Wisconsin State Trooper Returns to Work!
Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Justin Hansen recently returned to the job he loves."It feels great to be back on the road, it's been a very long and trying journey," said Hansen.After losing part of his leg two years ago when he was hit by a vehicle while working. "All the work I put in to become a trooper was nothing compared to the work I've had to do to get back doing what I love," Hansen explained. In January 2014, he was responding to a crash when he was getting traffic cones from the back of his car when he was hit and pinned between the two vehicles. "When I think back to that day, I just think about how that day forever changed how I live myself," Hansen said.As a result, part of his right leg was amputated, and his left leg had several fractures. "The hardest thing about it was learning how to walk on the right prosthetic limb with a left broken leg," said Hansen. "It was very hard to deal with both injuries at the same time." Hansen said one reason it was important to get back to work was to show his kids you can overcome adversity and challenges that are thrown your way."When they have challenges in life that they can look at me as an example how to overcome diversity, and problems," said Hansen. He explained since being back on the road, his injuries haven't slowed him down. "A lot of times when I've come into stuff on duty, or off duty, and I need to react quickly I almost forget I have the prosthetic leg and I just proceed normally," Hansen said. He added although the road to recovery wasn't always been easy, it has been worth it. "This is what I love to do, it's the career I enjoy, I have great passion about," said Hansen.
California Highway Patrol Officer and Good Samaritan Save a Man.
A California Highway Patrol officer was caught on video pulling a man from the edge of a bridge. A terrifying scene on a highway overpass above a busy street in north Fresno. The chilling moment captured on a driver’s cell phone video: a man walking right on the edge of the bridge, posing a danger to himself and the drivers below. Then, CHP motorcycle officer Christopher Swanberg arrived on scene. “It looked like he might fall over. I was very concerned he was just going to fall over because he was so unbalanced,” said officer Swanberg. Utilizing his training, Swanberg talks to the man as he tries to get closer. Then, standing on the edge, or k-rail, the man slips and officer Swanberg moved in for the rescue. “I don’t think I had time to think about it. I just reacted to it,” said Swanberg. Officer Swanberg struggles with the man who makes a break for the edge of the overpass. Swanberg said: “there was maybe a couple seconds while we were on the k-rail where I was actually looking over the side, where it was pretty nerve racking.” That’s when Daniel Martinez and his friend George pulled over in their work truck. “We were driving, and I had seen he was wrestling with this guy, kind of wrestling with him, so I slowed down,” said Martinez. “I remember looking back and both the driver and the passenger had this look of, ‘can I help?’ I was like ‘yeah, come help me,’” said Swanberg. With the help of the men in orange jumpsuits, the man was taken into custody. Martinez says the only reason they were able to help is because he missed an exit. “I would’ve passed all that up. So I just think we were there at the right time. I think it was supposed to happen,” said Martinez. Thankful for the help, this CHP officer says answering a call like this was a first. Swanberg said: “we’ve had pedestrians on the freeway many times here in Fresno, but I’ve never had one where I had to grab and go to the k-rail with and look over the side.”
Washington State Troopers Make a Surprise Visit.
