Michigan highway named for State Police Trooper

Wed MI road dedication

A section of highway in Delta County has been renamed in honor of a Michigan State Police trooper who died in the line of duty on the roadway.

Trooper Darryl M. Rantanen was killed when the patrol car he was riding in was forced off the roadway on May 27, 1974, during a pursuit of a stolen vehicle, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. The driver, a 24-year-old trooper, was seriously injured.

During the pursuit, Trooper Rantanen’s partner attempted to pass the vehicle. Before he could do so, the juvenile driver swerved into the patrol car, causing it to turn on its side and strike a tree.

The 16-year-old was later arrested, convicted of manslaughter, intent to do great bodily harm, and sentenced to 9 to 25 years in prison.

Designated as the Darryl M. Rantanen Memorial Highway is a section of U.S. 2/U.S. 41 between Hyde and Bark River.

House Bill 4429, which made the designation, was introduced by state Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on May 13.


'You see a lot more:' Montana Highway Patrol says drones keep roads a lot safer

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 Montana Highway Patrol said their 15 drones mean less disruption to traffic, which means everyone is a lot safer on the roads.

Trooper Trever Chase has been involved in the drone program since 2017 when it started. He said drones have changed the way they investigate fatal crash scenes.

"Prior to the drone program, we used what was called a 'Total Station,' which was basically a 2-3 man team out there on scene basically surveying it: all the different evidence, the roadway, the tire marks and the vehicles themselves," Chase said. "Now, the drone requires just a 1-2 man team. We don't need to shut down roadways. And it would go from about 1 1/2 hours being on scene with the Total Station to about 20-30 minutes with the drone."

In addition to keeping the roads safer and saving time, the drones produce a better product.

"It will take multiple, hundreds, of photos," Chase said. "And, then it takes those photos and inputs them into software that we have. And, it uses those photos to match pixels and create basically a 3-D image of the actual scene."

Montana Highway Patrol Sgt Shawn Hazelton said 6 of the drones have thermal imaging. This is particularly helpful with missing person searches and searches at night.

"It gives us a whole different perspective as far as the ability to look at a scene," Chase added. "Eyes in the sky: you see a lot more."


Local State Trooper loses home in fire

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According to a Go Fund Me page, a Texas State Trooper, and his family of 6 lost their home and all of its belongings, including a puppy, in a house fire several days ago.

Please keep this family in your prayers. If you’d like to help there is a relief fund listed below.



Mississippi trooper hit by vehicle, killed while conducting traffic stop

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A Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper killed while conducting a traffic stop on Highway 16 was identified Saturday.

Col. Randy Ginn, director of the MHP, said in a statement that the agency mourns the loss of Trooper John Harris, who was hit by a vehicle and killed Friday in an accident in Madison County.

“Trooper Harris was a passionate, dedicated public servant and an important member of the MHP family,” Ginn said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his family in this difficult time.”

Harris, 44, had worked for the agency for just over three years, a spokesman for MHP said in an email.

An investigation into the accident continues.

Gov. Tate Reeves, in a statement on Twitter, said Harris’ death is a “stark reminder of how fragile life on earth can be and of the sacrifices made each and every day by his fellow MHP troopers and his brothers and sisters in law enforcement across Mississippi and around this great country. Elee and I pray for his wife, his young children, his mom and dad, and the rest of his extended family.”


DPS Honors Fallen Officers with Memorial Service

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The Texas Department of Public Safety remembered and paid tribute to Texas Highway Patrol Troopers, Texas Rangers and Special Agents who lost their lives in the line of duty at Tuesday’s 2021 Peace Officers Memorial Service.

Those honored included Trooper Moises Sanchez, who died in August 2019, and Trooper Chad Walker, who was killed in March 2021. The service was held at DPS Headquarters in Austin, with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as the guest speaker.

