Hundreds mourn slain North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper at funeral


Hundreds of people, including law enforcement officers, paid their respects to Trooper Kevin K. Conner at an outdoor funeral at South Columbus High School on Sunday.  Conner was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop early Wednesday in Columbus County near the South Carolina line, authorities said.  Conner stopped a white GMC pickup that was speeding on U.S. Highway 701 south of Whiteville.  The truck pulled over near the intersection with Sellers Town Road, and when Conner approached the vehicle, someone inside fired multiple shots, hitting Conner in the face and the torso, authorities said.  The gunman, later identified as Raheem Cole Dashanell Davis, fled the scene.  A Good Samaritan happened upon a wounded Conner and called 911, David said.  An 11-year veteran of the Highway Patrol assigned to Columbus County and the father of two children, Conner was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.  "He was a family man. He loved his wife and kids.  He loved his community," said Mike Baker with the North Carolina Highway Patrol.  Baker said Sunday's funeral was a somber moment to remember Conner's legacy.  "We can do as many celebrations, we can do as many ceremonies as we possibly can to remember the legacy of Trooper Kevin Conner, it's not going to bring him back," Baker said.  The bond between law enforcement was evident, as people from agencies in 22 different states attended the service.  "It just shows we support each other in times of good and times of bad," Baker said.  Conner's body was escorted to the funeral by the North Carolina Troopers Association Caisson Unit and Gov. Roy Cooper spoke during the service.  The service was followed by a memorial outside the high school, which included a flyover.  Jeff Tripp, president of the local nonprofit Blue Knights Motorcycle Club chapter said that even though some of their members didn't know Conner personally, they wanted to attend Sunday's funeral to show respect.  "We want to show the Highway Patrol men that are here that we respect them.  They're still out doing the job day in and day out," Tripp said.  "It should tell you that we're all brothers in blue.  We are the thin blue line."  Tripp said the Blue Knights Motorcycle Club donated money to Conner's family from their officer down fund.  Flags across the state were lowered to half-staff Thursday morning in memory of Trooper Kevin Conner, the 65th State Highway Patrol officer to be killed in the line of duty.  In 2011, Conner was hailed a hero when he extinguished a car fire while saving a driver involved in a crash in Whiteville.  Highway Patrol troopers and other law enforcement officers accompanied Conner's body in a procession along U.S. 701 Wednesday evening.





Pennsylvania State Police welcomes 99 new troopers

PSP 2018 graduation

Acting Commissioner Robert Evanchick announced Friday, October 12, that 99 cadets graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey and have been assigned to troops across the commonwealth. The men and women represent the 153rd graduating cadet class. The ceremony at Bishop McDevitt High School marked the culmination of 27 weeks of classroom and physical training. Cadet Nicholas Manganiello, from Luzerne County, spoke on behalf of the graduating class.



North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper killed in line of duty

NCHP Trooper Killed in line of duty October 2018


 Trooper Kevin Conner was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop on U.S. 701, near Sellers Town Road, in Columbus County at 12:15 am. The subject opened fire on Trooper Conner as he was approaching the stopped vehicle, after stopping him for speeding, fatally wounding him. The man fled but was located near Fair Bluff. He lead officers on a pursuit until his vehicle became disabled on railroad tracks in the town. He then fled on foot but was located and taken into custody at 4:00 am. A good samaritan happened upon Trooper Conner about an hour after he was shot and called 911. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. His dash cam and a nearby store camera showed he had been shot twice, once in the torso and once in the face. The 20-year-old suspect, who was driving a stolen truck, was on probation for firing a gun at an occupied car in Chadbourn in 2015. He is being held in the Columbus County jail without privlege of bond. Trooper Conner had served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for 11 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons. In 2011 he saved a driver's life when he extinguished a fire in his car after being involved in an accident.



Connecticut State Police bloodhound "saves the day" for woman and child

CSP Bloodhound

Dogs can fight crime too!  At 8:00am Friday morning, Oxford Police and state police responded to a home in Oxford for a reported burglary.  When police arrived, the victim said she and her child were on the second floor of their home when she observed a stranger in her home. The woman said the man fled on foot after the she approached him. State Police said Trooper Anuszewski and his K-9 partner "Texas" were able to track the suspect's scent from the victims' home, to the home of the suspect.  Several leads developed from Texas's track, and police were able to locate the suspect in Waterbury.