At Midway Elementary, they are missing 11-year-old Angel. Classmates call him a great friend and hardworking student. He already knows he wants to be a police officer one day. But what he is dealing with right now is a heart condition. Midway Elementary Principal Rebekah Kim says Angel had surgery last week. "Just the fact that this is his second heart transplant shows how determined he is and what a fighter he is," said Kim. He's been out of school for nearly two months, receiving care at Seattle Children's Hospital. Wednesday afternoon, Principal Kim brought two special visitors: Sergeant Julie Judson and Trooper Scott Eng with the Washington State Patrol. "We heard a rumor that you want to be a police officer. Is that true? We have come to recruit you," said Sgt. Judson as she greeted Angel. "We brought some Washington State Patrol swag for you," added Trooper Eng. The presents produced a much needed smile across Angel's face. Angel and his two siblings have cardiomyopathy. Angel's mother has been by his side at the hospital everyday. There is anonline fundraising effortto help Angel's family
Ohio State Trooper Working to Keep the Roads Safe
The hockey mom from Philadelphia hit 82 mph and never saw the silver patrol car in the median of the Ohio Turnpike. When she finally realized her fate and hit the brakes, Trooper John Williams already had pulled out. He hit the accelerator to catch up to her and switched on his blue flashing lights. Minutes later, the woman appeared to seethe as Williams, ever polite, handed her the speeding ticket and wished her a safe trip. The officer went on to make 11 stops in the next eight hours. For Williams, 39, that has become a typical day: He has written more tickets than any trooper in Ohio from 2010 through 2014, the most recent years available, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of Ohio State Highway Patrol tickets. He averaged nearly 2,000 tickets a year during that span. But Williams is far from a rigid, citation-writing machine. His empathy for drivers is matched by his attention to detail and concern for roadway safety. He has doled out warnings, calmed agitated motorists and offered directions to the misguided. In short, he does far more than send speeding drivers to court. Williams and a handful of troopers work from a turnpike post in Milan, near Sandusky. They cover 80 miles from Lorain County to Ottawa County. In the summer, with Cedar Point and the Lake Erie islands attracting visitors, the turnpike is the busiest roadway in the state. It also is the most heavily ticketed, the analysis shows. Troopers can patrol all of Ohio's roads, but they focus on state routes, the interstates and the turnpike. Unlike Williams and his colleagues who patrol the turnpike, most troopers are scattered across the state, working at county posts and running between traffic stops and crashes. They also help local authorities with investigations. Williams has done some of that, too. He is a 15-year veteran who has investigated accidents, arrested drunken drivers and found his share of illegal drugs in drivers' cars. But he has focused on speeding drivers on the turnpike. "I don't pay attention to (statistics),'' Williams said."I come out here to enforce traffic laws and to, hopefully, change drivers' behaviors. Excessive speed is a huge problem. "For me to work the interstate and not write tickets would be wrong. My chances to enforce traffic laws here are much greater than someone who is working in a county post.'' And that leads to a question he hears often: Do troopers face a quota? "There has never been a quota,'' Williams said. State troopers' salaries are paid with driver registration fees and taxes, not fines from tickets. The patrol has 1,600 officers, though many, such as crash reconstructionists, investigators and command officials, do not patrol roads. In the five-year span that the newspaper examined, troopers wrote an average of 540,000 tickets a year. At 6:17 a.m. on the coldest day of January, Williams began his day by checking and calibrating his TruSpeed laser gun. When it failed him, he grabbed a new one. He then spent just as much time, nearly 15 minutes, checking the new device. With a sugar-free Monster energy drink and the laser gun at his side, Williams wheeled his patrol car onto the turnpike for his day shift. He initially sought broken-down cars and trucks in the 3-degree weather. Finding none, he stopped in a median and pointed the laser gun at oncoming traffic and focused its beam on the front license plates of cars and trucks. Within minutes, he noticed a white Honda. A woman headed to work passed a semitrailer going 82 mph. The turnpike's speed limit is 70 mph. Williams wrote and printed out the ticket on a patrol-issued laptop, which troopers have in their Chargers. He thanked her for her time and urged her to be safe. She seemed too flustered to notice. Within the hour, he pulled over the Philadelphia mother in an SUV that had hockey team stickers on its back windows. He also stopped a father driving his daughter to college. Later, he stopped an older woman from Illinois going 84 mph. She was more concerned with Williams' health than her ticket. She feared he would get sick because he was working in such cold temperatures. The woman appeared to drive away somewhat upbeat, though still worried. "When I went to the (state patrol) academy, instructors said we would get 'thank yous' after traffic stops,'' Williams said. "I thought, 'What? You just gave a person a ticket and then he or she thanks you?' But it happens a lot.'' Others aren't as cheerful. Williams said he stopped a car recently with a set of parents and two children. The children, in the back seats, ripped Williams for what he did, while the parents sat silent. "I couldn't believe