AAST Partners with Thin Blue Line USA

Enough is Enough car sticker

 

AAST Partners with Thin Blue Line USA

Thin Blue Line USA, thinbluelineusa.com approached ASST to partner to bring awareness to the continuing devastation affecting Americas troopers on the side of the road.  They are launching a sticker campaign to help raise awareness to our troopers being hit, injured, and killed on the side of the road.  ENOUGH is ENOUGH Be Alert Move Over.  Stickers can be purchased on their website with a percentage of proceeds being donated to the AAST Foundation.

AAST fully supports this worthwhile endeavor to bring awareness to one of the most dangerous aspects of our job!  Mason Dixon Polling also supports this awareness as they indicate in a National poll shows strong support (89%) for Move Over laws.  Despite laws in all 50 states, 30% of Americans are unaware their state has them and 67% aren’t aware of the branded phase Move Over.

 

Thin Blue LIne USA

 

1/7/20

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What Cops Need to Tell Their Families About Active Shooters

Your hard-earned knowledge about active shooter events may help to prevent your loved ones from becoming victims

I was at the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) annual conference when I overheard attendees discussing the active shooter attack that had just happened hours before at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.  Although it had been less than eight hours since the attack, many of the assembled officers were from the region and were already getting information about the shooting that killed 12 people, including Sergeant Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.  Several officers indicated they were frequent patrons of Borderline and knew the staff and crowd well.  One officer said a daughter of a fellow officer worked at the bar.  Yet another officer said his adult children had planned to visit the club that evening, but changed their plans when they were invited to a party at a friend’s home, instead.

CLOSE TO HOME

A forensics team works the scene Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. where a gunman opened fire Wednesday inside a country dance bar crowded with hundreds of people on "college night," wounding 11 people including a deputy who rushed to the scene. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The shooting was a grim reminder to everyone present that these attacks don’t just happen to other people.  Law enforcement officers typically deal with situations where they have no connection to the victim, so it’s unusual to have friends and family directly involved.

However, your loved ones are not immune to the jeopardy created by the broken and evil people around us.  Sadly, your badges will not shield your family and friends from attack, but your hard-earned knowledge about active shooter events may help to prevent them from becoming a victim.  As law enforcement officers, you understand violence and the dynamics of active shooter situations better than anyone else, so you need to share some of this knowledge with those you love to enhance their chance of survival if they are caught in one of these attacks.

TIPS TO ENHANCE SURVIVAL DURING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER ATTACK

Some of the things to share, on an age-appropriate basis, include the following:

Maintain situational awareness. Poor situational awareness makes it difficult to identify threats and respond to them in a timely manner.  Encourage your friends and loved ones to keep their noses out of their phones when they’re in public, and look around.  Help them to develop the habit of scanning the area around them, watch what people are doing and be mindful of changes to their environment.  Teach them to look for people and things that don’t belong, or don’t follow the pattern.  Most of the public couldn’t tell you what’s happening beyond six inches from their nose … don’t let friends and family become one of these zombies.

Know where the exits are. Teach your friends and family to make a habit of identifying ways to get out of whatever space they find themselves in.  Look for doors, stairs and service entrances.  Look for things that can be used to smash through windows – or even walls – to create an exit where none exists.  Identify the obstacles and chokepoints that could prevent you from getting out when a crowd rushes that way in a panic.  Figure out the exit that most people will probably flock to, and then locate one opposite of that location.  Have a plan for getting out, and have a backup plan in case that one doesn’t work.

Get off the floor. Hitting the deck during the initial moments of an attack might make a lot of sense and prevent you from getting hit by gunfire, but it might be a bad place to stay in the long run.  Every situation is different, but in many cases, staying on the floor will only lead to you being trampled by the crowd or targeted by an attacker that’s moving faster than you.  If you’re on the floor, try to get out of the traffic flow, and move to a place where the attacker can’t see you (concealment), or where you have the physical protection (cover) necessary to get up and run.  You want to spend as little time in the target area as possible, so don’t freeze in place on the ground.  It might make sense to stay still in some situations, but in most cases, your odds of survival will improve if you get out of there quickly.  A moving target is hard to hit – especially one running away at an oblique angle – but a slow-moving or stationary target on the floor is easy work for an attacker.

