Former Maine State Trooper Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
Inside his modest room at the Gardiner Healthcare Facility in Houlton recently, James Brown Sr.’s aged fingers traced a laminated map of the world. The 94-year-old talked vividly of the countries he had visited as he did so, running his fingers along the curved coast of Okinawa, next to the blue waters that engulfed Pearl Harbor and around the circular Attu Island. But it was his career in law enforcement he spoke of most, albeit modestly. Officials at the Houlton health care facility said recently that it was that lengthy police and naval career, his continuing ties to it, his strong bond with his family and his shining personality that led the facility to nominate him for a lifetime achievement award through the Maine Health Care Association’s Remember ME Project. According to its website, the Remember ME project is one of theMaine Health Care Association‘s most popular programs. It features black-and-white photographs accompanied by brief biographies of pioneering, innovative and interesting residents living in Maine’s long-term care facilities. Brown was one of only 34 winners statewide, with only two coming from Aroostook County. Brown, who has been married to his wife, Anna, for 68 years and has two sons, James Brown Jr. and Kevin Brown, said last week he was surprised and honored to receive the award. Brown Sr. served nearly four years in the Navy as a fire control man during World War II. Following that, he joined the Maine State Police and served with Troop E in Orono for seven years before being transferred to Thomaston as a sergeant for Troop D in 1957. After reassignment in 1958, he served 17 years as a member of Troop F in Houlton before retiring as a lieutenant in 1975. Brown next worked as chief of the Houlton Police Department for another seven years. “I have a lot of good memories of my years in law enforcement,” Brown said. “Those were the times when I met the best people in my life. I had a lot of good people serve with me, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them today. Every trooper that worked for me has been in to see me at some point.” Brown remains so revered by fellow troopers that when he was hospitalized in a rehabilitation facility in Bangor, his son James Brown Jr. said, he was visited by a number of members of Troop E in Orono. “That meant a lot to him,” Brown Jr. said. The elder Brown also is visited weekly by current and former members of Troop F in Houlton. “Those officers have offered to do anything for us that we need, which is a testimony to the caliber of people that they are,” Brown Jr. said. Anna Brown, who is not in a health care facility like her husband but visits him frequently, said he has always been humble and has never bragged about his accomplishments. That was the case last week, when he was asked to talk about the most memorable case he ever worked on. Without elaborating, he simply responded, “I worked on all of my cases with someone else.”
Minnesota State Trooper Sets Eagle Free
State trooper Paul Kingery set an eagle free Friday near Hastings, nearly six weeks after he rescued the injured bird from along a Twin Cities interstate. No longer sore, Trooper the eagle soars again. Nearly six weeks after being spared a lonely death along a busy Twin Cities interstate from a collision with a car, the bald eagle flies free again thanks to state trooper Paul Kingery. Kingery not only rescued the bald eagle from its prone position on the side of Interstate 494 in Eagan and brought it in his squad car to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center in St. Paul for treatment, the trooper was given the honor Friday of setting this nation’s symbol into the wild blue yonder near Hastings, now that its time on the mend has came to an end. “Go! I just wanted it to go,” said Kingery, who donned protective gloves, sleeves and glasses before taking hold of Trooper at the St. Croix River near the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. Kingery was instructed by a caregiver to hold the eagle with his stronger right hand firmly gripping its legs -- one leg sporting an identity band -- and his left arm under the bird’s body. The eagle was docile throughout the prelaunch proceedings, even as anxious youngsters visiting the nature center hung close by. To the count of “1, 2, 3,” Kingbury hoisted the 8 1/2-pound eagle into the wind to help with the bird gaining loft. The children whooped amid loud applause as the eagle made a few laps overhead. “Bye, bye, birdie,” one of the kids yelled. Kingery was just as cautious in his first encounter with the eagle, which occurred on March 20 along eastbound I-494 near Pilot Knob Road. He used his coat as protection from the full-grown bird’s beak and claws while picking up the eagle and placing it in his squad car. Then off they went to the Raptor Center, where a one-year record 168 eagles were admitted for medical attention last year. Staff members there reported the eagle had internal injuries but no broken bones. And Trooper on Friday confirmed that initial diagnosis, with his fully outstretched wings upon takeoff.