“Today, I am deeply humbled to speak at the 2021 Peace Officers Memorial Service,” Patrick said. “Since I have been Lt. Governor, I have attended far too many funerals for our fallen officers. I stand with Texas DPS and our brave peace officers, and will continue to work diligently to better protect our Troopers as they put their lives on the line, every single day, for Texas communities.”

Since 1823, when DPS first began as the Texas Rangers, 223 DPS Officers have died in the line of duty. In the two years since DPS held its last Peace Officers Memorial Service, 512 officers nationwide were killed in the line of duty, 92 of whom were serving in Texas, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“Not everyone has the courage and fortitude to be in law enforcement. It is a job you must be committed to 24 hours a day. It is a duty your family must be willing to serve as well,” said Steven P. Mach, Texas Public Safety Commission Chairman. “Today we pay our respects to our fallen heroes, among them Trooper Moises Sanchez and Trooper Chad Walker. We are eternally grateful for everything they have done.”

During the ceremony May 18, the families of Trooper Chad Walker and Trooper Moises Sanchez laid flowers on a wreath to honor them.

Trooper Walker was shot in March, when he stopped to assist a stranded driver near Mexia in Limestone County, and the driver opened fire. He died from his injuries five days later.

Trooper Moises Sanchez was shot in April 2019, while trying to apprehend a driver involved in a wreck in Hidalgo County. He died from his injuries that August.

“Every day, our law enforcement officers walk into dangerous situations not knowing what the outcome may be, and they accept this as part of their role to protect and serve people in their communities,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Today we remember the sacrifices of those who have given their all in the line of duty. We pay special respects to Trooper Moises Sanchez, Trooper Chad Walker and their families. These fallen heroes exemplified courage, bravery and honor, and they will never be forgotten.”

For a list and photos of fallen DPS members throughout history, visit the DPS memorial website. For information about officer deaths across the state and nation, visit the Officer Down Memorial Page online. Visit DPS’ Facebook for photos from the 2021 Peace Officers Memorial Service.


Kentucky State Police Officers honor the fallen

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Many law enforcement agencies across the nation view their fellow officers, deputies, and troopers as brothers and sisters who work together to make their community a safer place. The same can be said for the Kentucky State Police Post 4 who took the time Wednesday, May 12, to visit the gravesites of the troopers who had fallen in the line of duty. “This is a tradition of ours. We honor those who have fallen. They gave the ultimate sacrifice; this is the least we can do,” Trooper Scotty Sharp, KSP Post 4 Public Affairs Officer, said. Post 4 has six fallen troopers who have been laid to rest in their district. Troopers William F. Pickard and Edward R. Harris were buried in Red Hill Cemetery in Hodgenville. Pickard, 26, was fatally shot on January 21, 1976 while attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Harris, 29, was fatally shot on November 7, 1979 during the course of a traffic violation stop. For several of the troopers, this was their first time to participate in a memorial service. Trooper Riley Pineiroa, who graduated from the academy in January, said “I’ve grown up around law enforcement, so I am used to going to memorials like this. But it’s definitely different when you are actually in that role as a trooper. It’s a lot more personal. Knowing that each day your fate could be the same as trooper Harris or trooper Pickard, it’s a different ball game.” Line

Nebraska law enforcement memorial honors fallen trooper, Lincoln officer

wed story Nebraska Law Enforcement Memorial

Law enforcement across Nebraska honored peers who lost their lives on duty, and whose names became permanent additions to the stone memorial in Grand Island..

State leaders, department heads and loved ones remembered NSP Trooper Jerry Smith and Lincoln Police investigator Mario Herrera, remarking on their decades of work and sacrifice.

Herrera was shot in August 2020 and succumbed to his injuries Sept. 7. He was wounded while serving a warrant to a suspect in a murder case being investigated by LPD.

Trooper Smith was killed in June 2019, when another car struck his cruiser head-on while driving on a state highway in the Nebraska panhandle.

"The idea that we can come here and see his name along with all the other heroes who lay down their lives is incredible," Michelle Smith, Trooper Smith's daughter, said.