Don’t volunteer to be deaf and blind. Anything that interrupts normal hearing or vision can make it difficult to sense danger and take appropriate measures.  For example, loud music can mask the sound of gunfire, and dark rooms can hide the presence of a threat and make it hard to find the exits.  If your friends and family are going to hang out in loud and dark places, they need to make up for the sensory loss in other ways.  Scan the crowd more frequently, know how many exit rows you have to touch before you’re near the door, hang out near the exit, bring a good flashlight – find ways to make up for your loss of vision and hearing.

Limit alcohol consumption in public. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink with friends and family and it’s an important part of the entertainment experience for many people.  However, drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication while you’re in public is dangerous for your personal safety.  If your senses, thinking and coordination are dulled by too much alcohol, you’ll be in no shape to detect threats, or to save yourself or any of the people you are with.  If you plan on drinking a lot, do it in the safety of your home – not out in the ocean, where all the sharks are swimming about.

Have a plan. Friends and family should understand what they’re expected to do if they get caught in an active shooter situation.  First, they should break the freeze and get moving to safety.  In some cases, they may need to fight, and should be mentally ready to do so.  Have them think about and discuss an offsite rendezvous point (something outside of the immediate area – away from the Hot Zone) for the group if they get separated.  Teach them if they get out, to stay out, and to not go back inside looking for someone.

Be careful with your communication devices. Encourage friends and family to keep a charged cell phone on their person.  Off-body carry (i.e., in a purse, in the console of a car) is not recommended, because it’s too easy to get separated from the phone – put it in a pocket so that it’s there if you have to run.  Discuss the critical information 911 needs to know when reporting an emergency, and have them practice making a good call with the right elements of information.  Ensure youngsters know how to operate a traditional, wired phone (no, I’m not joking).  Encourage loved ones to memorize essential phone numbers, so they can call family from someone else’s phone.

Know how to act when the police arrive. Friends and family must understand how to act when the police arrive to ensure their safety.  Teach them the importance of following commands, avoiding furtive movements and keeping their hands off of responders.  Teach them that the first responding officers are trained to bypass the wounded and put the shooter down first, before giving aid or evacuating victims.  Teach them how to communicate the essentials to responding officers – description, weapons, location, and direction of the suspect’s movement.

Learn first aid basics. Teach friends and family how to stop bleeding, how to put someone in the recovery position and how to move a wounded victim.  Teach them about the best locations in the area to transport a wounded victim for treatment.

Be prepared. Most important, have them take the threat seriously.  The shock and stress of an attack like this can lead an unprepared mind to panic and freeze.  Teach your loved ones that these events are survivable, even if they are wounded, if they keep their head and make good decisions.  Teach them “tactical breathing” or other skills that will help to calm them down, and gain control of emotions so they can think and act. Ignoring the threat won’t make it go away, and will only set them up for failure if they’re unlucky enough to get caught in one of these situations.

CONCLUSION

None of us wants to discover that a friend or family member has been involved in one of these attacks, but it would be even worse for us if they were hurt because we failed to tell them what they needed to know to survive.

Take the time today to discuss these awful realities with those you love.  It won’t be a fun conversation, but it may be a lifesaving one.

Be safe out there, and pray for Sergeant Helus, his family, and his fellow officers and co-workers.

 

About the author

Mike Wood is the son of a 30-year California Highway Patrolman and the author of “Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis,” the highly-acclaimed study of the 1970 California Highway Patrol gunfight in Newhall, California. Mike is an Honor Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a graduate of the US Army Airborne School, and a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with over 26 years of service. He’s a National Rifle Association (NRA) Law Enforcement Division-certified firearms instructor, serves as a member of the PoliceOne Editorial Advisory Board, and has written the “Tactical Analysis” column at PoliceOne.com since 2014. Mike is the senior editor at RevolverGuy.com, and has been a featured guest on the Excellence In Training Academy and American Warrior Society podcasts, as well as several radio and television programs. He’s grateful for the opportunity to serve and learn from the men and women of law enforcement.

