Record setting Maryland State Police class of troopers graduate

Maryland February 2018 graduation

The 147th trooper candidate class joined Maryland’s finest Friday morning as they were pinned with the badges of Maryland State Police troopers in a ceremony at Century High School. The auditorium was filled with friends and family of the graduates as well as staff members who saw the candidates through their training, members of various law enforcement agencies throughout the state and beyond, and Gov. Larry Hogan. During their time in the academy, the class of 47 set records. From the start of their training until the awarding of diplomas 27 weeks of rigorous work later, only one candidate did not complete the training, the fewest members lost in state history. They also raised funds in the 2017 Komen Maryland Race for the Cure and raised more than $11,000 for Special OlympicsMaryland during the 2018 Polar Bear Plunge. Hogan spoke to the graduates prior to the presentation of badges and diplomas. Maryland’s governor shared an anecdote from 2014, on the day he became the governor-elect and troopers from the Maryland State Police arrived to serve as executive protection. He said the full responsibility of the office and the men and women he oversees became clear to him. He said that though they would face difficulty and criticism in their careers, he and his office would stand behind them with pride. “You will always have the full support of your governor,” he said. Capt. Michael Tagliaferri, commander of the Education and Training Division, addressed the class of candidates who were his first as commander of the division. “It was an incredible experience to watch you each as you develop and grow as individuals,” he said to the class. He advised them to, most importantly, never forget the core values of the Maryland State Police: integrity, fairness and service. Col. William Pallozzi, superintendent of the MSP, also spoke to congratulate the 47 graduates on a badge that is “earned, never given.” He emphasized that the responsibilities of troopers are serious and vital. “You will be looked upon as the one person in an out-of-control situation who can restore order,” he said. As a group, the class took their oath of office before they were individually pinned with a badge and presented their diploma. As one of the final moments of the ceremony, the graduates recited their class motto as one: “In times of strife, we came to life.” On a day that marked the beginning of a career for 47 troopers, retired 1st Lt. David Lauder, one of the oldest living retirees of the MSP at age 95, reflected on his time in the agency. He said if he could do it all again and join the force, he would be on patrol that afternoon. His advice to the graduates? “Smile when you can, but be polite to everyone all the time. Only growl and look stern when you have to.”



California Highway Patrol arrest man riding horse on suspicion of DUI


A man who was riding a horse along the eastbound 91 Freeway in Long Beach during the early morning hours Saturday was arrested on suspicion of DUI, according to California Highway Patrol officials in Santa Fe Springs. Luis Alfredo Perez was taken into custody about 1:30 a.m. on his 29th birthday, according to a CHP news release. The agency posted several humorous tweets about the incident. Perez was riding the horse eastbound on the freeway from Paramount Boulevard to Downey Avenue when a 911 caller reported him to CHP, the release stated. Officers found him after he exited the freeway at the Downey Avenue exit and was riding into Bellflower. The officers gave Perez a field sobriety test and a preliminary alcohol screening device test, which showed a blood-alcohol level of more than double the legal limit. He was booked into jail on suspicion of "DUI on a horse," the release said. The animal, described as a white Arabian named "Guera," was unharmed and was released to the suspect's mother. A CHP official said she came to the scene quickly. "Just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all … you haven’t!" CHP Officer Jeremy Tolen said in an email.



New Jersey Troopers of the year awarded to two for deactivating terror attack bombs

NJSP Troopers of the year

Two New Jersey state troopers were honored Thursday morning for successfully deactivating two improvised explosive devices after a pipe bomb exploded in a terror attack along a Marine Corps race in Seaside Park in 2016.  Detective Sgt. James Abbes and Det. Stephen Christinzio will each receive a 2017 Trooper of the Year award, State Police said in a statement.   Both devices were in a trash can that exploded before the start of the delayed race.  No one was hurt following the explosion, but two of the three bombs remained intact and active, authorities said.

Abbes and Christinzio donned protective gear, approached the explosives and set up equipment  including robots to deactivate the devices.  "Detective Sergeant Abbes and Detective Christinzio performed with calm and focus while under extreme stress, ensuring the safety of others first before risking their own lives to execute their mission, without the luxury of knowing if there were more components of the attack yet to be acted," said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  "The actions of both troopers have made all of us in the State Police, past and present, proud and honored to call them Troopers of the Year."



Colby College hires head of Maine State Police as new security director

Maine SP Colonel retiring

Following an extensive nationwide search, Colby College has announced it is hiring the head of Maine State Police to take over as its director of security.  Maine State Police Chief Robert Williams has led the force for the past seven years to close out a law enforcement career spanning 33 years.  He began as a trooper with the state police before finally being named colonel by Gov. Paul LePage in 2011.  He will officially take over as security director for the college on March 12.  In a statement from the college, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Doug Terp said that “having a seasoned leader with experience in every aspect of protecting our communities will position Colby for continued strength,” especially at a time when security on college and university campuses has become increasingly complex.  “Bob also demonstrates a keen ability to build relationships, which is an important element of this role.  We look forward to welcoming him to Colby,” Terp said in the release.  Williams will lead a staff of 40 employees at Colby and will manage and administer safety programming, facility security, compliance training, emergency preparedness and critical incident management.  “As a native of central Maine, I have watched Colby continue to rise,” Williams said in the release.  “I am drawn to Colby’s commitment to excellence, something that I have continually worked toward as a member of the Maine State Police.  After a full career in law enforcement, I am excited about the opportunity to interact with a whole new community.”  Williams is a graduate of the University of Maine in Augusta and earned a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Husson University.  He also attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  He began a career in law enforcement in 1983 as an officer in the Pittsfield Police Department.  He later became a state trooper in Skowhegan for 11 years, rising to the rank of sergeant.  He eventually became a lieutenant in the communications unit, and in 2000 rose to the rank of major. In 2007 he was named lieutenant colonel.



New York State Troopers assist childhood friend of Parkland Shooting Victim by purchasing airline ticket to Florida

NYSP Pay for airline ticket

Two New York state troopers are being credited with an immense kindness after they paid for the flight of a young woman to Florida to say goodbye to her friend, one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.   Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News that she was devastated to learn that her childhood friend, Meadow Pollack, was among the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at her alma mater.

Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, and Judson were lifelong friends, NBC News reported.  “They were like our second family our whole lives,” Judson said of the Pollacks.  A photo of Meadow Pollack, one of the 17 victims killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sits against a cross as part of a public memorial in Parkland Florida.  Judson said she showed up at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the day after the shooting, frantic to get a flight home to Florida, where she’d grown up.  “As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” she said.   Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski spotted the distraught young woman and asked if she was all right.  She tearfully explained that a friend was killed in the school shooting in Florida and that she needed help figuring out where to buy her ticket.   The troopers led her inside to the JetBlue counter, where an agent told her a one-way ticket to Florida would be almost $700. Unable to afford the cost, she begged the agent to lower the price or allow her a bereavement discount.  The agent could not accommodate her, and was about to give the ticket to another passenger when Troy and Karasinski stepped in.  “I look up, and the state troopers are standing there and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC News.  “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this.  This is crazy.  They said, ‘It’s already done.  We want you to be home with their families.’” 

A rabbi who sat Shiva with the Pollack family confirmed that Judson made it home to be with the family and to attend Meadow’s funeral on Friday, where the Miami Herald reported that she was described as a star with “a smile like sunshine.”