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State: Police out in force July 17-23 to prevent traffic fatalities

AHP campaign to prevent fatalities

Law enforcement across Alabama and the Southeast will be out in July 17-23 as part of a special traffic campaign to reduce the number of crashes by enforcing basic highway safety laws. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is teaming up with authorities for Operation Southern Shield — a joint effort between five Southern states— to crack down on motorists who ignore the major factors in automobile crashes and deaths – speeding, impaired and distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt, according to an Alabama State Trooper press release.  The campaign is sandwiched between other major highway safety campaigns and is being conducted in response to the high volume of traffic with summer traveling and vacations.  The campaign’s goal is to achieve a period of zero fatalities.  “Summer is a time when families come together for fun, not funerals, and Gov. Ivey’s goal is to increase safety on Alabama’s highways,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell.  “Gov. Ivey and ADECA wholeheartedly endorse this effort and urge drivers to at all times to slow down, wear your seat belts and pay attention to the road.”  ADECA’s Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division is working with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and police and sheriffs’ departments throughout the state to step up efforts to provide high-visibility of law enforcement and take unsafe drivers off the road.  ADECA administers grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that pays overtime for officers to conduct extra patrols during special campaigns like Operation Southern Shield at hotspots where traffic crashes often occur.  The safety campaign is also being conducted in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, which along with Alabama, make up the NHTSA’s Southeast enforcement region.  Speed is the number one cause of driving fatalities in Alabama.  In 2015, speed was determined to be a factor in 28 percent of the fatal crashes; 63 percent of the victims were not wearing seat belts, and 43 percent of the drivers had been drinking.



Pennsylvania State Police trooper killed in line-of-duty

PA fallen

Trooper Michael Stewart was killed in a vehicle crash on Route 711, at the Route 271 split, in Ligonier Township, Westmoreland County, at approximately 2:20 am.  His patrol SUV was traveling southbound when a garbage truck attempted to turn left onto the roadway in front of it, causing a collision.  Trooper Stewart suffered fatal injuries in the crash and his partner suffered minor injuries.  Trooper Stewart had served with the Pennsylvania State Police for three years.



Convoy honors slain state police trooper

Trooper Joel Davis convoy

The slain state trooper killed in the line of duty on Sunday night will be laid to rest on Saturday afternoon following a funeral at Fort Drum.  Services for trooper Joel R. Davis were announced Tuesday afternoon by state police.  The funeral will be held at McGrath Gymnasium, 10050 Tigris River Valley Road, at 1 p.m. Saturday.  Calling hours also will be held at the Fort Drum gymnasium, on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the public and from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for law enforcement officials.  Trooper Davis was killed Sunday night in a shooting in Theresa.  Also killed was Nichole Walters, wife of alleged shooter Justin Walters. Walters, charged with first- and second-degree murder, is currently being held without bail.  Trooper Davis, from Evans Mills, was highly regarded by his fellow law enforcement officers and first responders, according to those who spoke to the Times on Monday.  Tuesday, fire department, police and EMS personnel in Jefferson County had a chance to honor him when his body was brought back home from Syracuse, escorted by a motorcade of state troopers and other law enforcement vehicles.  The motorcade ended at the Reed & Benoit Funeral Home on 632 State St., where the family met their loved one’s body.  Although he worked all night, city firefighter Andrew Denney knew that he needed to honor the slain state trooper.  He had hoped to join his colleagues with the city’s fire department at Arsenal and Massey streets to honor the trooper killed in the line of duty while his body was returned to Watertown.  But Mr. Denney ended up with a contingent of town of Watertown firefighters, EMS personnel and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies who were perched at the Massey Street overpass on Monday morning to see a procession of state police and other law enforcement vehicles that escorted the trooper’s body back home.  A Cape Vincent firefighter was in his full dress uniform.  The convoy of vehicles was met by similar scenes all the way from Syracuse, where the trooper’s trip began earlier in the morning.  It didn’t matter that Mr. Denney was not with his colleagues.  What mattered was that he was honoring the trooper killed Sunday night while responding to a domestic incident in the town of Theresa, Mr. Denney stressed.  “It means a lot to the family,” he added.  He was there with his two 8-year-old sons, Reegan and Mason, and wife Danielle, a paramedic with the Watertown Ambulance Service, “to show respect” to Trooper Davis, Mr. Denney said.  Watertown Fire Chief Charles Dillon got word Monday about the showing of respect and organized about a dozen of his firefighters to go to the Massey Street overpass to view the procession as it went by.  A large American flag hung from two ladder trucks and the group stood at attention when the trooper’s body and the vehicles passed underneath,  “To honor a law enforcement officer is the least we can do,” he said.  Thomas Horning, his daughter Keira L. Morgia Horning and her sister Cora R. Morgia were returning from a doctor’s appointment when they came upon the memorial.  Knowing it was for the slain trooper, they stood at the start of the bridge as they watched the procession go by.  “It’s not every day you get to see something like this,” Mr. Horning said.  Dozens of people lined up while the motorcade went through downtown Watertown.  City Fire Capt. Christopher Hayman was part of a group of firefighters that helped with traffic control while the motorcade came through Arsenal and Massey streets, where county employees from the Jefferson County Office Building paid respects.  “It was a somber event,” he said.

