Dereck Stewart has started his role as the new colonel and leader of the Tennessee Highway Patrol

THP New Colonel

MTSU graduate Dereck Stewart has started his role as the new colonel and leader of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Stewart, who previously held the rank of lieutenant colonel, was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David W. Purkey in April. The rise of the of 30-year veteran to the position also marks the first time an African-American has held the role of THP colonel, the agency's top leader. "It's always worth it to notice when history gets made," Haslam said during a ceremony at that time. "(Stewart) is the very first African-American to be lead this organization, but that's not why we promoted him. We promoted him because he is the best, most qualified, (and) has the right track record. We're thrilled we get to make this appointment." Stewart was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2011 after serving in various capacities throughout the agency and has been responsible for the daily operations of the THP for the last seven years. Murfreesboro resident Tracy Trott retired May 31 after 40 years of service, including eight years as THP's leader.  The governor said it had been an honor to serve with Trott, and Stewart called Trott a friend and mentor. Stewart is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, the Executive Leadership Institute, the FBI National Executive Institute and Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Davidson County with his wife and two children.




Minnesota trooper says his seat belt saved his life in head-on crash

MSP Trooper seat belt

Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Mike Krukowski says if it weren't for his seatbelt, his wife would've been planning his funeral. Krukowski was involved in a head-on crash last month when a driver near Lakeville veered off I-35, went through the freeway fence and struck his squad SUV.   Krukowski says over his 14 years on patrol, he's heard every reason why people don't wear their seatbelts -- including, I'll be able to belt in if needed.  He says he had fractions of a second when he saw the car coming at him. Krukowski says, "There was no way that I would be able to reach over my left shoulder and pull that seatbelt on and click it on moments before impact.  There's not a chance."  Krukowski broke both his feet and arm in the crash. The driver of the other car died several days later.



Law Enforcement from across the country pay final respects to NC Highway Patrol Trooper Samuel Bullard

NC troope laid to rest

Authorities from across the country made their way to North Carolina Friday to pay their final farewell to State Highway Patrol Trooper Samuel Bullard. Bullard, 24, died in a crash with a suspect who had passed through a license checkpoint. The crash happened along Interstate 77 southbound near NC 67 in Yadkin County. On Friday, the focus was not on the investigation, but Trooper Bullard's legacy and impact on others.  "This extraordinary young man who worked very hard and did what he was supposed to do.  And we're grateful for his life," said Governor Roy Cooper, the first to speak during the hour-long funeral. Cameras were not allowed inside, but media was invited to listen in. Governor Cooper described Bullard as being "full of the spirit of service." Reverend Victor Church led the service and was the final speaker. During his remarks, he jokingly recalled Bullard's proposal fell on April Fool's Day of this year.  He also read aloud a note written by Bullard's fiancé, where she shared her never-ending love and devotion.  "Thinking about the age he came on, planning for his wedding the same time I was planning for my wedding.  It's just - you ask a lot of questions, you ask a lot of the 'why's?'," said State Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Knox.  Sgt. Knox was one of more than a thousand law enforcement personnel to converge on the Walker Center on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.  He explained the impact of placing the ceremonial black band over his shield in memory of Bullard.  "I put it on and knew that everything had changed.  For a family everything had changed.  For the people that worked with him, everything had changed.  When you put this on, it hurts.  It's pretty close to the heart and the hearts what's affected by all this," explained Sgt. Knox.  Trooper Bullard's dedication and professionalism were brought up by many throughout the day.  "It should really motivate all of us to strive to be like him, and to honor him by going out in the communities and being the trooper he was in his community," said Sgt. Knox.  Bullard's three-year anniversary with State Highway Patrol would have been June 21.  Law enforcement agencies from more than a dozen states sent representatives to Friday's service.  They included various law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina, Georgia State Patrol, Ohio Highway Patrol, Virginia State Police, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Wisconsin State Police, Delaware State Police, Utah Highway Patrol, Pennsylvania State Police, Indiana State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, Missouri Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police, Michigan State Police, West Virginia State Police, among others.  Following the funeral, family, friends, and law enforcement personnel attended a private, graveside memorial service in Rhonda.