Maryland State Police welcomes new K-9 teams named after fallen troopers

MDSP K 9 graduation

After 26 weeks of intense training, five dual-purpose K-9 teams graduated on Friday to become part of the Maryland State Police Special Operations Division K-9 Unit. The class is made up of two current handlers, two new handlers from Maryland State Police and one patrol officer from the Easton Police Department. Of these five teams, three of the newly certified K-9s have each been named in honor of one of the Maryland State Police’s 43 fallen heroes. K-9 Plank, a German shepherd, is paired with Cpl. Dana Orndorff and was named in honor of Trooper First Class Edward Plank.  TFC Plank, 28, was killed on October 17, 1995 when he was shot by a suspect after conducting a traffic stop on U.S. Route 13 in Princess Anne. K-9 Plank and Cpl. Orndorff will be assigned to the Berlin Barrack. K-9 Hunter, a Belgian malinois, is paired with Trooper First Class Shawn Brown and is named in honor of TFC Shaft Hunter. TFC Hunter, 39, who was also a member of the K-9 Unit, was killed on May 21, 2011 when his patrol car collided with the back of a tractor-trailer that was parked on the shoulder of I-95 in Howard County. It is believed that he was pursuing a speeding motorcycle when the collision occurred. K-9 Hunter and TFC Brown will be assigned to the Westminster Barrack. K-9 Wade, a German shepherd, is paired with Trooper First Class Kyle Morrison and is named in honor of Trooper Gary Wade. On Janurary 30, 1982, Trooper Wade, 25, was struck and killed by a motorist who ran off the roadway striking the trooper and his car. The incident occurred on the JFK Memorial Highway just outside of Havre de Grace. K-9 Wade and TFC Morrison are assigned to the North East Barrack, the same barrack where Trooper Wade served. The other graduates include K-9 Drake, a German shepherd, and Master Trooper James Layton, who are assigned to the Cumberland Barrack. K-9 Kato is heading to the Easton Police Department with PFC Stephen Tindall. The K-9 teams will be utilized for drug detection and patrol/utility work. The Maryland State Police K-9 unit has been in operation for over nearly 60 years and consists of 33 troopers and 41 K-9s.



Rhode Island State Police announce program to fight opioid epidemic


“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem.” It’s a saying familiar to those who dedicate their lives to combating drug addiction. Seeing the message on a screen in a roomful of law enforcement officers, though, was jarring for Tom Coderre, who battled drug addiction and is a senior adviser to Gov. Gina Raimondo. “I nearly fell over,” he said. But the new Heroin-Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) Initiative relies on law enforcement officers to work with clinicians and recovery coaches in identifying individuals at risk of overdosing and guiding them on a path toward treatment and recovery. Eighty officers from the Rhode Island State Police and municipal departments attended a daylong training Monday at the Roger Williams University’s Baypoint Conference Center for the program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Police will focus on patients being discharged from the hospital after suffering an overdose, inmates who received substance-abuse treatment in prison and are being released, and those who miss a court date for a drug charge, said Col. Ann Assumpico, the superintendent of the State Police. She called the 1,673 overdoses last year in Rhode Island, including 323 fatalities, “unacceptable,” especially for law enforcement officers whose mission it is to ensure the public’s health and safety. “We will get people help, which is what the HOPE Initiative is all about,” Assumpico said. The program will be coordinated by the State Police, which will partner with the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Prevention and Intervention; the Department of Health; the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, according to a State Police statement. State and federal grants will fund the program. Raimondo, who attended the announcement Monday, said of the many issues she confronts as governor, the opioid epidemic is “definitely one that keeps me up at night the most.” She noted that addiction afflicts people across all backgrounds — young and old, rich and poor — and is in “every neighborhood, every family.” Like many places across the country, Rhode Island has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic. According to statistics from the Department of Health, there was an initial spike in accidental drug overdose deaths from 2011, when there were eight, to 2012, with 183. The number of deaths climbed each of the next four years, reaching 336 in 2016 before dropping slightly last year. Through May of this year, there were 157 such deaths.