it,'' he said. "But you can't take anything personally.'' Later in the day, he stopped his patrol car along a westbound emergency lane and looked at a memorial built to honor Robert Perez, a fellow trooper at the Milan post who was killed in 2000. Perez's cruiser was rammed from behind as he sat in it on the berm finishing paperwork after a stop. He talked about Perez and the risks troopers face. The most dangerous involved approaching cars. On this day, as he does regularly, Williams headed to the passenger side of cars and trucks to avoid passing traffic. He then checked the number of people inside and what they were doing. "I've seen too many bad movies,'' he said. "We don't know whom we're stopping. We don't know what's going on in the car. So we have to be careful.'' Between stops, he bought a sandwich at a Subway shop off the turnpike and stopped briefly at the Milan post. He ate the sandwich and munched potato chips among colleagues while talking proudly about his two young children. Within minutes, he was back on the road. His stops included several drivers who gave him a litany of excuses. They said there is a lack of posted signs about speed limits, that they were unfamiliar with Ohio laws, that they weren't paying attention to how fast they were driving. "I've heard them all,'' he said. As the temperature crawled above 5 degrees, Williams struggled to stay warm. A young woman whom he ticketed for going 82 mph wanted to know where she could buy some water. The bottles that she had in the trunk were frozen. He answered several questions about the ticket, the roadway and area restaurants. He shivered as he jumped back in his patrol car. "Is it summer yet?'' he said. He was looking for speeding cars before he finished the question.
A Family Thanks Georgia State Trooper.
A Georgia State Patrol trooper made a little boy's night over the weekend. Matthew Gallant was driving with his family when they ran over an 18-wheeler tire on Interstate 75 over the weekend, which disabled their car. That's when Georgia State Trooper Michael Strickland was called to the scene. Gallant shared his experience with the Georgia Department of Public Safety on Facebook: "My 4 year old son is obsessed with police cars and police officers in general," Gallant said. "He was upset by everything that was going on until Trooper Strickland arrived and let him sit in his patrol car and turn on the lights and sirens and let him wear his trooper hat." Gallant said Trooper Strickland was very professional and friendly. "[Strickland] completely made my son's night," Gallant said. "Georgia needs more state troopers like Mr. Strickland. The Department of Public Safety shared Mr. Gallant's post on Facebook.
Two New Jersey State Troopers Rescue Animals Trapped in Burning Barn.
Two New Jersey State Troopers are credited with saving the lives of animals who had been trapped in a barn fire in Warren County Saturday. Trooper I Jordan Siegel and Trooper Corey Smith responded to the fire on Delaware Road in Hope Township on Saturday morning and were told that the owners of the barn were on their way home and livestock was in the barn, about 15 feet away from the flames. With the animals in a panic, Siegal and Smith started gathering the goats, sheep, llamas and chickens and built barricades out of pallets to keep them from heading back to the barn. “We’d like to give an ’atta boy’ to these two troops for a job well done! Keep up the good work,” wrote State Police on their Facebook page.
New Jersey State Police Graduates 134 New Troopers
The New Jersey State Police graduated more than 130 new troopers during a ceremony at Brookdale Community College on Friday. The new troopers, who were the State Police's 156th graduating class, included 32 combat veterans and more than 34 percent of the graduates were minorities, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said during his commencement speech. "New Jersey is one of the most richly diverse states in the country. And it encourages public confidence when the citizens can look at the State Police force and they can see themselves," Hoffman said. "But regardless of issues of race and ethnicity, being a State trooper means setting the highest personal standards on and off the clock. It means to make sure you do the right thing, for the right reason. And it means to always work to set an example, not only for your peers but for others as well. Everyday, you are out there to make a difference." State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes said the new troopers are about to execute their obligation to a public safety contract with the public that they will now serve and protect. "From here on in, this is your organization and your profession. Treat this organization as if it were a member of your own family because, of course, you are now a member of ours. Remember that the reputation of our organization and of every trooper is effected by your behavior on and off duty," Fuentes said. "Treat the public you will now serve with integrity, fairness, compassion and respect. I will expect no less of you, neither will your fellow troopers." Out of the approximately 200 cadets who started the State Police academy in August, only 134 made it through to Friday's graduation. But Captain Jeanne Hengemuhle, commandant of the New Jersey State Police Academy, warned the troopers that their hard work is only just beginning. "I know that you all believed the academy training was going to be the hardest part of you career, but the hard part starts as soon as your receive your badge," Hengemuhle said. "With this badge, you have the opportunity to have a career in which you can make a difference. But with this opportunity, every action you take, every word you say, on and off duty, will be scrutinized."