New York State Police fill time capsule, remember fallen troopers

NYSP Time Capsule

As state police paid tribute to fallen troopers Monday morning, they made sure photographs, reports and other information also would not be forgotten. State police placed a time capsule behind a monument for fallen members at their annual Memorial Day services outside the front entrance of the Troop D headquarters in Oneida, Trooper Jack Keller said. The ceremony is held each year to remember and honor 24 Troop D members who have given the "ultimate sacrifice," Keller said. About 150 people attended Monday. State police Maj. Mary Clark, who previously served as a Zone 1 Commander captain, spearheaded the idea of a centennial time capsule.  "The entire troop -- troop headquarters, zone stations and Bureau of Criminal Investigation units -- were notified and requested to provide some form of a portfolio containing interesting, noteworthy events, photographs, reports or whatever they thought would speak more clearly in the future, as compared to a historical study or verbal story sharing," Keller said. State police submitted items throughout 2017 "in a collective effort to compile a historical cache of goods and information," he said. "A few members took time to draft letters, in hope of same being read by family and relatives in the future." Items were placed inside a waterproof fiberglass time capsule, constructed by Zone 1 Commander Capt. Mark Klosowski; other members from Troop D also assisted. Members of the state police signed the outside of the time capsule, which Keller said, instructs future generations not to open it until at least the year 2067.



New Superintendent is appointed to lead the North Dakota Highway Patrol

NDHP New Superintendent

North Dakota Highway Patrol Maj. Brandon Solberg was appointed Thursday, May 17, to oversee the agency by Gov. Doug Burgum, who cited his leadership experience and history of field and administrative roles during his more than 22 years in law enforcement. Solberg will succeed Col. Michael Gerhart, who is retiring from the agency on June 30 after four years as Highway Patrol superintendent and more than 26 years with the agency. Solberg has been with the Highway Patrol for nearly two decades, including more than 10 years as a commander at patrol headquarters in the state Capitol. Before joining the Highway Patrol in January 1999, he was a Dickey County sheriff’s deputy and served as a part-time reserve deputy in Barnes County, working in corrections and patrol operations. “Maj. Solberg brings the right combination of leadership and management skills to lead the North Dakota Highway Patrol, as well as a deep understanding of what troopers face every day as they protect the public and enforce our laws,” Burgum said. “His focus on education and training, building partnerships and holding the Highway Patrol to the highest standards of professional excellence will serve North Dakota citizens well.” Solberg earned an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Alexandria (Minnesota) Technical College and a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of North Dakota. He spent the first six years of his Highway Patrol career as a state trooper stationed in Grafton and Grand Forks before being promoted to sergeant and becoming a shift supervisor in Fargo. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2007, relocating to headquarters in Bismarck. Solberg advanced to the rank of captain in 2011 and was promoted to major and chief of staff in 2014, managing the patrol’s biennial budget of about $60 million and directly or indirectly supervising a staff of about 200 people. He was the patrol’s accreditation manager for about seven years, receiving the Colonel’s Award for Excellence in 2009 after the agency received a meritorious award and flagship agency status from its accrediting board. “I am grateful to Gov. Burgum for the opportunity to serve as the next Highway Patrol superintendent,” Solberg said. “I will listen and learn from our dedicated employees as we continue to enhance public safety for our citizens through high-quality service. Col. Gerhart was an exceptional leader, and I hope to build on the positive momentum he created.” Burgum expressed his deepest gratitude to Gerhart for his leadership and more than 26 years with the Highway Patrol, including stints as a trooper, safety and education officer, training director and field operations commander. “Col. Gerhart’s outstanding service as a law enforcement officer and leader have made the Highway Patrol a stronger agency and North Dakota a safer place to live and travel,” Burgum said. “We are deeply grateful for his steadfast commitment to public safety and his levelheaded leadership in both calm and tumultuous times. We thank him for helping to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership and wish him all the best.”



