on Friday at the 61st Advanced Academy Graduation ceremony. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox addressed the graduates at the event, which took place at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena. Fox emphasized the importance of integrity for those who serve the public. “Integrity is one of the most important characteristics that any individual can possess. You’ll face some of the greatest challenges of your life while wearing this uniform. But no matter what life throws at you, face it with integrity, as that is a true sign of leadership,” he said.