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Nebraska graduates 19 troopers

NSP Graduation August 2017

Gov. Pete Ricketts welcomed the latest class of Nebraska State Patrol troopers Friday with an admonition to remember that they represent Nebraska.  “By putting on that uniform and serving our citizens, you are a symbol of our state,” he said.  “It’s up to you now to represent our state to the highest levels of service and integrity.”  Ricketts joined Attorney General Doug Peterson in speaking to the 15 men and three women graduating from the patrol’s training academy.  The 18 graduates were members of the academy’s 58th basic recruit class.  They took the oath of office and received their badges and law enforcement certificates in a ceremony at the State Capitol.  It was the first such ceremony since the patrol came under fire this summer for falsifying internal investigations and ignoring reports of sexual harassment.  In July, Ricketts fired then-Col. Brad Rice from the patrol’s top job for possibly interfering with internal investigations and violating agency policy.  The Governor’s Office followed up this month with a report that substantiated the allegations of interference and concluded that patrol administrators had ignored complaints from a female trooper about a highly questionable medical exam she underwent as a recruit.  At Friday’s graduation ceremony, Ricketts made reference to the problems that have surfaced in the patrol.  “We know the State Patrol has had some challenges,” the governor told the new troopers.  But he expressed confidence that the patrol will overcome its challenges and be a better agency in the future.  “I know that because I know the quality of the men and women” in the patrol, Ricketts said.  Peterson, while not directly referencing the patrol’s problems, warned recruits that one of their biggest challenges will be learning how to deal with adrenaline.  That hormone is released in times of stress and danger.  He said he has seen the effects of adrenaline in videos of encounters between law enforcement and citizens.  “I have seen great officers lose their judgment because adrenaline overtook that judgment,” Peterson said.  He also told the group that being a State Patrol trooper requires courage, wisdom and great integrity.  He advised them never to compromise on integrity.

8/21/17

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FCA US extends officer protection package to 2018 Dodge Charger Pursuit

8/18/17

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State Police increase patrols to target distracted drivers on Mackinac Bridge

MSP Mackinac Bridge

Michigan State Police have started to increase enforcement on the Mackinac Bridge due to distracted drivers taking photos and videos while crossing the bridge.  Troopers from the St. Ignace State Police Post have recently increased specific patrols of the Mackinac Bridge to target distracted and careless drivers.  State Police say there has been a steady increase of videos found on internet sites showing drivers taking photos, filming video and doing many other activities other than focusing on controlling their vehicles.  A recent focused enforcement detail resulted in several drivers contacted and educated on the dangers of distracted and careless driving.  Troopers say these poor driving habitats are particularly dangerous on the bridge during construction season. Troopers will continue with focused enforcement of distracted and careless driving on the Mackinac Bridge and will take appropriate enforcement action to discourage these behaviors.  Troopers would like to remind the public that the law prohibits drivers from operating their vehicles in a careless or negligent manner likely to endanger any person or property.  This would include a driver taking photographs or video while traversing the bridge.  Additionally, Michigan law prohibits a driver from reading, manually typing, or sending a text message while driving.

 8/18/17

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Lip-Syncing State Troopers patrolling State Fair 'Are Back' with a new hit song

 

The lip-syncing Indiana State Troopers have returned to the internet with a new viral hit.  Video of the four cops rocking out to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” from their golf cart while patrolling the Indiana State Fair emerged this week, a long-awaited reprise of last year's viral performance.  Of course, their fans were already expecting a Part 2 after the team lip-synced to the Grease hit “Summer Nights” during the same state fair last year.  “We weren’t going to do any videos this year, but everybody seemed to want us to do it so we decided to throw one together,” Trooper Jonathon Amburgey told InsideEdition.com.  He said it didn’t take long for his group, consisting of troopers Brent Lemberg, Dustin Rutledge and Jon Cole, to pick a song.  “We felt like it fit perfectly since we’re all from different parts of the state,” Amburgey said.  Although it took a while to for the four of them to get it perfectly, Amburgey explained it wasn’t much different than their daily routine.  “We listen to Pandora and drive around and patrol,” he said. “Every day, it’s a different genre.”

8/17/17

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Texas Department of Public Safety seized more than 300 pounds of marijuana

DPS Seized Marijuana

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) seized more than 300 pounds of marijuana on Sunday in Starr County.  Responding to a request for assistance by U.S. Border Patrol at approximately 9:50 p.m. regarding possible drug trafficking activity, Texas Rangers and a DPS Criminal Investigations Division Agent responded to the area of Blanca Road in Rio Grande City.  The driver of the 1994 Jeep Laredo abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, but was apprehended by DPS.  A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed 30 bundles of Marijuana, totaling 343 pounds, worth an estimated over $2 million, in the rear cargo area.