Florida Highway Patrol graduates 68 new troopers

FHP September 28 2018 graduation

September 28, the 139th basic recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) graduated from the FHP Training Academy. These 68 troopers join the more than 1,900 troopers who patrol Florida’s roads each day to provide safety and security to residents and visitors. “I am very proud to welcome the 139th Recruit Class to the Florida Highway Patrol and appreciate their commitment to serve the state of Florida,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “These new troopers selflessly chose to take the oath to put the safety and well-being of others above all else.” Members of the 139th basic recruit class went through 28 weeks of intense physical and classroom training covering topics including defensive tactics, law, vehicle operations, firearms and first aid. While at the FHP Training Academy, recruits also participated in several community service activities, including blood drives and volunteering to help those living with developmental disabilities. “It is a privilege to welcome our newest recruit class to the ranks of trooper,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “These men and women will carry on the Patrol’s dedication of Courtesy, Service and Protection for the residents and visitors of Florida.” Senator Bill Montford delivered the keynote address to FHP’s newest Troopers. “The members of the 139th Recruit Class are committed to the highest standard of service and mission of the Florida Highway Patrol,” said Senator Bill Montford. “Their dedication and their families sacrifice to keep Florida safe should be commended.” Upon reporting to their duty stations, the new Troopers will be placed with a certified Field Training Officer (FTO). Troopers will work in tandem with their FTO for 10 to 14 weeks prior to being released to solo duty.



North Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 31 new troopers

NCHP 145th Class

The State Highway Patrol welcomed 31 new troopers at a graduation ceremony for the 145th Basic Highway Patrol School. The ceremony ended 29 weeks of demanding training preparing them for a rewarding career of service to the state of North Carolina. The ceremony was held at the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Mark D. Martin, Supreme Court of North Carolina. Col. G. M. McNeill Jr., the 27th commander of the State Highway Patrol, provided remarks to those in attendance. “You have been called to be a part of something bigger than one’s self, an organization that is striving to reduce collisions and keeps the highways of North Carolina as safe as possible,” said McNeill. “Some people have a calling and never act on it. You were brave enough to take that important next step; you acted and answered that important call.” The cadets will report to their respective duty stations on Oct. 3 to begin a demanding field training program.



Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper honored for his bravery and courage

OKHP Purple Heart

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper received the Purple Heart award Monday afternoon. This prestigious honor was given for bravery and courage. "It's pretty special. It's one of those things we never think about happening," said OHP Trooper David McCutcheon. McCutcheon got injured in the line of duty in 2011, he was hit on the side of the highway. Surgery didn't fix the problem, so he medically retired in 2013. "We don't put this uniform on and think about the things that'll happen to us," McCutcheon said. He came out of retirement two years later. But that same year, he was injured again working a high speed pursuit up to speeds of 150 miles per hour on Highway 70 west of Durant. He performed a tactical maneuver to stop the other driver, but his patrol unit crashed and caught fire. Four surgeries later, he came back. "Through all the struggles, I'm here," McCutcheon said. But it wasn't an easy road. "Tested the bounds of my marriage, I mean it was just, it was significant in more ways than just the highway patrol," he said. McCutcheon received the Purple Heart Award. He said even after all he's been through..."It just adds to my willpower and desire to be a state trooper," McCutcheon said.




