More than 1,000 ticketed during Illinois State Police distracted-driving blitz
If drivers didn’t know then, they should have heard by now that last week was distracted driver awareness week. And police around the state issued tickets. Lots of tickets. Illinois State Police said from April 24-28, troopers statewide issued 1,146 distracted-driving tickets and 984 distracted-driving warnings. It wasn’t just about writing tickets. Troopers and police also wanted to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted. “I am extremely proud of the enforcement efforts by the ISP. Our officers proudly represented the ISP in this statewide campaign,” said ISP Col. Tad Williams. “Additionally, our Safety Education Officers did a great job educating the motoring public through a number of press conferences, media releases and multitude of social media contacts.” The use of cell phones for all drivers, regardless of age, while operating a vehicle in a school zone or construction zone is prohibited under Illinois law. Using a cell phone to text, compose, read or send electronic messages or access the Internet while driving is illegal. The violation for the first offense is $120 and can increase with multiple violations or when a violation occurs in a work or school zone. Texting and driving is a choice that requires drivers to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task of driving, according to state police. Illinois State Police have been asking all motorists to “Drop it and Drive.” Swansea and Fairview Heights police also conducted a recent crackdown aimed at distracted driving. In two hours on April 27, Swansea and Fairview Heights officers set up on the corner of Illinois 159 and Frank Scott Parkway — a spot that has seen 65 accidents since 2015. An officer on a grassy corner set up with binoculars, looking for drivers on their phones, while officers in their cars stopped the offending drivers. In two hours, the task force issued 39 tickets.
South Carolina Highway Patrol names first female Captain
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has named its first ever female captain. The agency announced Friday that Tara Laffin has been promoted to her new rank. She succeeds Capt. E.J. Talbot, who recently announced his retirement after 27 years with the department. In her new role, she'll be the commander of the highway patrol's training division. "This is an exciting and historical day for the South Carolina Highway Patrol as we not only name the first female captain, but we have an opportunity to promote a strong and forward-thinking leader for this key unit in our agency,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “Capt. Laffin has spent her entire career with the Highway Patrol, including four years in the Training Unit. Capt. Talbot has done an outstanding job and we look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence in Training.” Laffin has been with the highway patrol for 22 years. She's most recently served as lieutenant in the Emergency Management Unit, which leads the state’s traffic response during hurricanes and other large-scale disasters. From 2007-2011, she served in the HP Training Unit as a sergeant and corporal. Prior to that, she served as a corporal in Lexington County. Capt. Laffin began her career with SCHP in 1994 in Dillon County and worked as a road trooper in Kershaw and Richland Counties.
New Mexico graduates two dozen new officers
The state has two dozen new State Police officers. The department celebrated the graduation of 24 cadets Friday morning at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The 91st recruit class spent the last 22 weeks training, and Friday they stood up taking the oath, receiving their certificates, and finally becoming State Police officers. “It makes it worth being a part of, you know, the tradition, pride and honor that we have is highly upheld,” said Allan Ramirez, NMSP graduate. Earlier this year, State Police told KRQE News 13 they were about 100 officers short.
New look for Pennsylvania State Police cars
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The color and design of Pennsylvania State Police patrol cars has stayed the same for the past 26 years...but a change is underway. Like most businesses and organizations, the State Police have undergone a re-branding strategy. The emphasis being on the men and women who wear the State Police uniform, and the uniform itself. The new color is sterling gray. It's easy to notice that the cars now match the color of the state police uniform. The new patrol cars also have the word "TROOPER" in enlarged letters along the side panels. An internal committee, comprised of employees from throughout the agency, believes the color gray has historically been associated with the Pennsylvania State Police. The committee also hopes that people will feel a sense of professionalism and security when they see the gray car with the word "TROOPER" arrive at an emergency scene. The current white cars, with black and gold trim, will slowly be replaced as they hit higher mileage over the next three years. For that reason,there's only a few gray cars on the road right now. The first one to be delivered to Erie County, last week, went to the Troop "E" recruiting officer. "It's a push for public relations. They are the eye of the State Police. They're attending the job fairs. They're in the public more often to get that image out quickly. That's why they administered those to them first,"said Tpr. Cindy Owens, PSP-Erie Community Service Officer. There was no extra cost for State Police to purchase a gray vehicle over a white one. The new cars do have extra reflective material on them that the old vehicles do not have. That material costs $67 dollars per car.