North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper killed in line-of-duty

NCHP Trooper Killed in line of duty May 2018

Trooper Samuel Bullard was killed in a vehicle crash while involved in a pursuit on I-77, near mile marker 80 in Yadkin County, at approximately 11:30 pm. The trooper in the lead of the pursuit noticed that Trooper Bullard was no longer behind him and attempted to reach him on the radio. When Trooper Bullard did not respond the lead trooper terminated the pursuit and then located Trooper Bullard's vehicle fully engulfed in flames. The driver and vehicle being pursued remains at large. Trooper Bullard had served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for three years and was assigned to Surry County.



Minnesota State Patrol graduates 31 new troopers

Minnesota State Patrol May 2018 graduation

A Black Hawk helicopter pilot. A former farmer. The daughter of a current State Patrol major. The trio was part of a group of 31 men and women who officially joined the State Patrol family on Tuesday. The cadets, ages 21–49, include 12 military veterans, seven cadets with prior law enforcement experience and eight women. They graduated after spending 17 weeks at the State Patrol Academy at Camp Ripley.



South Carolina Patrol graduates 38 new troopers

SCHP May 2018 Graduations

The South Carolina Highway Patrol held graduation for 38 troopers from its Highway Patrol Basic Classes 103 and 104. Gov. Henry McMaster thanked the graduates for choosing this career path and for their willingness to serve and protect the state. The graduation of Basic 103 and 104 brings the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 785 (including today’s graduates) and another 47 troopers are currently in training. The class included 29 prior-certified officers and nine troopers who are new to the law enforcement profession.




Missouri Highway Patrol troopers surprise Thayer High School graduate with memorable gesture

MHP attend HS Graduation

A high school graduation in the Ozarks included many special guests. Friends and family of graduates at Thayer High School packed the gym Saturday night for the graduation of the 2018 class of Bobcats. One senior had a few extra friends in the stands. 18 Troopers from Troop G, surprised Hayden Dewayne Graham at the graduation. Hayden's late father, Dewayne Graham Jr., was shot and killed in an ambush 13 years ago outside of his Carter County home. Hayden was just four years old at the time. Sgt. Jeff Kinder says was an honor for him and his fellow troopers. "it meant a lot," said Sgt. Kinder. "You know, back in 2005 when Dewayne was killed, he was four-years-old. He's missed a lot of life's milestones with his dad. Such as Christmases, birthdays. You know a lot of that kind of stuff. Even though his dad wasn't physically able to be here today, we felt like we could stand up and be here for him." Troopers contacted Hayden's mother Tami Dubois a few weeks ago and asked if they could attend the ceremony to surprise Hayden and honor their brother in blue, Dewayne. "Sgt. Reese called me a couple of weeks ago and told me that they would like to come down and show up for Hayden's graduation and I thought that was pretty cool," she explains. "He stood for what we believe in, so we felt like it was our honor to stand up for him and be here for this milestone for his son," says Kinder. On Saturday night, just over 13 years later, Dewayne's son, Hayden Dewayne Graham, walked across the stage with mom, Dewayne's father, and 18 of his brothers in blue watching. "I was just real surprised. I had no idea that they would be there to support me for this," says Hayden Graham. It was a simple gesture that meant the world to him. "I was just proud that they still care and they're still with me and supporting me and here to congratulate me," he says. "I think he would be very proud and he would be thankful that his brothers were here to support Hayden," says Dubois. Everyone knew Graham was right there by son's side. "Dewayne was here," says Kinder. Only a few people knew of the gesture.



North Carolina Highway Patrol seizes nearly 4 million in drugs in traffic stop

NCSHP Meth and Heroin bust

A North Carolina woman is facing felony drug charges after State Highway Patrol troopers say they discovered more than 100 pounds of heroin and methamphetamine in her rented truck.  A news release from the patrol says a Penske truck driven by Ashley N. Tramonte, 27, of Marion, N.C., was stopped at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 70 in Guernsey County, which is in southeast Ohio.  Troopers stopped the truck because it was following another vehicle too closely.  The patrol says a drug-sniffing dog was brought in and indicated there were drugs in the truck.  About 110 pounds of heroin and methamphetamine, valued at $3.7 million, was found by troopers, the release says.