North Carolina State Trooper Intentionally Hit by an ATV
Authorities are looking for the person who ran over a North Carolina state trooper with a four wheeler early on Friday morning in Rowan County. Trooper Robert Charubini suffered a broken leg and laceration to his face, but he is expected to be OK. Investigators say Trooper Charubini saw two ATVs riding on N.C. 153 around 2 a.m. He planned to pull them over and give them a warning, so he turned on his sirens and attempted to stop the two. They pulled onto Harmony Lane, a street within a subdivision of China Grove. Charubini got out of his car and approached the ATVs, and that's when one of the four wheelers intentionally drove toward him at a high rate of speed and ran him over. The ATV then turned around and tried to hit Charubini a second time. That's when Charubini fired his weapon. No one was hit by the bullets, and the two ATVs then drove off. Charubini managed to get to his patrol car to radio for help. He is in the hospital now recovering from his injuries. "So at this time, Highway Patrol is asking anyone who saw anything, anyone who knows anything, to come forward," said Sgt. Garrett Barger with the North Carolina Highway Patrol. "We need to know who those ATV operators are." Anyone with information is asked to call the Rowan County Sheriff's Department or the Highway Patrol Communications Center at 800-233-3151.
South Dakota State Trooper Serves through Chemo.
"I wasn't expecting it. I'm in my 20s, I was a marine, I'm in pretty good shape...you just don't hear about it happening to people this age, you know, being diagnosed with cancer," South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Douglas Roderick said. One year after the former marine joined the South Dakota Highway Patrol, a diagnosis of chronic leukemia rocked his future. But now a new long term treatment plan is helping the Madison trooper get back on the road. "I like what I do. I get to meet the public, I like to give back and help the community out as much as I can," Roderick said. It's a passion he first fulfilled as a marine. I always felt like I needed give back; my parents are both in the military as well," Roderick said. But he quickly turned to law enforcement after meeting his wife. "Abby wasn't too keen on that, going out being deployed,being away from home so much, so I thought this would be the next best thing," Roderick said. Shortly after becoming joining the Highway Patrol in Murdo, Roderick says his wife helped him make a life saving move. "I wear my vest and it was pretty tight so I started to get a pain in my chest during my night shift and I didn't think much of it....but Abby told me to get it checked out so that's when I went to the ER," Roderick said. After several tests, doctors found Roderick had extremely high white blood cell levels and broke the news that he has leukemia. "It's just something you never think is going to happen. I remember I was talking to him and he was going into the ER in Pierre and I don't know what I thought was wrong with him but you definitely don't think it's going to be cancer," Roderick wife Abby said. Just two years into their marriage and Doug’s new career, the diagnosis felt like a sudden stop to their future. “At one point I thought maybe I couldn't do this job still, just because of treatments and what they do to you in the beginning, getting sick and tired all the time,” Roderick said. Further tests revealed Doug had chronic leukemia, which meant a slower, less aggressive form of treatment. “I do my treatments everyday. I take it at night and that's kind of to curb off the side effects, because then you sleep through all the side effects that might be happening but I don't have too many side effects anymore because my body's gotten used to it a little more,” Roderick said. For seven months of adjusting to his daily dose of chemo, Doug worked a desk at Highway Patrol Headquarters in Pierre, always hoping to one day get back on the road to protect and serve. “Him going back to work, you can see him light up again and be excited; I can tell that he's enjoying his work,” Abby said. Today Doug is once again a full time trooper, living in Madison and working out of the Brookings Highway Patrol office. “A spot opened up to move closer to Sioux Falls and closer to doctors…now we've figured out a good regiment so I can come back full time again. I'm just grateful that I can do that. I'm lucky in a sense that this is the form of cancer that I have…I know it could be a lot worse,” Roderick said. It’s that incredibly positive outlook that's helping Doug and his wife to once again dream about a bright future together. “The future is scary, but we try to stay positive,” Abby said. “Just try to live day to day, try not to think about it too much, do the things we like to do, go out and do things and just enjoy life as much as possible now, especially after a diagnosis like this,” Roderick said. Doug's fight with cancer is far from over; his current treatment plan is to continue taking a dose of chemo every night for the rest of his life unless it goes into remission or until someone can find a cure.