Nebraska State Trooper Pulls Over a Wooden Car
Have you ever heard of a drivable, wooden car? Neither have we, nor had the Nebraska State trooper who pulled over a cedar covered 1985 Pontiac. Nebraska State Patrol shared the find on their Facebook page on Thursday. They said the handmade cedar car is perfectly legal to drive. The trooper stopped the driver for a license plate violation on Highway 281 near the South Dakota border. NSP said the driver handmade the wooden exterior out of cedar. And they say craftsmanship is a thing of the past … Now, THAT made us smile!
Minnesota State Trooper Writes a Card to a Family who lost their son
Lyle and Kerrie Pohlen lost their 16-year-old son, Johnathon Pohlen, in a car crash in 2013. "To this day, we have good days and bad," Kerrie Pohlen said. "We struggle to get by sometimes." The Pohlens say the loss of their son is like a void that can't be filled. Recently, they got an unexpected reminder in the mail that showed them someone remembers Johnathon. "The card was from Officer Tom Erickson letting us know that he stopped on Interstate 94 to help a vehicle that had a damaged tire and in that process saw Johnathon Pohlen's Adopt-a-Highway sign," Kerrie Pohlen said. She says Erickson was the one who broke the news to them back in 2013 about their son's death. "Officer Erickson came to our home and had to deliver news that no parent would ever want to hear," she said. Erickson says he's driven by the sign many times and never paid any attention to who's name was on it. When he realized who it was, the memory came rushing back. "To add to the difficulty for me, it was the first death notification that I ever had to make to a parent as a parent," he said. "It was shortly after my first son was born." Erickson says he sent the card the day before the anniversary of Johnathon's death. "I thought I should reach out to the family and just let them know that I was thinking about them that day," he said. He wrote, in part, "I wanted to tell you what a great idea and thoughtful tribute it is to Johnathon to adopt the stretch of freeway where he tragically lost his life." It took Lyle Pohlen an hour to read the card. "I would read, like, a sentence and start to cry, and I kept reading it," he said. "It's hard for me to read, but it makes me feel good." The Pohlens say the pain of losing Johnathon is still fresh, but knowing Erickson cared enough to contact them three years later helps. The Pohlens plan on having the highway name adoption take place May 7.
Virginia State Police Trooper Recognized for her Valor
A Virginia State Police trooper has been recognized for her efforts in pursuing the man who murdered two of our co-workers. Trooper Neff was honored with the Mid-Atlantic Association of Women in Law Enforcement Valor Award. The award recognizes “a law enforcement professional who distinguished herself by an act of extraordinary selflessness, personal bravery, courage or self-sacrifice.” Neff was honored for her courageous actions on August 26 pursuing the man who killed WDBJ7’s Adam Ward and Alison Parker. As Neff was pursuing the shooter following a several-hour search, he shot and killed himself.
A Special Bond Through The Mississippi Highway Patrol
A Mississippi father and his toddler son share a special bond through the Mississippi Highway Patrol. “I got my state trooper car! You got your state trooper car?” The Dedeaux family lives in Gulfport, but Adam is currently stationed with Troop E in Batesville, five hours away from his family. “We travel pretty frequently up there, and Adam, every chance he gets he comes home. So we try to still kind of keep them visiting,” said Kristen Dedeaux. Adam handmade his two-year-old son, Kannon, his very own trooper outfit with a hat, and even designed his car. “He hand sewed everything for Kannon’s uniform. He bought the little police car and it was black and white but he wanted to make it look like his car,” said Dedeaux. Adam has always had a love for the Mississippi Highway Patrol and has dreamed of being a state trooper. “I really do feel like it is a huge possibility that Kannon might fall in those steps because ever since he could talk, which he’s fixing to be three next month, ever since he’s been able to talk it’s everything’s highway patrol,” said Dedeaux. Little Kannon has always shown an interest in what his dad does. Law enforcement is beginning to look like a generational interest. Adam is a third generation cop, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. “It really hit home with him when he got his trooper hat, though. I think that’s when it really opened up his eyes and he felt like a real state trooper,” said Dedeaux. In the Dedeaux family, the saying rings true: Like father, like son. Officer Dedeaux recently completed his first year with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and 14 years in law enforcement.