To watch footage of the convoy, visit http://wdt.me/TrooperDavisProcession.



State Police trooper rescues man from submerged vehicle


An Indiana State Police trooper helped rescue a Roann man after his vehicle became trapped in rushing water.  The Indiana State Police said emergency responders responded to Wabash County Road 600 West near County Road 500 North just before midnight Friday.  When they arrived, they found a Chevrolet Cobalt off the west side of the road.  Only the passenger side of the vehicle was visible.  The driver, Daniel Winters, 60 of Roann, was trapped inside.  A State Police trooper, Dustin Rutledge, entered the rushing water armed with a lifejacket for himself and Winters.  He was attached to a safety line to a Roann fire truck.  When he got to the car, the department said he saw Winters was cold and his dexterity was poor.  The trooper put the life jacket on the man and secured him to the line.  While the trooper was pulling Winters from the vehicle, the department said the safety line attached to him broke.  The man was unable to stand so Rutledge had to drag him to dry land.  The man was treated and released at the scene.  The department said while the incident remains under investigation, there was heavy downpours throughout the day.  Police believe overflow from nearby Paw Paw Creek contributed to the rushing water and flooding.  This area is low compared to surrounding areas, which might be the cause for the collection and flow of the water.



State Troopers make more than 100 drug busts so far in 2017

OSHP 2017 drug busts

The Ohio State Highway Patrol released its drug-related arrest totals for the first half of 2017, and they are up from last year.  According to OSP, troopers seized more than 860,000 grams of marijuana and 26,000 grams of heroin through traffic stops so far this year.  Troopers are trained to look deeper than the initial traffic violation and to search for indicators of criminal activity, the patrol said.   This tactic has led to a 12% increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.  OSP has made just under 8,400 drug arrests from January to June, and nearly 2,400 of those arrests were felony cases.  There have been 56 OSP felony drug cases in Trumbull County, 35 in Mahoning County and 24 in Columbiana County. 



Wyoming Highway Patrol gives awards to deputy and his wife for their efforts in saving the life of a trooper