Emmy winning South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper set to retire after nearly three decades of service

SCHP Trooper Bob

After more than two decades as one of the South Carolina law enforcement community's most visible fixtures, the man known as "Trooper Bob" is hanging up his badge. Lt. Bob Beres (BARE-ez) tells The Associated Press that he's retiring this fall after 24 years in the Patrol. His last day on the job will be Nov. 30. One of the Patrol's chief spokesmen, Beres is tasked with giving reporters details about traffic accidents, crash investigations and general safety tips. Standing 6-foot-5, Beres is impossible to miss, a larger than life presence at media events and on the job around the state. But it's Beres' innovative use of social media that's not only won him legions of adoring fans across the state and region — it also landed him an Emmy award earlier this year.Top of FormBottom of Form Beres' journey began in a refugee camp in Austria, where his parents fled from an oppressive Hungarian regime just before he was born. While Beres was still an infant, his parents made the trip to America, where they settled with other ex-pats in Connecticut. After high school, Beres joined the Navy, serving on an ammunition ship in the Persian Gulf and traveling throughout the world. After four years of service, Beres says he felt a pull to something bigger as he walked off the ship and down a long pier. "I left with everything I owned in my bag and that was it," he says. "I felt like God put his hand on my head and said, I want you to go help people." Starting with a security job in Charleston, Beres eventually worked his way up to a job with the Patrol, despite discouragement from his boss at the security job, who told him, "You'll never make it" as a trooper. Beres threw everything he had into his training. On his first day on the job, he made a special trip, back to the office of his security job boss. "I shined my shoes up, I shined my car up," he says. "I went inside and knocked on the guy's door. He said, 'Beres,' and I said, 'No sir, it's "Trooper" Beres with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. I just wanted you to know that I'm stationed in Dorchester, and you let me know if you need anything.'" Ultimately Beres became a community relations officer, one of the faces of the agency that employs more than 900 troopers throughout the state. To handle confusion over how to pronounce his Hungarian last name, Beres began telling people, "Just call me Trooper Bob." Beres says he then encouraged other Patrol spokesmen also to use first names only on social media, something that makes them relatable and accessible. "Some guy out there, he doesn't care about our rank," he said. "I want them to see, we're human, too." Beres was named the 2007 Trooper of the Year, in part because of his work to help a woman who had lost her home in a fire. After the historic flooding that gripped parts of South Carolina in 2015, Beres sought an innovative way to draw attention of the need to heed warnings not to drive around the numerous barricades that blocked off flooded or washed out roadways. "Finally, I found emoji in my phone, so I put an emoji message together," says Beres, who says the string of pictograms was shared hundreds of thousands of times. Impressed by the reach of the unique message, the Patrol started using more emoji messaging, crafting an anti-drunk driving campaign based off Beres' tweets that went up on hundreds of billboards around the state. This year, a 30-second TV ad featuring Beres and emoji won an Emmy award. "If my mom from Hungary can understand this, then anyone can get this," Beres says, of the simple, pictorial messaging that got national attention. Now, after decades in uniform, the trooper with the wide smile and innovative ideas says it's time for a new adventure. "I've been in a uniform since I was 18, says Beres, who's now 47. "But I'm going to take a little time off and see where I land. I'm up for whatever."



Kentucky State Police trooper cleared to return to work one year after crash

KSP Trooper returns to work after injury

One year after a scary crash that nearly took his life, one Kentucky State Police trooper has been given the OK to go back on duty. Trooper Lewis, stationed at KSP Post 13 in Hazard, was involved in a bad crash September 12, 2017, on I-75 in Laurel County. His cruiser flipped and traveled into a 150-foot embankment. Lewis was trapped in the vehicle for two hours until he was finally able to grab his phone and call 911. "Come to find out he had broken 23 bones and he was on life support," said Lewis' wife, Miranda. Doctors told Lewis he may never walk again, and that his leg would likely have to be amputated. Ethan and Miranda rejected that prognosis, saying a higher power would decide his fate. Lewis spent two months in the hospital. He says his fellow state troopers were always at his side. He said his family, including daughter Maddie and newborn son Ethan, is what saved him. "I mean that's why I stayed alive is my family," Lewis said. "I wasn't going to give up my family. There's no way." Lewis dedicates his recovery to fellow men and women in uniform who didn't make it home. "I at least owe it to them. I'm not going to give up, and they're not taking my gray uniform away from me. I'm going to put it back on," Lewis said.