Article published by Police One Tactical Analysis column November 2019

 

1/7/20

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Texas Highway Patrol trooper hit by truck in multi-vehicle pile up

Texas Trooper almost hit by semi

It was a routine accident scene Friday afternoon, December 27, where first responders worked to clear a crash on a foggy west Texas highway.   In the blink of an eye, that accident scene turned much more gruesome as an 18-wheeler appears, barreling into cars before sliding onto its side and injuring a state trooper.  The crash was caught on camera by a television news photographer from KCBD-TV.  The Texas Dept. of Public Safety trooper is seen running for safety as the trailer crushes the cab of an F-150.  The trooper and an occupant in the pickup were both taken to a hospital.  Both are expected to survive.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.wvlt.tv/content/news/DPS-trooper-struck-by-semi-driver-extracted-from-pickup-in-multi-car-pileup-in-Texas-566522361.html?jwsource=cl

1/6/20

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Dr. Tareyn Morris - Paying it forward!

Dr. Morris facebook post

Dr. Morris who is the daughter of Ret Lt. Sammy Morris, TXDPS and Gwen Morris, has stepped up and said thank you to the American Association of State Troopers Foundation.  As you read a letter from Dr. Morris below you will see her appreciation for our scholarship foundation.  As Dr. Morris works toward achieving her dream, she still had the time to think of the Foundation and give back.  This is truly an example of what being a trooper family is all about!  

We challenge all of our trooper family and friends to step up and support the foundation on behalf of our dependent children seeking higher education.  As of 2019, The foundation has awarded 3,963 scholarships totaling nearly 2.9 million dollars.  It’s through generous support like Dr. Morris’ that we are able to continue this worthwhile program.  

Dr. Morrris Letter

1/3/20

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69-vehicle chain reaction crash in York County, Virginia

VSP 69 car wreck

The Virginia State Police has updated the number of vehicles involved in a crash Sunday morning, December 22, near mile maker 239 on Interstate 64 in York County. Authorities said the 69-vehicle chain reaction crash resulted in 51 people injured – they were taken to area hospitals. Two of those people are being treated for “life-threatening injuries,” said Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police. Authorities said 11 people suffered serious injuries; the rest were minor. The State Police in an earlier report said there were 35 vehicles involved – the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office reported earlier that more than 45 vehicles were involved in the wreck. Authorities said the report came in at around 7:51 a.m. in the area of I-64 eastbound near the Queens Creek Overpass near the Camp Peary exit. Anaya said the cause of the chain reaction crash remains unknown, but noted fog and ice on the Queens Creek bridge were factors in the crash. A widening project is ongoing at the site of the wreck. It’s unclear whether the incident caused damage to the bridge.

12/30/19

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Texas Highway Patrol trooper prays with couple

Texas trooper prays with couple

Texas trooper prays with couple

A photo of a Texas state trooper praying with a man who lost his brother has gone viral.  Lanell McGee James shared the photo on her Facebook page on Tuesday.  She said she and her husband were traveling to Dallas on Sunday when they were pulled over by a state trooper for a non-speeding violation.  The officer, who James identified as Trooper Bates, asked where they were heading.  She told him they were going to Dallas due to the unexpected passing of her husband’s brother.  “He said, ‘Oh I’m sorry to hear that, do you know where he is?'” James told FOX 8.  “My husband answered ‘Yes, at the morgue’ and the officer responded ‘ No. He is now in his heavenly home.'”  Then, the officer reportedly asked for her ID and returned to his vehicle.  James said he came back to their car with a warning and asked if he could pray with them.  “He removed his hat, asked to hold our hands and he prayed with us.  I have never had this happen before but it was everything that we needed in that moment,” she explained.  James says she and her husband were both moved to tears.  In fact, they were so touched by the gesture that she had to capture a photo of it.  “With so much going on nowadays, with police killing people and people killing the police, as well as racial tensions, I felt compelled to share this picture,” James said when she shared the photo with FOX 8.  The couple wants to thank Trooper Bates for praying with them and everyone else for the “abundance of love and positive messages” they have received since sharing the photo.