WHP honors deputy and wife for saving troopers life

Beltrami County Deputy Sheriff Jeff Roberts and his wife, Linda Roberts, were recently honored and presented awards from the Wyoming Highway Patrol Association during a ceremony held at the Beltrami County Law Enforcement Center.  The awards were presented by Minnesota State Patrol Captain Mike Wedin and Sheriff Phil Hodapp on behalf of the Wyoming Highway Patrol Association for the efforts of the Roberts’ to save the life of a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper involved in a motor vehicle collision on Sept. 22 while the Roberts were vacationing with their family in Wyoming, according to a press release from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office.  At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, deputy Roberts, his wife Linda and their two children were traveling near Sheridan, Wyo. on Interstate 90, following behind Wyoming State trooper David Motsick, who was following directly behind a Rapid City Fire Department Ambulance returning from a medical transport to Billings, Mont.  The ambulance and trooper were traveling in the left lane of Interstate 90, passing a semi-tractor trailer, when the ambulance took evasive action to avoid a head-on collision with a vehicle traveling the wrong direction on the interstate.  Trooper Motsick attempted to avoid the crash, but with little time to react, collided with the oncoming vehicle head on.  Motsick suffered multiple and significant life-threatening injuries.  Deputy Roberts and Linda, a North Memorial AirCare Flight Paramedic, stopped and rendered immediate aid to the trooper and the driver of the other vehicle.  Alongside the paramedics from the Rapid City Fire Department, flight medic Linda Roberts "was instrumental in lifesaving efforts,” the honor said.  Deputy Roberts assisted at the scene by immediately accessing the troopers radio and reported the collision and called for help.  He then assisted with retrieving supplies for the paramedics and made the scene safe by setting up and maintaining traffic control around the collision until other rescue personnel could arrive.  Jeff and Linda, along with the Rapid City Fire Department paramedics also attempted lifesaving efforts with the driver of the other vehicle, "however despite their earnest and best efforts, the subject unfortunately died due to the injuries suffered during the collision,” the release said.  For the injuries sustained during the performance of his duties, Trooper Motsick was awarded the Purple Heart and continues to rehabilitate from his injuries.  For the critical and urgent care rendered to Mostick, Linda and paramedics from the Rapid City Fire Department were awarded the Luke Schauland Medal of Life, and Deputy Jeff Roberts received the Meritorious Conduct Award.



Tennessee state troopers find 691 pounds of pot in vehicle

THP Drug bust

On Sunday, July 2, 2017, the Tennessee Highway Patrol Interdiction Plus Team conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle that was towing another vehicle on a trailer.  The stop occurred on Interstate 40 in Dickson County.  The license plate on the vehicle was concealed with a license plate cover.  During the traffic stop, the troopers observed signs of nervousness and stress from the driver, Jorge Gusman.  While checking the vehicle VIN number, Gusman fled on foot.  After a short foot pursuit, troopers were able to apprehend the suspect, and arrest him for the traffic violation as well as fleeing from the scene.  Troopers were given verbal consent by the driver to search the vehicle.  During the search, troopers discovered 28 bales of marijuana (which weighed 691 pounds) covered by blankets.   The marijuana was seized along with the vehicles. Gusman remains in the Dickson County Jail on a $105,000 bond.  “Our Interdiction Plus team does excellent investigative work keeping drug dealers off our roadways,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.   “It is our duty to make sure our communities are safe and drug free.”



New York State Police trooper killed in the line of duty

NYSP Trooper Davis line of duty death

Trooper Joel Davis was shot and killed in Theresa, New York, while responding to a domestic disturbance and shots fired call at 34371 Route 46.  At some point during the incident the male subject murdered his wife and wounded another woman who lived on the property. Trooper Davis was shot and killed after arriving at the scene.  The subject, an active duty Army member, surrendered as additional units arrived at the home.  Trooper Davis had served with the New York State Police for four years and had previously served with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.  He is survived by his wife and three children.



Safety is personal for South Caroline Highway Patrol's first black commander

SCHP Commander

Recalling how a drunk driver took a life dear to him, new S.C. Highway Patrol Commander Christopher Williamson said highway safety will be his top issue.  “We want to make sure we save people’s lives on the highways,” said Williamson, the first African-American to lead South Carolina’s highway troopers.  Williamson’s promotion was announced last Friday.  The State asked the Darlington County native about his nearly 30-year Highway Patrol career that led, last week, to him being placed in charge of policing S.C. highways and keeping travelers safe:

Q: What made you decide to join the Highway Patrol?

A: “I found my passion for law enforcement, wanting to be a law enforcement officer, at a young age of 12 years old.  My 9-year-old sister was killed by a drunk driver. ... I watched my parents go through that suffering and have to deal with it.  And my mentality then was that when I become of age, I would go to college, get a degree ... (and) take drunk drivers off the road and make a difference.  That’s what I’ve tried to do.”

Q: How do you feel about being the first African-American to lead the Highway Patrol?

A: “The fact that I’m African-American, I have no control over.  I just happen to be African-American, but I feel like I’m the colonel for all people regardless of the color of my skin.  I have the skill set, the ability, the education and the background to be able to do this job and save people’s lives and help accomplish the mission towards highway safety issues.”

