Hundreds attend Oklahoma trooper's funeral in Norman
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.”
Washington State Patrol vehicles get carbon monoxide alerts
The Washington State Patrol is equipping hundreds of its vehicles with carbon-monoxide detectors after six troopers since January have reported feeling sick from possibly inhaling exhaust fumes. Crews will install the devices in 634 Ford Explorer Police Interceptors over the next few weeks, according to State Patrol Capt. Shane Nelson. The move comes amid a months long federal investigation into a version of the Ford Explorer over worries of exhaust-fume problems nationwide. Ford has responded to the numerous carbon-monoxide claims by promising to make repairs as it investigates the complaints. According to a statement on the State Patrol’s blog, six troopers reported symptoms associated with possibly breathing in carbon monoxide while at work in Interceptors, a high-performance version of the Ford Explorer used by law enforcement. They made the reports January through mid-July. Two troopers were hospitalized, and released, Nelson said at a news conference Friday, which the State Patrol streamed online. Officials confirmed there was measurable carbon monoxide in the system of one of the troopers. Both have returned to work. “We wanted to get in front of it, make sure everybody was protected,” Nelson said of the detector being installed in troopers’ vehicles. Symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning include dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath and nausea or vomiting. Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints of exhaust odors and possible carbon-monoxide exposure in 1.33 million Ford Explorers across the nation. Among the complaints, three involved crashes and 41 were reports of injuries, such as loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches. In Texas, the Austin Police Department has pulled nearly 400 of its Ford Explorers off the street. More than 60 officers there have reported health problems since February, and more than 20 were found to have measurable carbon monoxide in their systems, city officials said. Ford said in a statement it has discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some police-department Interceptors that had equipment installed after leaving Ford’s factory. The company said police and fire departments routinely drill holes in the backs of vehicles to add customized lighting, radios and other equipment.
Rhode Island State Police receive top-level accreditation from national group
The Rhode Island State Police have received a “gold standard assessment” from the national Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. Col. Ann Assumpico announced Sunday morning that the State Police received the Accreditation with Excellence award from the organization, which is the highest level of accreditation that CALEA awards. The State Police become the only law enforcement agency in the state to receive top-level accreditation. The State Police have been accredited since 1994 but decided to go even further and apply for the more rigorous Accreditation with Excellence award, which demands that they meet or exceed 480 professional standards outlined by CALEA. The CALEA assessment concluded last week as the State Police hosted the CELEA 2017 Summer Conference, at which many other departments concluded assessments. According to Col. Assumpico, the CALEA Review Committee praised the State Police for diversity in its ranks, the low number of complaints filed against its personnel, having few vehicle pursuits, and for having a police dog specifically training in finding electronic equipment used in cyber crimes. “This is a tremendous honor earned by the hard-working men and women who serve the citizens of our state with professionalism and pride,” Assumpico said in a statement. “It also underscores our commitment to providing Rhode Islanders with exceptional law enforcement that meets or exceeds national standards at every level.”
Tennessee Highway Patrol conducts traffic stop, locates 28 pounds of marijuana
On July 12th, 2017, Trooper Al Seitner of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Cookeville District stopped a vehicle in Putnam County for following another vehicle too closely. The driver, 25-year-old Jonathan Kossa of Cookeville, Tennessee appeared extremely nervous for a simple traffic violation. While talking to Kossa, Trooper Seitner observed a large cardboard box in the back seat of the vehicle. When asked what was in the box, Kossa said he did not know as he was transporting the box for his roommate. Consent to search the vehicle was requested and Kossa denied. Trooper Seitner requested K-9 assistance from the Cookeville Police Department. Their K-9 made a positive alert on the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed 18 vacuum sealed packages of marijuana (approximately 28 lbs) inside the cardboard box. Kossa was arrested for possession of Schedule VI narcotics for manufacture, sale and delivery.