Virginia State Police welcomes 52 new troopers to their ranks

VSP My 2018 graduation

The 127th generation of Virginia State Troopers were welcomed into the ranks Friday, May 11, with 52 new troopers presented with their diplomas during commencement exercises at the State Police Training Academy in North Chesterfield County.  The new troopers have received more than 1,300 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management. The troopers began their 29 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy Oct. 25, 2017. The graduates are from every corner of the Commonwealth, as well as Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia beginning May 14, for their final phase of training. Each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.



Dodge Announces Police Pursuit Version of 2018 Durango

Dodge Pursuit Vehicle

Dodge Announces Police Pursuit Version of 2018 Durango

Dodge is expanding its police vehicle line-up, adding a new Pursuit version of its Dodge Durango.

“Unofficial testing results at the Michigan State Police 2018 model year vehicle evaluation event created such a stir among law enforcement agencies that we simply had to find a way to build this vehicle,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT – FCA North America. “The Dodge Durango is already known as the Charger of SUVs, so it is only natural that the new Durango Pursuit complements the Charger Pursuit in police fleets across the country.”

The 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit is powered by the legendary 5.7L HEMI® V-8, coupled with a full-time, active all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. This is the same powertrain combination most commonly deployed in the Dodge Charger Pursuit, the top-selling police sedan in the U.S. market. The Durango Pursuit also offers a two-speed transfer case for true low-range off-road capability and incorporates larger, heavy-duty anti-lock brakes that deliver a 60-0 mile per hour (mph) stopping distance of 134 feet.

Other notable standard features of the 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit include:

  • 5.7L V-8 HEMI® with Fuel Saver Technology delivers best-in-class horsepower (360) and torque (390 lb.-ft.)
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission delivers quick shifts and improved fuel economy
  • Rear-wheel-drive-based drivetrain is the foundation for Durango’s outstanding on-road driving performance. Available all-wheel drive (AWD) further enhances driver confidence by leveraging the SUV’s 50/50 weight distribution
  • Segment’s longest wheelbase (119.8 inches) provides added stability and improved handling
  • Best-in-class 7,200 lb. towing capability
  • 8.1-inches of ground clearance
  • ParkView® rear backup camera with ParkSense® alert
  • Eight-way power adjusting driver seat controls
  • Air conditioning with air filtration
  • Under-vehicle mount for spare tire, maximizing interior cargo space and accessibility
  • Class-exclusive, K-9 friendly Tri-Zone interior temperature control
  • Trailer sway control
  • Spot lamp wiring prep package
  • 220-amp alternator
  • 800 cold cranking amp (CCA) battery
  • Heavy-duty oil cooler and water pump
  • Power locking fuel filler door

The new 2018 Dodge Durango Pursuit V8 AWD is available for order for a limited time. For more information, law enforcement agencies should call (800) 999-3533.



West Virginia State trooper honored with FBI award

WV Trooper Honored by FBI

The FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association presented the 2018 Outstanding Service in Law Enforcement Award to West Virginia State Trooper Corporal Baron W. Claypool for his service to the community. The ceremony took place at the Bridgeport Conference Center. Cpl. Claypool was praised for his work on the recently re-opened cold case regarding the murder of 7-year-old C.R. Diaz. His work, in collaboration with other state troopers and the Harrison County Sherriff's Department, led to the arrest of 53-year-old William Clyde Jeffries. In addition to his tireless commitment to the force, Cpl. Claypool is dedicated to his community and his faith.



Snapping Turtle that slowed NJ Turnpike traffic rescued by state troopers

NJSP Snapping Turtle

New Jersey State Troopers rescued a snapping turtle from the highway near Interchange 15W. "You just never know what’s causing a traffic delay—a broken down car, an accident, debris in the road, or maybe, just maybe, a tortoise," police said in a news release. "A couple of Troops made sure this guy was safely removed from the roadway before allowing traffic back into the lane."



Arkansas Highway Patrol nabs 340 pounds of marijuana

(Source: Arkansas Highway Patrol)

Arkansas Highway Patrol officers stopped a driver with millions of dollars worth of marijuana in their car. AHP officers conducted the inspection at a weigh station on Interstate 40 in Alma. Officers then discovered 340 pounds of marijuana and 2,340 units of cannabis oil--a total value of $2.2 million. The 45-year-old driver from California was taken to jail and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.