Trooper First Class Brandon Benett Named Arkansas' Trooper of the Year
Trooper First Class Brandon Bennett, a seven year veteran Arkansas State Trooper, assigned to Highway Patrol Division Troop C (Mississippi County), has been awarded the department’s Trooper of the Year (2015). The award was presented today by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, during the Annual Arkansas State Police Awards Luncheon. TFC. Bennett was also awarded the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor. The honors were awarded for Bennett’s role in the July 1, 2015 apprehension of two Missouri fugitives who had shot a store clerk during a robbery. The arrests followed a pursuit that began near the Missouri – Arkansas border. The gunmen had already shot at a Mississippi County deputy and TFC. Bennett before the driver of the robbery getaway car lost control and crashed in a Blytheville neighborhood. Both fugitives fled the area on foot. TFC. Bennett left his patrol car to assist in the search and encountered one suspect hiding in thick brush. TFC. Bennett was met with resistance from the suspect who struggled to break-away from the trooper. The suspect was handcuffed by TFC. Bennett and turned-over to local authorities
Missouri State Trooper Thanked For saving woman from fiery wreckage
That’s what the family of Becky Crawford of Belton on Wednesday expressed to Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Jim Thuss, who had pulled her from her burning car in early February. “I owe my life to Trooper Thuss,” Crawford said. “The car was literally engulfed in flames within seconds. If he hadn’t been there to pull me out, I wouldn’t be here today.” Crawford was severely injured in the crash, suffering a broken pelvis and arm as well as two fractures in her spine. Crawford’s family presented Thuss with a plaque at the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Troop A headquarters in Lee’s Summit. They also gave him a large thank-you card in which each family member had written a personal message. “It’s extremely humbling,” Thuss said. “We don’t do this for recognition like that. I’m grateful for them and absolutely thrilled that Becky has recovered as she has.” The crash happened the morning of Feb. 2 and was caught on the dashboard camera of Thuss’ patrol car. Thuss was on Route D just north of Missouri 58 near Belton when he saw a 2002 Cadillac DeVille traveling 68 mph in a 50 mph zone. As he turned around to pull the car over, he checked the car’s speed at 101. The Cadillac, using the turn lane, passed other traffic that had stopped for a red light at the intersection of Missouri 58. The car ran a red light and smashed into Crawford’s car. There was an instant fireball followed by a plume of smoke. Fire started to grow along the driver’s side of Crawford’s car. Thuss ran to the passenger side, climbed inside and pulled her out. An off-duty Johnson County deputy sheriff helped him carry Crawford up a hill and away from the car. The driver of the Cadillac fled from the scene, but Belton police arrested him a short time later. Thuss shies away from being called a hero. He pointed to a wall of pictures of troopers killed in the line of duty. He also mentioned the fatal shooting of Kansas City, Kan., police Detective Brad Lancaster earlier this week. “Those are the true heroes out there,” Thuss said. “I was out doing my job, and that is what occurred that day.” Crawford disagrees and said he’s an amazing person. “He may think he’s just doing his job, but he does way more than that,” she said. “He’s just a very caring person.” At the hospital, Thuss had told her that he wouldn’t have let her burn. “I think about that and it chokes me up because I just can’t believe he would do that for me,” she said. She believes her rescue was definitely a miracle. Crawford’s husband, Ron, said they felt getting together to honor Thuss seemed fitting. “We have our wife, our daughter, our sister, our mother because of what he did,” he said.
Connecticut State Police K-9s In the Digital Age
Police dogs are great at sniffing out hidden drugs -- and as more crime goes digital, state police in Connecticut are training canines to sniff out evidence on computers and cell phones. Somewhere stashed behind a long wooden wall, in a dark gymnasium packed with old suitcases, is a hidden computer memory card. It's the kind of tiny chip you'd slip into a cell phone or a digital camera. Selma, a trim black lab with a nose trained to sniff out technology, is determined to find it. She can find things like hard drives, "cell phones, mobile devices -- such as tablets -- and, more importantly, devices such as USB drives or SD cards," said her handler, Detective George Jupin with the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. After picking up the scent, Selma zips over to one corner of the gym, and puts her paws up on the wall to indicate she's found the stashed memory card. Jupin said Selma goes out about twice a week to execute search warrants. One time he said police already searched a house, but when they brought in Selma, she hit on a drawer human officers overlooked. Shoved in the back was a digital camera -- and it was filled with pictures indicating a child pornography suspect was doing more than just looking. "You don't have enough time to look at everything, but with the canine, it definitely makes you feel that you've done a more thorough investigation," Jupin said. "Getting into all those nooks and crannies of a house, particularly when the houses are large -- or they're packed with a lot of stuff. It's helpful." Selma was Connecticut's first E-Dog. Since then, state police taught six other Labradors to find hidden hardware. Those dogs are serving at police departments across the country and at the FBI. Trooper First Class Michael Real trains the dogs. Originally, he said they were bred to assist the blind, but didn't make it in guide-dog school, in part, because of high energy and an obsession with food -- bad traits for a seeing-eye dog -- but ideal for a canine in training. "We take these dogs particularly because they have great food drive -- and that’s how they eat every day from the time we get 'em," Real said. "It’s odor equates to food." Selma gets her dinner when she finds a chemical compound surrounding the memory boards of all cell phones and computers. It's put there to help keep the hardware cool. Real said it took about a year to train Selma to find the compound on actual hardware. Now, she can find hidden DVDs and Blu Ray discs, too. Real said the E-Dogs are even alerting to vintage tech -- like stashed-away floppy discs or VHS tapes. "They constantly amaze you with their ability to identify something similar to what they've been trained on," Real said. "It kind of leads us down the path of other things we should be training them on." Detective George Jupin said he's already getting calls for Selma to assist in homicide and fraud investigations. And while bomb-sniffing dogs are already a thing -- Jupin said the next step for Selma might be bomb reconstruction -- using her nose at a blast site to sniff out the scattered components of a computerized detonator.