Distracted Driving: Liz Marks' Story
California Highway Patrol Officer Rescued Five Goslings
A determined gaggle of baby geese separated from their mother by Highway 101 near River Road were rescued, reunited and relocated by a CHP officer, alerted by concerned drivers, the CHP said Monday. A few drivers called for help Saturday at about 6:40 p.m. to report the tiny birds on the edge of Highway 101 at River Road, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said Monday. Officer Josh Phillips, on patrol in the area, took the call. He found the mother goose had made it safely across but five goslings were stuck on the other side looked like they intended to walk into traffic to get to her. Phillips collected the tiny goslings in a bag and reunited them with their mother by the new Sutter Hospital, Sloat said. “They were determined to cross the road- just like the chicken that set a bad example,” Sloat said.
Rhode Island State Trooper Runs the Boston Marathon Again
A Rhode Island State Trooper who sprang into action during the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 is once again running in the race. Trooper Roupen Bastajian had just finished the race and was standing about 200 yards down the road when the first bomb went off. Despite being off-duty and out of uniform, he immediately ran towards the scene and started assisting first responders with tying tourniquets and getting the injured into wheelchairs. He is running again on Monday, just as he has every year since then. But he acknowledged that returning to Boston stirs up many feelings for everyone involved. “Obviously it was a horrific day and it’s a bad memory for everybody,” he told Eyewitness News. “All those families who lost loved ones, it’s like they have to live with that for the rest of their lives. So that’s just not something that goes away.” Sometimes the emotions return as he nears the finish line, he admitted, but along with them comes a sense of gratitude and resolve. “I feel it as I get onto Boylston Street and it just kind of…reality kicks in for a little bit, but you take it in and you’re grateful that the community and all the runners are out there and doing what they’re supposed to do,” he said, “supporting and not letting anything hinder the freedoms that we have in our country.” Along with several other Troopers who are running, Bastajian has helped raise more than $11,000 for the charity Cops for Kids With Cancer, which donates money every year to a deserving family.
Indiana State Trooper Honored for a Life Saving act
The Indiana State trooper who pulled a man from a car that sank in a Steuben County lake last July, saving his life, was honored by the police force Friday. Trooper Chris Kinsey received the state’s third-highest award, the Bronze Star Award, at the Indiana State Police Awards Ceremony in Indianapolis. The Bronze Star Award is reserved for those who perform at a “level clearly beyond exceptions” with a focus on personal “bravery and self-sacrifice.” Joshua Dilley is alive today as a direct result of that. On July 23, then-22-year-old Dilleywas heading southbound on Golden Lake Road near County Road 325 West in Steuben County when, for an unknown reason, he drove off the road and crashed into Big Bower Lake. Kinsey was on duty minutes away from lake when the call came in that a man was trapped in his car in the water. At the scene, Kinsey pulled off his vest and utility belt and grabbed a tool used to bust windows, then jumped in the water. The trooper said a witness was already by the car, about 20 feet off the shore and completely submerged. Kinsey said the witness saw the man as the car started to go under the water. Under water, Kinsey said the car’s doors wouldn’t open, but he was able to use the tool on the back window. “With several good hits I finally broke through,” he said. After feeling around the murky waters, Kinsey and Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Noll were eventually able to recover Dilley and pull him from the car – and to safety. Beyond expectations. Bravery. Self-sacrifice. “It’s very humbling,” said Kinsey. “I did not expect to receive this. I was just out trying to do the right thing.” Kinsey was one of seven state police troopers from the Fort Wayne area who received awards at Friday’s ceremony. Fifty-five officers and individuals received awards in all.