12/20/19

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Kansas Highway Patrol troopers have fun with kids during snowstorm

 Kansas HP trooper play in snow

The Kansas State Highway Patrol was called out to hundreds of calls Sunday and Monday as a winter storm dumped more than 8 inches of snow in parts of the Sunflower State. But that didn’t stop state troopers from having a little fun.  Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Chad Crittenden shared a video of Trooper Mueller and Trooper Schnieder stopping Monday to sled with children between calls.  Who says Troopers can’t have a little fun?  Trooper Mueller and Schnieder stopped to sled with some kids between calls today.  The post has gone viral with many people commenting about how cool it was to see the troopers engaging with kids and, most importantly, having fun!

To watch video, go to:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1206778816905011200

12/20/19

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Corporal honored as Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year

FHP Trooper of the Year 2019

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet recently passed a resolution recognizing Indian American Corporal Mithil Patel as the 2019 Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year, according to a report by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  The award recognizes a member of the Florida Highway Patrol for their courage, service, and protection, to ensure the safety and welfare of Floridians and visitors.  “I am proud to serve with dedicated troopers like Corporal Mithil Patel, who selflessly and courageously put himself in harm’s way to save an innocent bystander,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, according to the report.  “His actions demonstrate the dedication and professionalism of our FHP troopers, who put their lives on the line every day to protect the residents and visitors of our great state.”  Last year, Corporal Patel was conducting a crash investigation on I-95 and began interviewing an individual when another vehicle spun out of control and came barreling towards them, the report said, adding: “Without hesitation, Patel pushed the civilian out of the way of the incoming vehicle. Due to Corporal Patel’s quick response, the vehicle missed the civilian, but unfortunately hit Patel, propelling him into the air.  Corporal Patel spent nine months recovering from his injuries before returning to full duty.

12/18/19

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Michigan State Police trooper donates part of liver to former training officer

Michigan State Police trooper donates liver

Two Michigan State Police Troopers are healthy and back on the road after one volunteered to be a living donor for the other earlier this year, donating half his liver. Trooper David Burr, 28, of Grand Rapids, donated part of his liver to Trooper Christopher Boven, 37, of North Muskegon, the officer who trained him while both were based at the MSP Post in Rockford.  “It’s kind of the mentality that all of us have, if someone’s in need, we’re going to step up to the plate,” Burr said.  The transplant took place in adjacent operating rooms Feb. 25, 2019 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, with support through Henry Ford Transplant Institute’s Liver Transplant Clinic at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.  Transplants can be done with deceased or living donors.  “The beauty of a living donor is it’s 100 percent and we could do it before Chris got really ill,” said Dilip Moonka, Medical Director of the Henry Ford Liver Transplant Program.  At age 13, Boven was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare liver disease. It’s a chronic, progressive condition in which inflammation causes scars within the bile ducts, gradually leading to serious liver damage.  He gave up contact sports and lived symptom-free until 2017 when a thorn bush scratch turned into a series of skin infections that sent his immune system and PSC into overdrive.  Doctors told him in spring 2018 that a liver transplant was inevitable.  Burr’s gift of life came after dozens of Michigan State Police officers and others volunteered for the screening to donate. Boven said he sent an initial email out to inform his co-workers about his medical condition.  “I got a call probably three weeks later from Henry Ford and they basically said, ‘Look, I don’t know what you’re doing, but you need to stop because we’ve got too many people that are signing up,’” Boven said.  A couple troopers, and Boven’s brother, attempted to donate but weren’t a good enough match. It wasn’t until Burr was tested and found to be a match for his former field training officer (FTO).  “Chris was my first FTO right out of the academy,” Burr said. “We both have similar personalities, so it made it easier to learn. We got along right off the bat.”  Both livers regrew to normal size within three months, medical officials said. They both are back at work and healthy.oth livers regrew to normal size within three months, medical officials said. They both are back at work and healthy.

