Vermont State Police launch year-round prescription drug drop boxes
Vermont State Police barracks across the Green Mountain State now have the capability to accept unused and unwanted prescription medication from members of the public year-round. This expansion of secure drop box locations to the lobbies of state police barracks across the state will give Vermonters a convenient and safe way to remove these “most dangerous leftovers” from their homes. The service is made possible through a new agreement with the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, which administers the prescription drug take-back program statewide. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which spearheads the semi-annual National Drug Take Back Day initiative, then will safely destroy these drugs. Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas D. Anderson; Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD; Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux; the DEA and others unveiled the new initiative during a news conference Monday at the Vermont State Police barracks in Williston. The Vermont State Police is joining 10 sheriffs’ departments and 39 law-enforcement agencies throughout the state that accept prescription medication from the public for safe, secure disposal year-round. Six of the 10 VSP barracks already have been outfitted with drop boxes. Two more barracks are coming online shortly. Public safety and health officials called the drop boxes a welcome addition to the array of opportunities for people to clean out their medicine cabinets. In addition to kiosks located at hospitals and pharmacies, the Health Department has introduced mail-back envelopes for safe and secure drug disposal. The successful semi-annual state and federal Prescription Drug Take Back Day partnership also will continue, with the next one scheduled for Oct. 27. “This gives us another opportunity to get this poison out of Vermonters’ medicine cabinets,” Public Safety Commissioner Anderson said, noting that state police worked closely with the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department and the DEA to ensure adequate security and safety protocols are in place at all barracks where prescription drug drop boxes are located. Vermont State Police Director Col. Matthew T. Birmingham and Sheriff Marcoux signed a comprehensive memorandum of understanding to administer the program earlier this year. “Having drop boxes at state police barracks is another way to make it easier and safer for Vermonters to dispose of these potentially dangerous leftover medications,” Sheriff Marcoux said. “Adding the Vermont State Police to the list of law-enforcement agencies with year-round drop boxes shows strong solidarity with other departments and leadership from Commissioner Anderson.” Health Commissioner Mark Levine said one of the keys to prevention is taking unused drugs out of the equation. “We know that many people who misused prescription pain relievers first got them from a friend’s or relative’s medicine cabinet. Drug disposal innovations are important because, while not everyone has the time or ability to get to a drop-off location, almost everyone has medications they no longer need,” Dr. Levine said. “Vermont’s financial and strategic commitment to take on substance-use disorders includes doing everything we can to help stop addiction from starting – and ensure Vermonters who struggle with the challenges of addiction receive treatment and succeed in their recovery.” Since the statewide program began in August 2017, the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department has collected more than 12,000 pounds of unwanted, unused prescription medication, including some 4,400 pounds so far in 2018.
Wisconsin State Patrol trooper fills up a man's gas tank after pulling him over
A Wisconsin State Patrol trooper is being praised for what he did to help someone he pulled over. Trooper Thomas Van Egeren pulled over Chase Ponchaud on Interstate 41 in Brown County earlier this month because Ponchaud's license plates had expired. After the traffic stop, Ponchaud's car wouldn't start, so the trooper used his squad car to push the vehicle to the nearest gas station. But his help didn't stop there. Ponchaud says the trooper "took out his card and just started filling up my tank and I was just like, you don't gotta do that, and he insisted." "Underneath the hat and behind the badge here, I'm just like everybody else," Van Egeren says. "I saw somebody that needed a little extra hand and figured why not."
New Jersey State Police send helicopter to lift spirits of preschooler with cancer
A 2-year-old with a fast-moving form of cancer was treated to a visit by a state police helicopter Wednesday. Cole McKeon is a big fan of airplanes, and his father, Ridgewood Officer Kevin McKeon, said "his eyes lit up" when the helicopter touched down on the field behind Ridgewood police headquarters. “We would take weekly trips down to Teterboro Airport. They’ll fly over the corner of the Walmart parking lot, and we’d go down there and watch them land,” said McKeon. The special visit was made possible when State Trooper Evan Curtiss, a member of the Ridgewood Emergency Services, contacted McKeon to say he would be in the area on Aug. 15. “We were just waiting for a good day with weather and for Cole to be feeling well,” said McKeon. “He got very excited. His eyes lit up because I don’t think he expected it to land. We said, ‘Oh, that’s Mr. Evans up there.’ And then all of a sudden, it started lowering. He starts pointing like ‘come down, come down.’ And then when he landed, Cole was like ‘OK, take off.’” Curtiss gave Cole a state police jumpsuit with his name on it, which will be his Halloween costume. “It was a really nice thing for them to do,” said McKeon. “So many people have done so much for us, it’s above and beyond anything I’ve seen.” The McKeons are Ridgewood residents. Cole McKeon is undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma, which typically affects children under 10. He was diagnosed with cancer days shortly after his second birthday. Neuroblastoma starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells, most often found in an embryo or fetus. Doctors found the cancer near Cole's kidney. It later spread throughout his body and reached his bone marrow.
Wisconsin State Patrol will use airplanes to help reduce speeding
Wisconsin state troopers can now catch people speeding from the air. In a new effort to help keeps the roads safer, state trooper will start using airplanes to help detect speeding. The planes will use technology to help calculate if cars are going over the limit. If they are, a description will be given to a nearby state trooper. Highway patrol is hoping that this new technology helps to limit crashes that are caused by speeding. "We will be doing several aircraft details throughout the Wausau region. In an effort to get people to slow down and abide by Wisconsin laws. It's more of a highway safety factor again, with speed being a leading factor in crashes. We want to reduce the number of crashes and enhance highway safety," says Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant Matthew Strickland. Portage county will be the first county to use this new method.
Highway patrol says that the planes should be in the air on August 16th.