Champion Gymnast works as a Colorado State Trooper
When Charlie Jones was 18 months old, he came up missing in the house. His parents looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him. Finally, they heard Charlie laughing and followed his voice to the kitchen, where they found him on top of the refrigerator with his hand in the cookie jar. The next day, they put Charlie into a gymnastics program. He was a natural climber, taking after his mother, who also was a gymnast. “That was a big part of my childhood,” Jones said. “My parents were right there behind me the whole way.” Jones went on to become one of the top-ranked young gymnasts in the U.S. He earned 30 national-level medals, including 11 golds. He’s a four-time All-American, and he nearly went to the 2004 Summer Olympics on the U.S. National Gymnastics Team. Jones, an Aurora native, now works as a Colorado state trooper and lives near Mancos with his wife, Chelsea, and kids Ariella, 3, and Titus, 1. A new high and lowAt age 17, Jones was ranked as one of the top 15 U.S. gymnasts. He was invited to live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. His roommate was Olympic gymnast Steve McCain. Speed-skater Apolo Anton Ohno lived in the room above him. “It was a fun time in life,” he said. “I had opportunities that no one else gets.” Jones trained three times a day, six days a week, going home on Sundays. He was surrounded by some of the best athletes in the country. But he said he soon learned that even world-class athletes deal with ordinary struggles and insecurities. “I realized that you can’t find your identity in being an 11-time national champion,” he said. “My identity can’t be in that, because one day it will all go away.” It went away sooner than he’d expected. Three months before an important Winter Cup competition in 2003, Jones dismounted during practice, and his right shoulder separated. Doctors told him he needed surgery, but could still compete at the Winter Cup without further damaging his shoulder. Jones’ vault was crucial to the team score, so he went through with the competition. Several days later, he had shoulder surgery. “When I came out, the doctors said ‘We’re sorry, you’re done,’” Jones said. After his initial injury, an MRI had missed a razor-thin bone chip the size of a pea, Jones said. The chip had been carving away at the cartilage in his shoulder, and by the time it was discovered, he had almost no cartilage left. He had been training for the 2004 Olympics, and hoped to be at the top of his class for the 2008 Olympics. The hope was gone. “It was a shock,” Jones said. “I was supposed to be getting into my prime, but that went away.” The loss of an identityAs Jones’ life changed instantly, he thought of his friend Ricky Deci, a 13-year-old gymnast at the Olympic Training Center. He recalled Ricky’s infectious smile and happiness. “He was always having fun,” Jones said. “He couldn’t be brought down in his attitude.” When older kids picked on him, he’d laugh it off. No matter what came his way, Ricky was happy, confident and full of joy, Jones said. One day, at the end of a workout, the team was competing on the pommel horse. Ricky was up last, and to win, he had to nail the dismount. But when Ricky came off the pommels, he landed awkwardly and fell over. A trainer went to Ricky and discovered that he wasn’t breathing. Jones ran across the gym to find more people to help, and when he got back, the trainer was performing CPR. The 13-year-old soon was being hauled off in an ambulance. Two hours later, trainers announced that Ricky had died of a heart arrhythmia. Doctors said there was no way to predict or prevent the attack – Ricky was otherwise in perfect health. As Jones struggled with his injury and loss of career, he remembered how Ricky never let things get him down. “Nothing you threw his way could shake him,” Jones said of his friend. “He lived that way until the end.” Jones turned to his faith. “Those are the moments that make you think what life’s about,” Jones said. “It’s not about being the Olympic gold medalist. It’s not about being a super trooper or being the best at your job. It’s about the relationships you have with your family, your friends and God. ... It was easy for me to transition into the next phase of life.” A bridge to a new placeAfter retiring from gymnastics, Jones’ journey took him to South America, where he did missionary and humanitarian work for the next few years with Open Doors and 2nd Glance Ministries, a group started by his father Clay Jones. In Colombia, Jones helped liberate orphans from the oppressive FARC guerilla group. In 2011, he worked with Peruvian government officials and civic leaders to fight sex trafficking. After returning to the U.S., he coached gymnastics for about six years. During that time, he began ministering to former military personnel and law enforcement officers. One of those men was a former Navy SEAL. He taught Jones how to use a weapon, and Jones became a proficient shooter. Jones soon found himself expecting a daughter and wanting a stable profession. He applied to the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy in January 2013. Six months later, patrol assignments were available in Lamar, Colorado and Montezuma County. Jones and his wife had always wanted to see Mesa Verde, so they chose Southwest Colorado. ‘You’re coming out of it’Since summer 2013, Jones and his family have lived on a hill outside Mancos with a spectacular view of the La Plata Mountains. As a patrolman, he deals with people who are having the worst day of their lives, Jones said. He meets them in those moments and tells them it will be OK – people are there to help. “I like being a cop because I meet people on that worst day, and I help them through that process,” he said. It’s sometimes stressful, but because he’s grounded in his faith, Jones said he gets through it. He learned how to do that at the Olympic Training Center and with Ricky Deci. “Whether my job goes away tomorrow or I have a career-ending injury – I don’t want to invite those things, and I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt – you’re grounded and you can get through those trials,” Jones said. “You don’t always get out unscathed, but you know you’re coming out of it. That’s what being a gymnast taught me.”