Connecticut State Trooper injured on the job finally returns to work.
Seventeen months after the incident that nearly claimed his life, Connecticut State Police Trooper Mike Quagliaroli is telling his own story for the first time and he spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight. At first glance, sitting at the Troop H barracks, Quagliaroli has no visible injuries. But underneath the uniform, he says, are physical scars from his injuries and surgeries. His retelling of events reveals another invisible injury – memory loss caused by severe head trauma. He can’t remember the accident itself, that night, or any other part of the day it happened- Thursday, August 7, 2014. “The last thing that I actually remember is Wednesday evening,” he recalls. “I had to jump my truck because the battery had died. The next thing I remember was waking up Friday morning in Hartford Hospital. They said, you were in an accident; look up at the news. My story was on TV.” He pieced together what happened in between by reading the accident investigation reports. Around 7:20 p.m., he responded to Interstate 91 North in Hartford near Jennings Road to help a driver remove a large fallen object from the roadway. He stopped his cruiser as a road block and activated his emergency lights as he assisted Enfield resident Aaron Altenhein. Seconds later, a 2014 Honda Civic driven by West Haven resident Ilona Gladu-Perez hit both of the men, with Trooper Quagliaroli taking most of the impact. “I went into the windshield, shoulder-first, my left shoulder, and then when the driver hit the brakes I was sent flying off of the vehicle,” he said. “I landed head first and skidded about 85 feet on the pavement.” Quagliaroli had only been on the job for eight months. Suddenly, he faced potentially career-ending injuries: a fractured tibia and fibula requiring two surgeries and severe head trauma. He spent two weeks in Hartford Hospital, followed by two weeks at an in-patient rehabilitation facility before returning home to begin a year of intensive outpatient physical therapy. “Painful? Absolutely. There were days where I would actually say, 'We have to stop. I can’t go any further,'” he recalled. “But the next time [my physical therapist] came in, I’d go a little bit further and push a little bit harder because I just wanted to get back.” Quagliaroli said the support of family, friends and his fiancée Krystal carried him through those difficult days. Finally, as of January 16, 2016, he was cleared to return to full duty as a Connecticut State Trooper. He spent his first few days back doing ride alongs to get back into the swing of things. Now, “It’s like I never missed a beat,” he said. Gladu-Perez was charged with violating the move over law, enacted in 2009 as a measure to keep first responders and road crews safe. It requires drivers on any highway two lanes or wider to move over a full lane or, if that’s not possible, to significantly and visibly slow down when they see vehicles with flashing lights operated by police, fire, EMS, road crews or commercial tow operators. Violation penalties range from a $181 ticket for a first offense to fines up to $10,000 in cases of injury or death. “Every day not only do members of my barracks but state police troops across the state in addition to firefighters, tow truck operators, DOT workers are standing on the sides of the highways in the state of Connecticut,” said Lt Marc Petruzzi, commanding officer at Troop H. “This makes it possible for my troopers to be able to go home at the end of the night and go back to their families. It prevents our agency from having to deal with a tragedy that could very easily be avoided if people are paying attention and giving us the space we need to do our work.” It’s a law based on deadly precedent. Several Connecticut troopers have been killed on the roads after being hit while standing outside or sitting in their cruisers. Most recently, Trooper First Class Kenneth J. Hall, a 22-year veteran of the State Police and former U.S. Marine, was killed on September 2, 2010 on I-91 in Enfield while making a traffic stop. In Echo Hall at the State Police Academy, the photos and stories of Connecticut’s fallen troopers hang on the wall for all recruits to see. It’s a tribute, and a constant reminder of the dangers of the job. “They always told us in the academy, it’s not a matter of if, but when,” Quagliaroli said. “That was my time. ... But I’m still here.” Note: Quagliaroli has served as a reservist in the Air National Guard for nine years. He deployed to Afghanistan from July 2011 to January 2012. He is a graduate of Windsor Locks High School.