8/16/17

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2017 Best Looking Cruiser Contest Results

2017 Calendar Collage

Congratulations! to the Georgia State Patrol for being voted the 2017 America’s Best Looking Cruiser.

This is the second year back to back that the Georgia State Patrol has received the honors and will be the

cruiser featured on the cover of the “2018 America’s Best Looking Cruiser Calendar”.

The contest received almost 300,000 “likes” and reached 2.2 million people.  Thank you to everyone who participated to make this year’s contest a success.

The 2017 top 13 finalists are listed below.

1st           Georgia State Patrol

2nd         West Virginia State Police

3rd          Minnesota State Patrol

4th           Tennessee Highway Patrol

5th           North Carolina State Highway Patrol

6th           Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

7th           Kentucky State Police

8th           Oregon State Police

9th           Delaware State Police

10th         Massachusetts State Police

11th         Ohio State Highway Patrol

12th         Michigan State Police

13th         Pennsylvania State Police

The 2018 Calendars will be available to purchase at www.statetroopers.org beginning October 1, 2017.

Watch for the announcement on the AAST Facebook page.

Net proceeds of the calendar sales will benefit the American Association of State Troopers Foundation that provides educational scholarship to dependents of member troopers.

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Virginia State Police mourns the loss of two officers

VSP Bates killed in line of duty collage

VSP Cullen ODMP

 

Trooper Pilot Berke Bates and Lieutenant Pilot Jay Cullen were killed when their Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area in a residential neighborhood on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County, Virginia, at approximately 6:30 pm.  They were in the area to monitor civil unrest that was occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a large protest.  The helicopter had just taken off to monitor the Virginia governor's motorcade after he arrived in the area to assess the situation.  The helicopter experienced some sort of issue before crashing into the trees and becoming engulfed in flames.  Trooper Bates and Lieutenant Cullen were killed in the crash.

Trooper Bates had served with the Virginia State Police for 13 years and was assigned to the Aviation Unit.  He had previously served with the Florida Highway Patrol for six years.  He is survived by his wife and his twin son and daughter. He was killed the day before his 41st birthday.

Lieutenant Cullen had served with the Virginia State Police for 23 years and was assigned as the commander of the Aviation Unit. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

 

8/14/17

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Forty-one Cadets graduate from Kentucky State Police Academy

VSP August 2017 graduation

The Kentucky State Police Academy presented diplomas to 41 new troopers at ceremonies held in Frankfort Friday.  Their addition to the force brings the agency’s strength to a total of 866 troopers serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.  KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the addition of these newly-graduated troopers will help with the current strength, but does not come close to resolving the agency’s shortage of personnel.  “Like other police agencies, we have been challenged with maintaining our strength of active officers in light of retirements and attrition,” Sanders said.  “In 2000, the agency manpower was more than 1,000.  Yet, we are doing more today with fewer personnel and resources than we had back then.  To add to this dilemma, we are servicing a higher population while seeing new crime that we didn’t have in the past such as human trafficking, electronic sexual exploitation of children and the potential threat of terrorism.”  Sanders went on to say that “the role of law enforcement has developed exponentially to meet the needs of an ever-changing society, and KSP is a significantly more specialized agency compared to the past. With more troopers working in specialized capacities that means fewer troopers available to respond to calls for service.”  The new troopers are part of the agency’s 95th cadet class, which was the agency’s fourth Law Enforcement Accelerated Program (LEAP), a condensed course for current officers who have two years of Kentucky Police Officer Professional Standards (POPS) law enforcement experience.  They reported for duty on May 21, 2016 in a class that consisted of 63 cadets.  Twenty-two resigned during the program.  The training included more than 500 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigations, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, land navigation, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials.

8/14/17

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North Dakota Highway Patrol makes 183-pound marijuana bust

NDHP Marijuana Bust

The North Dakota Highway Patrol arrested a California man Monday after finding 183 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop.  The man was headed eastbound on I-94 between Mandan and Bismarck.  He was pulled over for minor traffic violations in a construction zone.  The trooper detected a strong marijuana smell and the driver, 71-year-old Harold Miller, admitted to having marijuana in the vehicle.  Miller was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the street value of the marijuana is $700,000 and is one of their largest drug busts.

8/11/17

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Channing Tatum visits Kentucky State troopers

KSP Channing Tatum

Before coming to Knoxville for a benefit, actor Channing Tatum made a stop in Harlan, Kentucky.  Tatum visited Kentucky State Troopers to learn about the “Shop with a Trooper” project and other initiatives.  The star will be in Knoxville Wednesday for the screening of his upcoming movie “Logan Lucky” at the Regal Cinemas Pinnacle 18.  The screening will benefit Variety – The Children’s Charity of Eastern Tennessee.