"May their legacy live on," acting Lincoln Police Chief Brian Jackson said, "in the actions of every police officer who protects the vulnerable, renders aid to the injured, consoles the afflicted and comforts the frightened."

Since 1962, this section of the calendar has been recognized as National Police Week, with May 15 marking Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Smith and Herrera are the 147th and 148th names, respectively, added to the Grand Island memorial.

COVID-19 canceled the annual memorial's planned meeting in 2020. In that time, new movements also sprang up: calls for police accountability and to reallocate their funding.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts told those gathered and watching online he thought such actions would keep Herrera and Smith -- "men who epitomized the word service" -- from helping communities in need.

"The reckless and dangerous 'defund the police' movement: that would actually hurt the very minority communities it claims to come from," Ricketts said.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson decried divisiveness on social media and the animosity on these platforms directed at law enforcement.

"We get brilliant 18-year-olds, 30-year-olds commenting on law enforcement. I hope you understand that's dripping with sarcasm," Peterson said, "...those who would go onto the internet and call critical names and criticize those who are there to protect them."

In remembering Herrera and Smith, Peterson also urged officers to continue carrying out their jobs with integrity.

"Please don't be discouraged because we need you now more than ever," he said.


State Trooper Justin Schaffer Among Eight Fallen Washington Officers Honored in D.C. This Week

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Washington State Patrol Trooper Justin Schaffer is among eight Washington state law enforcement officers whose names will be added to the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., this week as part of National Police Week, observed this year Sunday, May 9, through Saturday, May 15. 

The memorial honors law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

“This week is a time to honor our law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a written statement. “I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary courage and dedication with which members of law enforcement act each day, putting their lives on the line to make our communities safer. To members of law enforcement and your families: we know that not a single day, nor a single week, is enough to recognize your service and sacrifice. On behalf of the entire Department of Justice, you have our unwavering support and eternal gratitude.”

Schaffer, a Washington State Patrol trooper based in Chehalis, was fatally struck by a vehicle while placing spike strips on Interstate 5 in Chehalis during a pursuit of a robbery suspect on March 24, 2020.

A fellow Washington State Patrol trooper, S. Renee Padgett, who died on Sept. 4, 2018, from cancer that was later learned to have been caused by exposure to toxic chemicals on duty, is among the fallen Washington officers joining Schaffer on the memorial.

The other six fallen Washington officers whose names will be added to the wall this week are:

• Kurtis James Enget, Bainbridge Island Police Department

• Jonathan Paul Shoop, Bothell Police Department

• Jon Michael Melvin, Grant County Sheriff’s Office

• Berisford Anthony Morse, Washington State Department of Corrections

• Daniel Glenn Oaks, Yakima County Department of Corrections

• Charlie Joe Cortez, Tulalip Police Department

In total, names of 394 fallen officers were added to the wall in 2020, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice estimates that, based on data analyzed by the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), nearly 60% of the officers who died nationwide in the line of duty in 2020 died due to COVID-19.

“In such a difficult time for all of us, our law enforcement officers are on the front lines — at risk of contracting COVID-19, on top of the other risks inherent in law enforcement,” said acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman in a written statement. “We hold these fallen officers in our hearts as we thank their colleagues who continue to protect and serve each and every day.”

The names of all 394 officers added to the wall in 2020 will be read during a virtual candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific, on May 13, which can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNLEOMF. The Fraternal Order of Police’s Roll Call of Heroes can be viewed at www.fop.net.

The Police Week in-person public events, originally scheduled for May, have been rescheduled due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns to Oct. 13-17, 2021. An in-person candlelight vigil event is scheduled for Oct.14.


‘Too close to the heart': Indiana State Police honors fallen troopers at memorial service

Mon IN memorial

More than 100 Indiana State Police troopers and guests gathered to watch a solemn  tradition unfold: the presentation of colors by the honor guard, the melancholy sound of taps, and the reading of the names of the 47 troopers who have died in the line of duty.