Georgia State Trooper Shot following a Car Chase
What should’ve been a simple Wednesday afternoon traffic stop on I-75 turned into a 10-mile chase and ended with an exchange of gunfire, a wounded state trooper, a dead suspect and thousands of Cobb County motorists caught in the traffic-clogging aftermath. Georgia State Patrol spokesman Capt. Mark Perry said the incident, which blocked I-75 south at South Marietta Parkway for hours, began shortly after 3:30 p.m. when Trooper Jacob Fields, a three-year veteran of the force, attempted to stop a speeding Chevrolet Silverado. The pickup truck, which had allegedly been clocked going 98 miles per hour, continued down I-75 and Fields followed. The chase continued until Delk Road, where Fields and two other troopers attempted to stop the Silverado with a boxed-in maneuver, Perry said. The truck finally came to a stop after rear-ending a civilian driver. “At that point,” Perry said, the driver of the Silverado “comes out of the vehicle, he has a weapon, shots are exchanged.” Authorities said the truck’s driver, 26-year-old Acworth resident Israel Vladimir Rodriguez, shot first and troopers returned fire. Fields, who serves out of Marietta’s Post No. 9, was shot in the leg and the lower abdomen, just below his bulletproof vest. Both men were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Fields was “alert,” “conscious,” and “talking” with his family Wednesday evening, Perry said. The trooper will likely to remain at the hospital for another two or three days but is expected to fully recover, authorities said. Rodriguez underwent surgery upon arrival at the hospital but died around 10:30 p.m., Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Scott Dutton said. The GBI is investigating the shooting. In addition to Fields, two other troopers fired shots and are on standard administrative leave, Perry said. Traffic on I-75 southbound was snarled for more than six hours hours after the incident. One lane of the interstate opened by 7 p.m., but full traffic was not restored until around 10:30 p.m.
Indiana State Trooper Rescues A Stranded Dog
An Indiana State trooper went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue a lost family dog that became stranded on a river bank. On Jan. 8, Trooper Ted Robertson received a call about a dog named Diesel. The dog’s owners, Don and Sandy Knauer, said Diesel had been frightened by a thunderstorm and ran off on Dec. 26, 2015. Family members had been searching for him ever since, posting flyers in the area and on social media. Diesel ended up on the east bank of the Wabash River across from the Duke Energy Plant. The plant is in Vermillion County while Diesel was in Parke County, on the other side of the river. A Duke Energy employee reported seeing the dog; his wife notified the Knauer family to let them know that they may have spotted Diesel. The family tried to get help from several different law enforcement agencies to rescue the stranded dog, but they kept running into roadblocks. They contacted Trooper Robertson, who was off-duty but came to the scene. Though the water was high and temperatures were falling, Robertson took his personal fishing boat to the public access boat ramp along State Road 234. Robertson guided the boat through the darkness for about a mile and reached the area near Diesel. Seconds after his owners called his name, Diesel reached the boat and was rescued. The Knauer family sent a letter of appreciation to command staff at the Putnamville Post where Robertson works. They’re still not sure how Diesel made it to the east bank of the river, given that the family lives on the other side.