Q: What have you learned about South Carolina as a highway patrolman?

A: “I’ve learned that if you work hard and treat people fair, do the right thing and show people your skill set and ability, that anything in this state is possible – that you can accomplish your dreams and goals and you can definitely be successful and move forward.”

Q: What challenges have you had to overcome on the Highway Patrol?

A: “(L)earning the laws of this state, learning what it takes to try to have to deal with people from all walks of life when you’re out there making traffic stops and trying to keep our highways safe.  You run into people from all walks of life, from all nationalities, from all parts of the world that travel through our roadways.  “And you may meet people with different personalities, and you’ve got to be a person in law enforcement that wears different hats.  People you stop – everybody’s not the same.  That can be a challenge if you are not a person that has those interpersonal skills and are able to converse with people on any level. ... I was able to learn that early on and it has really paid off for me.”



Trooper trapped under car saved by citizen using incredible strength to lift the vehicle

FHP Trooper saved by citizen

Many people think that lifting a car up is no problem, but attempt it and you won’t budge the thing. However, hero citizen Kenny Franklin had no issue getting a car lifted off of Florida State Trooper Jack Hypes, who was pinned under a vehicle according to Fox News. Franklin was taking an Uber to work on Thursday morning when his driver apparently suffered a seizure, on I-4 near I-275. The drivers foot was on the gas pedal during his episode, according to Franklin, and he felt as if he was going to die.   From the backseat of the car, he was somehow able to get the vehicle on the side of the road and that is when the Uber driver came out of his seizure. Franklin said that the driver “didn’t know where he was at, so he tried to put the car into a gear, and so he’s fumbling with the car.” Taking the opportunity to get out of the car, Kenny jumped out and saw Trooper Jack Hypes walking toward him. Franklin said, “He starts walking up towards me, to assist and assess the situation.  As he did that, the driver mistakenly puts the car in reverse and hits the officer, who is then pinned underneath the car.” With adrenaline racing through him, all he could think about was ‘that this needed to end well’. Using his adrenaline he was able to lift car off of Trooper Jack Hypes. It should be noted that Kenny Franklin is also a very big man. Luckily the trooper suffered non-life threatening injuries, but had some minor ones. The Florida Highway Patrol said that ‘all three men will be okay.’ They commended Franklin, who said he was in the right place at the right time.



State Police bust multimillion dollar drug operation

New Jersey state patch

New Jersey State Police detectives and local authorities busted an alleged drug operation, seized millions of dollars in suspected drugs and arrested four suspects, police said.  Last Wednesday, officers from the State Police and North Bergen arrested three of the suspects and seized 40 kilograms of heroin, a statement from the State Police said, after intercepting an alleged drug deal in the parking lot of a business in North Bergen.  Then Thursday, officers from the State Police and Willingboro raided an address at 78 Berkshire Lane in Willingboro, the statement said.   Authorities seized 80 kilograms of heroin, 3 kilograms of methamphetamine, 50,000 Percocet tablets, 3 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, and paraphernalia consistent with distribution, the statement said.  The total value of the heroin seized was $9.6 million.  “There’s no question that multiple lives were saved by this record-level seizure of heroin and fentanyl,” said Attorney General Christopher Porrino in a statement. “ The 120 kilos of heroin seized by this team over the past two days would have been cut into millions upon millions of individual doses of heroin, made even deadlier if laced with the lethal fentanyl that was also seized."



110 lbs of marijuana seized

Missouri SP 110 lbs of marijuana seized

The Missouri Highway Patrol posted a photo to Twitter Friday night that showed someone’s weekend plans had gone up in smoke.  “110lbs of marijuana seized from a traffic stop!” the patrol wrote via Twitter.  The attached photo shows dozens of bags of marijuana.  Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the patrol told The Star that the bust occurred in Platte County.  A trooper detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and a probable cause search revealed the stash in a hidden factory compartment.  “#JustSayNo #MakeSmartChoices,” the patrol wrote on Twitter.