Some of those names included former colleagues and friends of ISP trooper Steve Romack, who more than once had to tell family members that their loved ones wouldn't return home.

"I did a couple of notifications, which is probably the hardest job you'd ever have to do," Romack said.

Romack officially retired from the Indiana State Police in 2012, but his pride for the agency and the memories of his fellow troopers remains strong.

"Too close to the heart," said Romack. "Great bunch of people. Don't get any better."

He attended Tuesday's ISP memorial service honoring fallen troopers as he does every year. Romack comes from a family of service, including his wife Renee Romack, who was in the military.

"I just can't imagine a life without service to other people," Renee Romack said. "It's nice to come here and see (Indiana State Police) honor their own."

ISP districts across the state honor fallen troopers every May, but last year's statewide service was conducted virtually due to coronavirus restrictions. This year, the ceremony was held indoors in a conference room due to rain.

"Although it's not the same that it has been historically, it's just nice to gather and remember the sacrifices that these great troopers made," ISP Sgt. John Perrine said.

This was also the first in-person service honoring Lafayette trooper Peter Stephan, who died in a 2019 crash while he was on his way to help another trooper.

"Anytime we have to add a name to that list, it's heartbreaking," Perrine said.

It's important to show gratitude and remember the law enforcement officers who have been lost, even years later, according to the Romacks.

"We all share the same dirt, same trials and tribulations," Steve Romack said.

"(It feels) humbling," Renee Romack said. "With everything going on in the world today that they actually take time to remember the fallen."


North Las Vegas comes together to support trooper who lost wife in accident

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Recently the North Las Vegas community came together today to support a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper.

A tragic accident last month killed trooper Derek Otero's wife, Coral, and left him with multiple injuries.

Trooper Otero and his two young sons are trying to cope with their loss.

If you’d like to donate to the Otero family, please follow this link.



Texas DPS troopers cheer on injured trooper's son at baseball game

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Trooper Juan Rojas Tovar was critically wounded on April 8 while trying to take 27-year-old Larry Winston Bollin into custody. A post on HelpAHero.com said Tovar's cruiser was hit by bullets 13 times and he was struck at least once in the eye.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said that while Tovar has been discharged, he "stll faces many challenges in the days ahead, but he will not be alone; he has the support of a loving family and his brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

"Following his discharge from the hospital, Tovar was flown to Austin to receive additional medical treatment. In a post on Facebook, the DPS said when Tovar arrived he was greeted by Class A-2021 Trooper Trainees who saluted him for his bravery and as a show of respect before he was taken to a nearby hospital.

"Trooper Tovar continues his road to recovery, and we want to thank the community for their support," the DPS said.

The day before he was sent home, Tovar missed his son's baseball game. More than a dozen fellow state troopers went in his place, lining up along the field to cheer on the team.

Bollin was eventually caught and booked into jail on a murder charge in connection with the shooting at Kent Moore Cabinets in Bryan.


Good Samaritans help save trooper from fiery crash

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Two good Samaritans who helped rescue a DPS Trooper from a burning car over the weekend are speaking out, recalling the terrifying moments following the deadly multi-car crash.

Two people were killed and three others were sent to the hospital after the crash on U.S. 93 near Wickenburg.

On Wednesday, May 5, Carolee Ervien and Russel Christiansen were honored at a DPS ceremony for jumping in to help others involved in the crash. DPS Director Col. Heston Sibert thanked them for their bravery and courage, and said they “displayed the highest echelon of character.”

“The conduct that you displayed to save our Trooper’s life was valor,” said Sibert.

“All I can remember from that night is our car spinning,” said Ervien. On that Friday night, Ervien was driving her Toyota Corolla on Highway 93 when she crashed into three other drivers.

Just moments before, DPS Trooper Casey Rhinehart had stopped to help the driver of a Suburban that was low on gas, and the driver of a Honda came speeding along, hitting both the trooper and the Suburban. The Suburban’s driver, identified as 43-year-old Catherine Winegar from Tucson, died. The driver of the Honda, identified as 23-year-old Alexis Wilson from Chandler, also died.