8/10/17

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South Carolina Highway Patrol, emergency officials prep for 2 million visitors for the eclipse

SCHP solar eclipse

Planning a road trip for this month’s big eclipse?  Be prepared for traffic, and for a heavy law enforcement presence.  “Any of those major thoroughfares or major routes, we will be monitoring them on a 24/7 basis the weekend before and day of the eclipse,” said Lance Cpl. Matt Southern.  The exact number of state troopers stationed between Beaufort County and Charleston along I-95 or U.S. 17 could not be provided, but additional manpower from South Carolina Highway Patrol headquarters and State Transport Police is being added across the Palmetto State.  The State recently reported that 160 extra state troopers will be stationed along the I-26 corridor between Columbia and Charleston during the eclipse. While the major roads leading into the path of the eclipse from Beaufort County will certainly have significant monitoring from the Highway Patrol, there is a reason more northern cities and roads are receiving special attention.  “The path of the eclipse goes from Greenville into Columbia and then down into Charleston, so that is why there is such a major focus there,” said Southern.  Planning for the eclipse began last year for the Highway Patrol, which has partnered with the state’s Emergency Management Division and Department of Transportation to prepare for the eclipse, and Southern feels confident that together they are ready to handle the additional traffic burden it will bring on.  “This is not a natural disaster,” said Southern.  “We plan all the time for natural disasters, hurricanes and things where there’s a lot of traffic.  We know the exact timetable on the eclipse, so we’re able to put our resources in place ahead of it and be ready on an exact timetable.”  Anywhere between a half million and 2 million people are expected to travel to South Carolina for the eclipse, which will have a major impact on roads throughout the state.  The South Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to suspend lane closures the weekend of the eclipse, and the Emergency Management Division has formulated a readiness plan.  “Be prepared for a lot of people,” said Derrec Becker, public information officer with SCEMD.  “Go ahead and make sure your car is filled up with gas.  Go ahead and buy groceries.  Give yourself extra time to get where you need to go, and prepare for long lines.”  Rob Perry, state traffic management engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation predicts traffic on par with the 4th of July weekend, perhaps worse.  Traffic issues will be exacerbated by the fact that unlike other high traffic events which are localized to certain cities or tourist destinations, this month’s eclipse will traverse the entire state.  It should be a magical experience, but Southern stressed the importance of readiness.  “The one thing we’re asking the public is to be prepared,” said Southern.  “If you have no desire to participate in the eclipse, the best thing you can do is stay off the roads. That will really help us.  If you have to get out in traffic give yourself ample time to get from Point A to Point B and expect traffic not just on the day of the eclipse but the days leading up to it.”

To watch video, go to http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article165207942.html.

8/9/17

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Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 48 new highway patrol troopers

Texas DPS graduation August 5 2017

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw was joined by Texas State Representative Mark Keough as the department commissioned 48 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers.  This 11-week advanced recruit school was specifically designed for current and eligible law enforcement officers to train to become troopers.  This school provided officers an accelerated path to becoming a Trooper, versus the standard course that spans more than 20 weeks.  The C-2017 class includes four women and six military veterans, and the graduates represented 39 different law enforcement agencies.   The troopers began the 11-week training academy in May.  Instruction included counter terrorism, traffic, and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish.  They also received training in the use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness.  The new troopers will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training.

8/9/17

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Grant money will put more state troopers on the road

Alabama state police receive grants

Alabamians can expect to see additional troopers on the roadways thanks to Gov. Kay Ivey.  Ivey has awarded grants totaling $3.5 million to support law enforcement efforts.  According to the Alabama Department of Law Enforcement Cpl. Tracy Nelson, the agency will utilize the funds by having every available trooper on Alabama roadways. “The funds will allow us to have extra funding available for overtime,” Nelson said.  “With funding available for overtime we can increase patrol and safety-checkpoint locations across the state.”  Ivey has indicated the purpose of the grant money is to make Alabama roads safer by preventing injuries and fatalities.  “At this point our fatality rate has increased by 10 from this time last year,” said Trooper Kevin Cook.  “We all have concern in this number.  Going at this rate 2017 will be more deadly than 2016 and records show 2016 was one of the deadliest years in Alabama’s history.”  Gov. Ivey said in a written release that drivers who get behind the wheel while impaired, or disobey traffic laws, present a danger to every motorist on the road.  “The only way we can change a driver’s behavior is to be visible,” Cook said.  “The more troopers we have on the roadways the more we can target speeding, driving while under the influence and seat belt violations.  Visibility, visibility is the only way we can make our roadways safer.”  A portion of the funds received will also go toward the “Click It or Ticket” program and the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” program.  “The time frame for the ‘Click It or Ticket’ program will wrap up soon,” Cook said.  “Once that program wraps up for 2017, we will start the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ program.  This program is scheduled to run through September 3.  This program not only targets driving while under the influence on the roadways, but also on Alabama’s waterways.”