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Maine State Police plates honor Barbara Bush Children's Hospital

Maine SP Barbara Bush

The Maine State Police have issued commemorative license plates for their fleet that honor the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland.  The license plates will be attached to State Police cruisers until the end of September.  The plates will then be signed by the individual troopers and collected to be sold via online auction and at other special events to benefit the Children’s Hospital.  It is the fifth time State Police have issued special plates to benefit nonprofit organizations.  Past recipients have been Breast Cancer Awareness, Wreaths Across America, Special Olympics and the Travis Mills Foundation. The previous commemorative plates have raised between $15,000 and $20,000 for each of the organizations. The commemorative plates are a collaborative effort with the Maine State Troopers Association and the Maine Troopers Foundation. The plates began appearing on State Police vehicles Sept. 2 and will be displayed until the end of the month.  September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The Chief of the Maine State Police, Colonel John Cote, said the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and State Police have had a long association. Troopers have brought presents in for patients at the hospital annually at Christmas for several years. Cote said, “State Police have been a strong supporter of the hospital and its mission.  Our hope is these plates will raise awareness of the high quality service the hospital provides to our most vulnerable citizens and the funds raised will benefit those most in need.”



New Jersey State Police to equip all state troopers with body cameras by mid-2019

NJSP Body Cameras

One-and-a-half million dollars in criminal forfeiture funds are being used to equip New Jersey State troopers with body cameras, and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said all members of the state police should have them by the middle of next year. Grewal said when law enforcement officers and citizens know their encounters are being recorded, they behave better. He says there are thousands, maybe even millions, of those interactions in the state each year. “And they are 99.9 percent positive, so we invite the scrutiny. It is those out-of-context cellphone videos that sometimes paint a negative picture of an interaction,” said Grewal. “So, we would welcome an entire picture of the interaction, and entire video of the interaction to be available, and I think it promotes confidence and public trust.” State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said most troopers welcome the use of body cameras, and they’re already used to having cameras mounted in their cruisers. “I tell the troopers when I’m with them, ‘You’re on camera anyway, whether it’s a store camera or somebody holding a smartphone,’” said Callahan. “So let’s show things from our perspective and capture the entire encounter.” Callahan said while body cameras are a good tool, a police officer’s training on how to treat the public is what can really make a difference. “If the person wearing the camera doesn’t have that notion of treating people with dignity and respect, all we’re going to end up with is a bunch of negative videos, and that’s not going to help us in building that public trust,” said Callahan. Grewal said internal affairs complaints have dropped in jurisdictions around the country that use body cameras.



California Highway Patrol K9 Officer Beny did it again!

CHP K9 Beny

K9 officer Beny did it again!  On August 28, a California Highway Patrol Officer conducted a traffic stop on a 2013 Jeep Patriot for speeding.  The officer pulled the driver over on the westbound SR-152 at Dinosaur Point. The officer observed indications that the driver was engaging in criminal activities, so K9 officer Beny was called in.  During a search of the vehicle Beny found approximately 30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine inside what officers say was a sophisticated roof compartment. The driver was taken into custody and booked into the Merced County Sheriff's Office Jail for possession of methamphetamine for sale, and transportation of methamphetamine.



Massachusetts State trooper issues Beanie Baby to baby instead of ticket

MSP Beanie Baby

When State Trooper Nate Monteiro pulled up behind Alexandra Schirmer on Wednesday afternoon in the breakdown lane on Route 24 in Raynham, she thought she was in trouble. Instead, she’d found a guardian angel. Schirmer, a certified nursing assistant in Bridgewater, was heading home from work with her 4-month-old son, Sebastian, and they were stuck in heavy traffic. “It was so hot and Sebastian wouldn’t stop crying to the point he was making himself choke. He was just hungry. I couldn’t take it anymore,” the Berkley native posted on Facebook. Schirmer, 22, pulled over into the breakdown lane to give Sebastian a bottle. When Monteiro pulled up behind her, she was so scared, she waved the baby bottle out the window, she said. But she had nothing to worry about. “He was so nice,” Schirmer said Thursday. Monteiro went back to his cruiser and came back, not with a ticket, but with a Beanie Baby for Sebastian. Then Monteiro sat in his cruiser and waited there until Schirmer was done feeding Sebastian to make sure they were safe, she said. “It was pretty cool,” Schirmer posted.