Ervien came up on the crash and couldn’t avoid it. “I just jumped out of the car. I noticed the carnage that was right in front of me. It wasn’t registering exactly what it was. I just knew I had to get out and help,” she said.

“That’s pretty amazing to jump out of your wrecked car and run toward danger to help people,” said Christensen, the other good Samaritan.

Christensen was driving by and stopped to help. “I could hear the screaming.”

Ervien said, “I ran to him and saw that it was the trooper and he was standing, trying to get out of his vehicle, but the bottom half of his door was stuck.”

Christensen said, “The terrain was so horrible; there was so much stuff on the ground. We were falling all over the place just trying to drag him and get him away.”

With his car engulfed in flames, Rhinehart lay on the ground, unable to move, but still guiding others on how to help.

“Officer Rhinehart was still running the scene from his back it was crazy. He had a notepad out and he was telling us what to do,” said Christensen.

“I think I am still in shock,” said Ervien.

“I was terrified, absolutely terrified,” said Christensen.

These strangers say from this experience comes an important message. “We need to come together and put our arms around all our first responders and officers and rangers and law enforcement who walk into danger on a daily basis,” said Christensen.

Go fund me link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/2d47l410vc/donate?member=10626797


Sudden death of K9 officer stuns Nevada Highway Patrol

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Nevada Highway Patrol is mourning the loss of a trusted member of its family.

Jill, a 5-year-old Springer Spaniel, has died.

According to a tweet, Jill served both Northern and Southern commands. Her specialty was in narcotic detection.

Highway patrol said Jill had a medical emergency and was taken to a veterinarian on Sunday, but did not survive.

“The Nevada Highway Patrol will not be the same without her running up and down the halls in search of belly rubs,” NHP tweeted.


Man honors family members from fatal crash with help from trooper

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Two months after a deadly crash out of the Omaha metro, a Nebraska State Trooper has helped a man honor four members of his family who died.

Trooper Dakota Wilson was driving past the crash site on Highway 75 near Union when he saw someone had pulled over. He pulled over too, only to learn the man was looking for the spot where his family from Topeka, Kansas had died late January.

Trooper Wilson took him to the right spot and together, they laid out flowers and facetimed other family members back in Kansas.

“He couldn’t stop thanking me. The family thanked me too on the phone. It made me feels appreciative. It makes me remember why I chose this job and what I’m here to enforce. Things like this can be avoided with safe driving skills,” said Wilson.

The state patrol says an oncoming pickup truck collided with the victim’s vehicle. Troopers say they’re still helping Cass County officials with crash reconstruction.


Connecticut troopers help New Hampshire state police with gift delivery

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Connecticut state troopers helped with a special delivery of gifts collected by New Hampshire state police for a local girl who recently lost both her parents.

The young girl, identified as Eyvie, recently lost both of her parents in two separate tragic events and is now living with her grandma, said Paul D. Raymond Jr., a spokesperson for the New Hampshire Department of Safety.

The New Hampshire State Police coordinated with the state police in Massachusetts and Connecticut to deliver the gifts to the front doorsteps of Eyvie, Raymond said.

“It was amazing to see Eyvie’s smile and excitement and to help bring her some joy in such a tough time in her life,” said Trooper First Class Pedro A. Muñiz, Connecticut State Police Media Relations Unit.

The gifts were delivered by the Connecticut State Police who brought police six cruisers, two motorcycles and one of the K9 units, Raymond said.

Donations were received from the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Emergency Services & Communications (911), Division of Motor Vehicles, Division of Fire Standards & Training & Emergency Medical Services, Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, Office of Highway Safety, as well as the Department of Administrative Safety and Department of Health and Human Services, officials said.

The donations were used to buy the gifts that included an iPad, toys, stuffed animals, rock painting kit, clothes and more, said Raymond Jr.

A video of the Connecticut State Police taking the gifts to Eyvie can be seen on their Facebook Page.