12/16/19

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23-year-old woman reunites with Indiana State Police trooper who saved her life

Woman reunites with Indiana State trooper who saved her

An Indiana State trooper saved a 23-year-old woman trapped inside a car sinking feet below the surface of a pond.  Wednesday, they saw each other again for the first time since the day of the accident.  “One minute I’m on the road, next minute I’m in water," said Megan Fleetwood. Fleetwood said the crash happened fast on her way home from work on State Route 11.  “My contact started bothering me, so I rubbed my eye -- just a completely fluke thing -- and my contact ended up falling out, and so my eyes couldn’t focus," said Fleetwood.  Her car went into the pond, and, within minutes, water was up to her neck.  “I still can’t swim, and I mean, just going through my head was, 'Well, this is going to be bad.'  I can’t get out; the power windows had already stopped working.  It was just panic," said Fleetwood.  By the time Sgt. Stephen Wheeles got to her car, all he could see was the piece of glass on the back window.  “I could obviously see her through the back window, and obviously very frantic that she needed out of there quickly," said Wheeles.  He dove into the water with a hammer that a witness gave him.  “I was very surprised that one hit the whole thing disappeared.  I went to grab for her and she was already halfway out.  She was coming out on her own," said Wheeles.  Wheeles doesn't consider himself a hero.  The rescue is his duty, but he said it's the others involved who made the difference. “She was in the water a lot longer than I was, so I mean, the mental strength that it took her to survive that and keep her head about her in that cold water -- that says a lot about her," said Wheeles.  In that freezing water, Fleetwood said she recognized Wheeles from church.  Out of a really scary moment, the two share an even stronger bond.  “My mom actually passed away last year, and so it was kind of just like -- I don’t know.  We believe in guardian angels.  I don’t know how other people feel, but it was definitely like someone was watching over," said Fleetwood.  Fleetwood suffered a concussion and Wheeles hurt his hand punching through the windshield -- relatively minor injuries compared to what could have happened.

12/11/19

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Fallen Illinois State Police trooper honored in highway dedication ceremony

Fallen Illinois ST highway dedicated to him

Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert died protecting a group of fellow citizens on a suburban expressway.  That stretch of I-294 near Willow Road in Northbrook is now named in Lambert's honor, after a solemn dedication ceremony Thursday attended by his widow, Halley, two young daughters and dozens of law enforcement peers.  But his former colleagues hope the sign above the roadway reading "Trooper Christopher Lambert Memorial Highway" serves as more than a reminder of the trooper's sacrifice.  "We hope that as (drivers) see the signs honoring troopers who've lost their lives in the line of duty, it's a daily reminder to drive responsibly," state police Sgt. Jacqueline Cepeda said after Thursday's dedication ceremony at the Rosemont Theatre.  State police say Lambert, 34, lost his life because another driver didn't heed that message.  The five-year state police veteran was on his way home to Highland Park after wrapping up a day patrolling the tollway system on a snowy Jan. 12 when he spotted a three-car pileup on northbound I-294.  A Dayton, Ohio-native who served in the U.S. Army before joining the state police in 2015, Lambert pulled over to help and keep those involved in the collisions safe.  He was standing outside his patrol vehicle when an SUV that failed to slow down or move over struck him.  He succumbed to his injuries later that evening.  "Chris left this world the way he lived, putting the well-being of others above his own," the Rev. Harold Stanger said during Thursday's service.  State police Director Brendan Kelly said Lambert won praise during his time with the agency for his leadership and dedication to serving others, traits that extended beyond his law enforcement work.  "Chris lived a purposeful life, a life of service," Kelly said. "But his most important role was as a loving son, husband and father."