New York State Police help open Mountains of Mail
Members of the New York State Policehelped open Sa'fyre Terry's mail on Thursday. Community volunteers, groups and families have been opening mail for the 8-year-old girl since her request for Christmas cards went viral late last year. Sa'fyre, who was severely burned in a fire that killed most of her family, got about 1.7 million cards and packages. A small army of volunteers is helping open the remaining hundreds of thousands of cards because her family wants to make sure their surrogates touch and respond to them.
Two Virginia State Troopers Rescue a Dog.
Two Virginia State Troopers have gotten a lot of praise on social media after they chased a runaway dog along Interstate 664 Friday morning. Troopers J.B. Hagwood and C.P. Dermyer could be seen chasing a terrier-mix along the highway near Aberdeen Road about 8:30 a.m., according to the state police Facebook. The dog, Pinta, was running through traffic. The troopers told WVEC TV Monday night that they spotted the dog first on I-64 and followed him by car to I-664, according to the WVEC website. The dog ran in circles, into oncoming traffic and between vehicles trying to dodge the officers. They finally captured him and returned him to his owner, based on the information on tags attached to his collar.
HEROES & HELPERS
Two-year old JayShaun was having fun Tuesday checking out all the options in the toy department of the Target store just outside Carlisle. His mother, Camren Spahr, looked on with appreciation for the Pennsylvania state trooper volunteering his time to help her child narrow his choices. “It’s amazing,” she said of the Heroes & Helpers program offered by the store chain. “They should do it more often. It allows kids to know that all cops are not bad.” In another part of the store, trooper Krystal Weston of the Carlisle station was busy helping 9-year-old Kennedi Smith pick out a pair of shoes to buy using a gift card provided by the local store. “It’s really generous of Target to donate money to children in need,” Weston said. “I feel privileged they allowed us to take part in it. They have given us the opportunity to make a good first impression on some young kids who never had any interaction with police.” A nationwide program, Heroes & Helpers pairs law enforcement officers with needy children so that together they can form a bond while buying gifts for their families. “We are giving them some money to shop and build a relationship,” said Wei-Fung Chang, assets protection team leader for the Carlisle Target store that donated $600 to children living in the Stuart House. Operated by Salvation Army in Carlisle, the Stuart House is a transitional housing program that helps families coming out of emergency shelters further address the issues that brought them into homelessness, case manager Kristina Kennedy said. Seven Stuart House children were teamed up Tuesday with four state troopers on a mini-shopping spree funded by $60 gift cards. Two mothers also pitched in along with six employees of the local store. Store employees will be buying gifts on behalf of three other children at the Stuart House shelter who are too young to participate in the program but still could use the help. “It’s a great way to combine all the parts,” said Trooper Jacob Fackler of the Carlisle station. “Somebody has a need, somebody can fill it and we are blessed that they can include us in on the interaction and to be a part of it.” “There are a lot of things happening in this world that turns a lot of people against cops,” said Spahr who does not buy into that philosophy. She thought it was really to see police officers in a positive light. Case manager Kennedy was pleased with the timing of the program saying that organizing a shopping spree to benefit children would have been too crazy during the holiday season. “Our families are recipients of a lot of wonderful programs,” said Kennedy adding how Heroes & Helpers allows children to team up with law enforcement to buy necessities that fill in some gaps left behind from other programs. Ryan Loretta manages the stores in Carlisle and Mechanicsburg as the store team leader. He explained how Heroes & Helpers has been around in some form for at least 10 years. Previously, it was known as Shop with a Cop. The goal has always been to combine law enforcement with community outreach to offer a bonding experience for needy youth, Loretta said. He added that normally Heroes & Helpers is done around November or December, but the decision was made to delay the Carlisle program until late January because of the number of Stuart House families involved. “This program helps kids who do not have a lot of clothing and shoes get what they need for school,” said Kendejah Smith, 13, an 8th grader at Wilson Middle School living in the Stuart House.