8/8/17

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Arkansas State Troopers surprise 14-year-old with act of kindness

ASP buy bike

A small act of kindness made a big difference for one young boy.  Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Investigator Kristi Kirkwood got a visit from 14-year-old Christopher Wooten. Wooten told her he wanted to be an Arkansas State Trooper and had come to the office to start on the path to his career.  Kirkwood, who isn't an Arkansas State Trooper, said she would pass Wooten's message on to some troopers for him.  However, she ended up passing on a very different message.   When Wooten left, Kirkwood noticed his bike was in very bad shape.  It didn't have a seat and the wheels were beaten up.  Kirkwood reached out to Troop G in Hope to see what she could do for Wooten.  Troop G's Cpl. Bernard Pettit then reached out to Pink Behind the Thin Blue Line, a non-profit organization that his wife is a part of.  "We loved the idea," said member Christy Pettit.  According to her, the board voted on and approved buying Wooten a new bike within five minutes.  Wednesday, according to the Arkansas State Police Facebook page, three Miller County members of Troop G and a member of Pink Behind the Thin Blue Line brought a special surprise to Wooten's house.   "Let me see your bike.  I heard you didn't have a seat on it.  I may have one in my car," said Cpl. Pettit.  Wooten brought out his bike for Cpl. Pettit who then walked to his car.  "Well Chris, I'm sorry I don't have a seat, but I do have a bike," said Cpl. Pettit.  Wooten was speechless. The troopers reassured him several times that the bike was for him.  "It was so precious," said Christy Pettit.  In addition to the bike, Wooten also got to spend some time with the troopers.  They "trained him" on patrol procedures, dash cameras, report writing, and even arrest and search procedures, according to the ASP Facebook page.

8/8/17

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Hundreds attend Oklahoma trooper's funeral in Norman

OKHP Meyer funeral

The deeds of evil men were not lost on the Rev. Jerry Jones as he addressed the hundreds of somber state police officers and civilians who sat before him Monday in a college basketball arena.  “We live in a hellish world,” Jones said, his tone calm but stern.  “You do and you see things that we don’t want to see,” Jones said, addressing the troopers present.  “May God bless you, you men and women who wear the uniform.”  Those in attendance at the Lloyd Noble Center gathered for the funeral of Lt. Donald Heath Meyer, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper killed earlier this month during a car chase.   Meyer, 43, had lain stop sticks on Interstate 35 near N 27 in Moore during a July 14 chase, when he was struck by another trooper's cruiser.   Jones and Meyer were both pastors at Anchor Church, 1200 Lakewood Drive, which Meyer and his wife started in their home almost a decade ago.  Meyer joined the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in 2005, after graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University the year before.  He was the 36th Oklahoma trooper to die in the line of duty.  “We ask our troopers to go out and do incredibly dangerous work.  It’s volatile, and sometimes it’s violent," Oklahoma Department of Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson said to those  gathered.   Thompson is a tall, stoic man, but his deep voice wavered as he read to Meyer’s family a proclamation from Gov. Mary Fallin honoring the fallen trooper’s service to the state.  Thompson worked in the same building as Meyer, he recalled after the funeral, and Meyer was just as much a pastor at work as he was from behind the pulpit.  He was quick to put others at ease with a warm smile and handshake.  Meyer’s father-in-law was a trooper, and through that example he saw another opportunity to give, Thompson said.  “He just has a servant’s heart,” Thompson said.  He added that Meyer volunteered to work in Troop A, which covers the metro area and is the biggest and busiest troop in the patrol.  Dozens of Oklahoma state troopers filed into the east entrance of the center Monday morning.  The wives of several troopers dotted the line every five or six officers, their bright dresses standing in stark contrast with the tan trooper uniforms.  State police from every state bordering Oklahoma, as well as some from as far away as Georgia and Illinois, filed in behind them in full dress.  The driver of the fleeing vehicle, D'Angelo Ladon Burgess, 28, was arrested the night of the accident.  Burgess remained in the Cleveland County jail Monday afternoon, held on a $5 million bail.  He was charged Thursday with first-degree murder, eluding a police officer and drug and paraphernalia possession.  At the time of the crash, Burgess was out on bail and facing charges connected to a similar incident the year before. Burgess was arrested in June 2016 after a pursuit that ended when he crashed a car.  Meyer also worked that crash, Ricky Adams, the highway patrol chief, confirmed.  At the funeral, Adams told his fellow troopers he recognizes the dangers involved in situations they face every day.  “They’re uncertain, they’re ambiguous and they’re volatile," Adams said. "Saying all that, we place you there to face down evil and restore order out of chaos.”

8/4/17

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