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Virginia State Trooper Rescued Two Dogs
A Virginia State Police trooper made a rescue over the weekend when she found two dogs in Appomattox County. It was shared on the Virginia State Police Facebook page. The post reads: “VSP has gone to the dogs…as we have another K9 rescue to share! Over the weekend, Trooper R.S. Mann was on patrol when she saw two dogs alongside Route 460 in Appomattox County. She immediately stopped and found one canine was injured and the other – the one she’s holding – was not injured. The two dogs were together because the uninjured pup refused to leave the injured dog’s side. Trooper Mann found medical help for the injured K9 and a shelter for the uninjured dog.” The post has been seen by thousands of people since it was posted Sunday night.
Arkansas State Troopers Make a 10 year old Boy's Birthday Memorable
A group of Arkansas State Troopers helped make a 10-year-old’s birthday party a celebration that he’ll never forget. When Toxey invited all 21 of his classmates to his birthday party on April 2, not a single person bothered to show up. “Just heartbroken and helpless. It’s the last thing you want to feel for your kid is that no one cared enough to come,” Toxey’s mother Angela Andrews told local reporters. Two days later, five state troopers and Rhino the police K-9 showed up to the Andrews residence to kick off the public relations photoshoot of a lifetime. “Not only did they bring him a birthday cookie cake, but they also brought him all kinds of presents, let him play with Rhino, the K-9, and play with the sirens in their cars,” Angela Andrews wrote on Facebook. “They ate his cake with him and played basketball with him, All out of the goodness of their hearts. They made my sweet baby's day, and his year,” she continued. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never be able to repay the kindness you showed my family today!" Toxey told THV11that he "cried a little bit," and that he now wants to become a state trooper when he grows up. So let's hope, for the sake of all the minorities in the area, that Toxey's classmates start treating him better so he'll end up becoming one of the good guys.
Man who Held California Highway Patrol Officer's Hand after Hit and Run Speaks out
It shouldn't take an officer down for communities to realize cops are only human. But when a hit-and-run driver reportedly reversed on Interstate 80 Thursday, running over a motorcycle officer other drivers risked their own lives to stay by his side. "All I could think of was that, to hold his hand and talk to him ... so somehow he would know people cared," Mike Vavak told FOX40. And that is all the injured officer's family could hope for. Vavak said he was knelt down in the fast lane, next to a woman who prayed over that officer's body. He says he was taking slow, labored breaths, but couldn't squeeze his hand. "The amount of emotion that was going for this officer that was down was really touching. Everyone was really shaken up by it,” Vavak said. But those he says he saw taking it the hardest, were the other men and women in uniform who arrived later. Those like CHP officer Jenna Berry who told FOX40 the officer likely stopped to help the driver of that truck who was stopped near the center divider. “We stop to check it the vehicle is out of gas or if something is not wrong, as when he pulled up that vehicle intentionally ran him over,” Berry said. Witnesses told CHP the driver backed into the officer on purpose, then yelled at him before fleeing. That driver left the scene on I-80 near Elkhorn Boulevard, stole a commercial pickup truck near Northgate Boulevard, and led police on a chase to Fairfield where he was eventually arrested. "We investigate the best we can, and pray for a full recovery,” Berry said. CHP has confirmed that the officer is in stable condition. The suspect's identity, however, has not been released. What we do know, that the compassion in Sacramento today overshadowed the cowardice of this act. "How heartless can you be to just do that to someone?” Vavak asked.