Iowa State troopers issue far more tickets for texting

Iowa State Texting tickets

The number of texting while driving tickets has skyrocketed in the two months since the newly enacted law calling for tougher punishments for offenders took effect July 1.  The Iowa State Patrol has issued 230 tickets and 135 warnings for texting while driving since July 1, far more than troopers issued all last year.  State patrol troopers issued fewer than 175 tickets for texting in 2016.  “I’m just watching people’s behaviors as they go by,” Trooper Durk Pearston said.  Officials say it will cost you if you don't put the phone down.  A KCCI crew rode along with the Iowa State Patrol, and it didn't take long to find someone breaking the law.  “The guy had his cell phone, still has it in his right hand there, but had it down in his lap by the steering wheel,” Pearston said.  Alex Dinkla, an Iowa State Patrol spokesperson, said with the law being so new, they have to come up with creative ways to catch drivers in the act.  Watching driving habits isn’t easy in a marked car.  “Any time we have a marked law enforcement unit, full light bars, full stickers on the car, is people will instantly see that unit and they put their phone down and we know that right afterwards, they’re probably picking that phone back up,” Dinkla said.  Some people are so intrigued by their phone, even that doesn't stop them.  “We’re finding it is pretty personnel intensive, so that way we can try to find people that are texting and driving but also to be able to prosecute those charges as well,” Dinka said.  Officials said though talking on your phone is not illegal, it can be just as much of a distraction.  “You’re driving for yourself. But you also have to drive for everybody else on the road that might be on their phone or texting while driving,” Pearston said.  Officers are using unmarked vehicles and plain-clothed troopers to catch motorists, but it can still be difficult for them to spot violations, said Maj. Randy Kunert, who heads the state patrol’s field operations.  “The districts reported success in finding some violations, but indicated it is still a hard violation to detect,” he said.  “It is very personnel intensive and often only one or two traffic stops were made per hour.”  Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, said the enforcement efforts send a strong message to the community that texting while driving isn’t acceptable.  “You know, the word gets out and people will say, ‘Hey, I got a ticket for texting while driving,’ and that is going to reverberate with folks,” Kapucian said.  Texting while driving increases the risk of crashing more than 20 times when compared to driving while not distracted, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The fine for texting while driving is $30, but court costs bring the total cost to about $100, according to the Legislative Services Agency.  Forty-seven states prohibit texting while driving and 15 ban drivers from using hand-held cellphones altogether, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

9/5/17

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California Highway Patrol cracks joke after spotting deer on Bay Bridge

CHP Deer on Golden Gate Bridge

A deer was spotted on the Bay Bridge early Tuesday, and CHP Oakland's Twitter account couldn't help but be a bit punny.  "This morning our officers stopped a doe for toll evasion, on the Bay Bridge," a tweet from the law enforcement agency's Twitter account read.  "She said she usually pays it, but today she was a buck short."  A number of people responded to the tweet with praise.  Tuesday's sighting wasn't the first time deer have decided to hop on a popular Bay Area bridge. Back in 2014, a pair of deer were seen scampering around on the Golden Gate Bridge.

9/1/17

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North Carolina State Highway Patrol mourns loss of young Honorary Trooper

NCHP Honorary Trooper

Troopers statewide are in mourning after Honorary Trooper Howell Brown, III. passed away Friday, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.   According to Troopers, Howell was known for his smile and his spirit.  Highway Patrol says after being inducted, Howell immediately became a member of the Patrol family, often spending time with troopers on and off duty.  He served as an inspiration to many, never allowing his medical condition to deter his positive outlook.  Never wavering from opportunity, Howell accompanied Troopers to several events, including the NC State Fair and an entire 18-hole game of golf.  "Howell provided an example for each of us to live by", said Col. Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol.  "Although he is no longer with us, we will never forget the positive influence he provided for so many."  A funeral service has been scheduled to take place at Duke Chapel in Durham followed by a private burial.  The State Highway Patrol's Honor Guard will provide full honors during the service, along with remarks provided by Col. Glenn McNeill Jr.

8/31/17

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Florida Highway Patrol graduates 33 new troopers

FHP Graduation August 2017

Friday, the 136th basic recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) graduated from the FHP Training Academy.  These 33 new troopers join the more than 1,900 troopers who patrol Florida’s roads each day to provide safety and security to residents and visitors.  “These new Florida Highway Patrol troopers have made the commitment to serve as heroes in our state, selflessly putting the needs of others above their own,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes.  “As troopers, their interactions with the public will have a lasting, positive impact and their dedication to protecting lives will ultimately help achieve our mission of highway safety and security.”  Members of the 136th basic recruit class went through 28 weeks of intense physical and classroom training covering topics including firearms, defensive tactics, law, vehicle operations and first aid.  While at the FHP Training Academy, recruits also participated in several community service activities, including blood drives and volunteering to help those living with developmental disabilities.  “It is an honor to welcome our newest recruit class to the ranks of trooper,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.  “We are proud of our history, and we are pleased to have new troopers to carry on FHP’s commitment toward A Safer Florida.”  “It has been an honor and a privilege to welcome 33 of Florida’s newest law enforcement officers to the Florida Highway Patrol.  FHP has a long tradition of exceptional service to our state and I commend these recruits for selflessly dedicating themselves to public service,” said Senator Rob Bradley.

8/29/17

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$1M worth of weed found by West Virginia State Troopers

WVSP Marijuana Bust

Troopers from the West Virginia State Police - Charles Town Detachment were alerted to 110 Alla Willa Drive under the suspicion that a wanted fugitive from Carroll County, Md. was residing there.  "I went there - nobody answered the door.  However, myself and two other troopers with me were able to detect a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the residence," said Trooper C.J. Hill.  "When we left the residence, I applied for a search warrant based on that strong odor."  Troopers then returned to the residence on Saturday around 4 p.m. with a search warrant, and that's when they discovered an indoor grow of marijuana, which consisted of 907 marijuana plants and 212 mason jars containing marijuana "buds."  "We were at the residence about three hours removing the plants, and then there was about 10 to 11 hours of processing at the detachment following that," Trooper Hill added.  "The plants were being grown in the basement of the house, and the packaging operation was taking place on the main floor."  The grand total value of items seized is approximately $1,039,190.

8/29/17

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