12/9/19

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Illinois State Police troopers help deliver heart for transplant

Illinois State Trooper help deliver heart

Time was of the essence for two Illinois state troopers. It was a little after 4 a.m. CST Tuesday on Interstate 55 when a vehicle carrying a fresh human heart got a flat tire. Along with the organ going to the University of Chicago Medical Center's Hyde Park campus from the airport: a surgeon, transplant coordinator and medical student. "There is about a 4- to 6-hour window of time for a heart to remain viable for surgery, and the team had already been traveling for approximately three hours," said hospital spokeswoman Ashley Heher. That's when the troopers showed up, responding to a call for a disabled vehicle, according to an Illinois State Police press release. "The Troopers immediately realized this was a time-sensitive situation and without hesitation they transported the three people and the donor organ to the academic medical center," the release said. The delivery was made in time, and the doctors were able to provide the patient with a new heart. "Our District Chicago Troopers were able to turn a potentially bad situation into a thankful ending for at least one family this Thanksgiving holiday," said Interim Capt. Angelo Mollo. "I am extremely proud of our officers who acted without hesitation in this life saving transport."

12/5/19

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Utah Highway Patrol trooper has a near-death experience for the second time in six months

Utah HP Trooper almost killed 2nd time

A Utah state highway trooper narrowly avoided death last week, for the second time in six months.  Trooper Riley Rugg was helping a driver Monday evening when an oncoming vehicle smashed into his patrol car, sending the police vehicle toward him.  Rugg just avoided the crash -- jumping behind a highway barrier to protect himself.  His car wasn't as lucky, with the bumper hanging off and the back windshield obliterated.  Rugg experienced a similar incident on July 4, he told CNN affiliate KTVX.  While he attended to a highway accident, a speeding Ford F-350 rolled over the top of his squad car, he told KTVX.  Rugg had just walked away and escaped the incident without a scratch.  "Just a mile an hour or two difference in speed could have made the situation a lot different, better or worse, so I'm just grateful how it happened that we weren't injured," he said.  Still, Rugg told KTVX he saw "a little bit, maybe, of my life flashing before my eyes" after the run-in this week.

12/5/19

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Sheriff Deputy becomes an Alabama State trooper in memory of daughter

Alabama new trooper graduates in honor of daughter

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency welcomed its largest class of new state troopers in the past 20 years last week. Jere Jensen has worked in law enforcement for years both as a sheriff's deputy and as a part of the National Guard, but the events of one night made him change career paths. "Working for the sheriff's department, you never knew what was going to happen,” said Jensen. “We had so many responsibilities. We would answer calls for assistance. I was the guy that would get the wild animal calls." Jere Jensen had plenty of bizarre stories from his time as a Geneva County Sheriff's Deputy. He also had a number of scary experiences during his 26 years of military service, but the scariest night of his life was just a few months ago. "February of this year I lost my daughter,” said Jensen. “She was killed in a traffic crash on I-65. That experience changed my focus." Jensen's daughter Lindsey was just 22-years-old and left behind a young daughter. He was so impressed by how the state troopers handled the situation; he joined the ranks and dedicated his career to her memory. "I realized that if I got the chance to do this, I could directly impact safety and prevent, directly, the loss of lives of innocent young people like my daughter," said Jensen. After hearing about Jere's inspiration, the other 54 members of his graduating class dedicated their careers to Lindsey as well. "I think she would completely understand why this is my calling now, and I think she would be proud and honored that I have become an Alabama State Trooper,” said Jensen. Jere just started his trooper career on Saturday. He will be in field training for a few weeks, then will be on his own patrolling the western parts of the Wiregrass.

To watch video, go to:  https://www.wtvy.com/wrgx/content/news/Geneva-sheriffs-deputy-becomes-state-trooper-in-memory-of-daughter-565507022.html?jwsource=cl

12/2/19

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Indiana State Police trooper saves woman trapped in water submerged car

Indiana SP Trooper safe women from submerged car

An Indiana State Police trooper used a hammer to bust out a window, saving a woman that was trapped in a submerged vehicle.  On Friday afternoon, ISP Sergeant Stephen Wheeles was sent to a crash where a woman was trapped inside of a vehicle that was in water.  He arrived near State Road 11 and County Road 800 East in Jackson County to find the sinking car.  The driver, 23-year-old Megan Fleetwood of Jeffersonville, was trapped.  Wheeles was handed a hammer from another person on the scene.  He used it to bash out the back window and pull Fleetwood to safety.  She was taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.  Wheeles went to the hospital with hand and arm injuries.

11/26/19

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