Girls Lacrosse Team Honors New Jersey State Trooper Who Lost His Life
Aryn McCormick wore her late fiancé's sweatshirt, the baggy black one with "Irish Lacrosse" embossed on the front."Mine doesn't fit anymore," said McCormick, who is expecting her second child in August. Her older son, Seamus, will turn 1 on May 18. He was front and center Wednesday, wearing his green sweat jacket with the Fighting Irish logo, smiling at everybody who caught his eye. "Sad and happy," Camden Catholic senior goalie Khaia Baranowski said in summation of a special afternoon at Shamrock Field, when the Irish girls' lacrosse team welcomed back their former assistant coach and honored a loyal supporter of the program who made the ultimate sacrifice. Camden Catholic's 11-6 victory over Cherry Hill East on a cool, overcast day was dedicated to New Jersey state trooper Sean Cullen, who was killed in a traffic accident in West Deptford while on duty on March 8. Baranowski and other seniors presented McCormick with some tokens of their affection and appreciation during a pregame ceremony - a pair of miniature lacrosse sticks, a Camden Catholic bear and bib, flowers and letters from assistant coach Kathleen Notos' second-grade class. "There's some jokes in there," Camden Catholic head coach Bridget Sipera said of the letters. "Just really precious stuff." Players from both teams wore blue ribbons in their hair in honor of Cullen, and some Camden Catholic players had blue-and-gold shoelaces as well. A large sign that read "In Honor of Trooper Sean Cullen" hung beneath the windows of the press box, and all proceeds from the snack stand and sale of Camden Catholic gear were to be donated to the family. "This is a family that means so much to Camden Catholic," Sipera said. "This is something our seniors wanted to do. They came to me and asked if we could do something like this, and we ran with it." McCormick and Sipera played lacrosse together at Camden Catholic. Both were in the Class of 2002. McCormick was Sipera's assistant coach for four years, through 2013. She coached the current seniors as freshmen. "This is the reason why we love Camden Catholic," McCormick said. "This is the reason why we always come back - the tradition, the support." McCormick said she has been "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support since Cullen's death. "It's been over the top," said McCormick, who lives in Cinnaminson in a home she shared with Cullen. "It's been amazing." McCormick said Cullen was "so supportive" of Camden Catholic girls' lacrosse program as well as a big fan of the Irish wrestling team. Cullen, a star wrestler at Cinnaminson High School and Lycoming College, served as an assistant coach for Camden Catholic's wrestling team for one year under then-head coach Ryan McCormick, Aryn's brother. "That's how we met," Aryn McCormick said. "Sean wrestled against my brother. We went out one night and he introduced us." Baranowski, who made five saves as Camden Catholic improved its record to 11-3, has a special relationship with McCormick. McCormick said Baranowski was the first "nonfamily member" to babysit Seamus. That was in February, about a month before Cullen's death. "I was excited, but I basically just watched the dog," Baranowski said. "[Seamus] slept the whole time." Baranowski said the game carried extra significance for the team. "We're so happy they're here," Baranowski said. "But at the same time, we're so sad that we lost a loved one."
Connecticut State Police Bloodhound Tracks Down Missing Women
A State Police bloodhound is being credited with tracking down an 89-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s who was disoriented and lost in the woods. According to state police, at about 5:40 p.m. on Sunday, Troop L-Litchfield and the Woodbury Resident Trooper's Office were notified the missing elderly woman. The woman was last seen at about 5 p.m. at her Woodbury residence. Upon arrival troopers, and officers from the Woodbury Resident Trooper’s Office searched the residence and immediate area, but were unable to locate her. A State Police K9 team (German shepherd) also responded and assisted with the search. The state police helicopter, Trooper One, was requested, but was unable to fly due to the inclement weather. Members of the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene and assisted in the search. Fire department members planned to deploy a boat to check a pond located in the immediate area. Woodbury residents were alerted of the missing woman via the towns reverse 911 system. At about, 7:50 p.m. a state police bloodhound responded to the scene to further assist with the search. Trooper Kerry Halligan and her K9 partner Texas, a nearly 2 year old bloodhound, initiated a search for the 89 year old woman. After approximately 40 minutes of searching, K9 Texas located the missing woman approximately a quarter mile from her residence, in thick brush. The missing woman was disoriented and appeared to be suffering from hypothermia. The missing woman was transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital for evaluation by the Woodbury Volunteer Ambulance.
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.