South Carolina Highway Patrol gets first African-American commander

SCHP New Commander

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety announced Friday that Director Leroy Smith has named a new Highway Patrol commander.  Christopher Williamson, a 29-year HP veteran, was chosen to succeed Col. Michael Oliver, who is retiring after 35 years with the patrol.  Williamson makes history as the first African-American commander to lead the S.C. Highway Patrol.  Oliver was promoted to lead the Highway Patrol in 2011, and Williamson was named as the deputy commander of the division where he has served since.  Marc Wright, a 35-year veteran, has been named deputy commander of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.  He has been serving in the role of major since 2012.  He has extensive experience in administration, field operations and resource management.  “This is both an exciting and bittersweet day,” SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said.  “We welcome an enthusiastic and visionary leader in Col. Williamson. But we will miss Col. Oliver who has led the Highway Patrol with strength and integrity – often through difficult seasons for law enforcement in our state and nation,” Smith said.  Williamson worked alongside Oliver during critical times such as the 1,000-year flood, Hurricane Matthew and events following the Emanuel Nine shootings.  He has been instrumental in important infrastructure and technological advances within the Highway Patrol.  Williamson, a Darlington native, joined the Highway Patrol in 1988. He was promoted to captain in Troop Seven/Orangeburg in 2003 and transferred to Troop Six/Charleston as captain in 2009.  Williamson began his career in Berkeley County and has spent his career with the patrol in the Orangeburg/Charleston region until joining headquarters in 2011.  As lieutenant colonel, Williamson managed the day-to-day operations of the Highway Patrol, which has statewide jurisdiction.  Williamson oversaw the administrative, operational and support functions of the patrol associated with enforcement and public safety.  He has also overseen traffic/specialized enforcement and safety outreach for 11 Troops.  Williamson is married to Deloris Williamson and has two daughters, Krissy and Daysha, and two granddaughters, Kristina and Kailyn.  “With this new role comes great responsibility to the citizens and visitors of this state and to the troopers and civilian personnel of the Highway Patrol,” Williamson said.  “My primary goals are to continue creative enforcement and safety education efforts to reduce highway fatalities and collisions; to work diligently to ensure our men and women are recruited, retained and compensated fairly for the dangerous and difficult job they do; and to continue to enhance our relationships with the communities we serve.”



South Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 33 new troopers

SCHP Graduates 33 new troopers

The South Carolina Highway Patrol announces the graduation of 33 troopers from Highway Patrol Basic Class 92 on Friday.  Gov. Nikki Haley spoke to the graduates about the sacrifices of law enforcement and the importance of character as they go out to represent their communities around the state.  The governor has spoken at the last four Highway Patrol graduation ceremonies.  “You have proven yourself to be able to wear this uniform but now there is something else you have to prove,” Gov. Haley told graduates.  “You have brothers and sisters who have come before you and wearing that badge and wearing that uniform means something,” Haley said.  “So, when you are out in the community, you have a responsibility.  When you are not in uniform they still expect you to have the same integrity, the same demeanor as when you are wearing a uniform.”  Basic 92 will bring the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 762.  The troopers began training in January and have been trained by the Highway Patrol and Criminal Justice Academy over the past 21 weeks in all areas of law enforcement including DUI detection, traffic laws, collision investigation and the use of firearms as well as three weeks of field training.  Director Leroy Smith said, “Being a public servant isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are.  You have to have a passion to help one another and I know that passion resides in each and every one of you. Law enforcement is a calling.  It is more than just a paycheck.  It is more than just a pension.  You are now in the lifesaving business.  That’s what we do and we do it well.”  SCHP Col. Mike Oliver said, “You have now earned the privilege to wear the grey uniform and campaign hat of a South Carolina state trooper.  Your training has been long and difficult, the vocation you have taken as a public servant is likewise a difficult journey, your time away from home, however, has been to serve a greater good.”



Illinois State Police trooper killed in crash

Illinois State Police trooper Albin 1

Trooper Ryan Albin was killed yesterday in a vehicle crash on I-74, near milepost 155, in the area of Farmer City at approximately 3:10 pm.  His patrol car collided with a box truck as the vehicles reduced speed for slow moving traffic in a construction zone.  He was flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  Trooper Albin's canine was transported to a veterinary hospital with minor injuries.  Trooper Albin had served with the Illinois State Police for 11-1/2 years and was assigned as a canine handler in District 6.