Virginia State Police mourns the loss of two officers

VSP Bates killed in line of duty collage



Trooper Pilot Berke Bates and Lieutenant Pilot Jay Cullen were killed when their Bell 407 helicopter crashed into a wooded area in a residential neighborhood on Old Farm Road in Albemarle County, Virginia, at approximately 6:30 pm.  They were in the area to monitor civil unrest that was occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a large protest.  The helicopter had just taken off to monitor the Virginia governor's motorcade after he arrived in the area to assess the situation.  The helicopter experienced some sort of issue before crashing into the trees and becoming engulfed in flames.  Trooper Bates and Lieutenant Cullen were killed in the crash.

Trooper Bates had served with the Virginia State Police for 13 years and was assigned to the Aviation Unit.  He had previously served with the Florida Highway Patrol for six years.  He is survived by his wife and his twin son and daughter. He was killed the day before his 41st birthday.

Lieutenant Cullen had served with the Virginia State Police for 23 years and was assigned as the commander of the Aviation Unit. He is survived by his wife and two sons.





Forty-one Cadets graduate from Kentucky State Police Academy

VSP August 2017 graduation

The Kentucky State Police Academy presented diplomas to 41 new troopers at ceremonies held in Frankfort Friday.  Their addition to the force brings the agency’s strength to a total of 866 troopers serving the citizens of the Commonwealth.  KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the addition of these newly-graduated troopers will help with the current strength, but does not come close to resolving the agency’s shortage of personnel.  “Like other police agencies, we have been challenged with maintaining our strength of active officers in light of retirements and attrition,” Sanders said.  “In 2000, the agency manpower was more than 1,000.  Yet, we are doing more today with fewer personnel and resources than we had back then.  To add to this dilemma, we are servicing a higher population while seeing new crime that we didn’t have in the past such as human trafficking, electronic sexual exploitation of children and the potential threat of terrorism.”  Sanders went on to say that “the role of law enforcement has developed exponentially to meet the needs of an ever-changing society, and KSP is a significantly more specialized agency compared to the past. With more troopers working in specialized capacities that means fewer troopers available to respond to calls for service.”  The new troopers are part of the agency’s 95th cadet class, which was the agency’s fourth Law Enforcement Accelerated Program (LEAP), a condensed course for current officers who have two years of Kentucky Police Officer Professional Standards (POPS) law enforcement experience.  They reported for duty on May 21, 2016 in a class that consisted of 63 cadets.  Twenty-two resigned during the program.  The training included more than 500 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigations, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, land navigation, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials.




North Dakota Highway Patrol makes 183-pound marijuana bust

NDHP Marijuana Bust

The North Dakota Highway Patrol arrested a California man Monday after finding 183 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop.  The man was headed eastbound on I-94 between Mandan and Bismarck.  He was pulled over for minor traffic violations in a construction zone.  The trooper detected a strong marijuana smell and the driver, 71-year-old Harold Miller, admitted to having marijuana in the vehicle.  Miller was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the street value of the marijuana is $700,000 and is one of their largest drug busts.



Channing Tatum visits Kentucky State troopers

KSP Channing Tatum

Before coming to Knoxville for a benefit, actor Channing Tatum made a stop in Harlan, Kentucky.  Tatum visited Kentucky State Troopers to learn about the “Shop with a Trooper” project and other initiatives.  The star will be in Knoxville Wednesday for the screening of his upcoming movie “Logan Lucky” at the Regal Cinemas Pinnacle 18.  The screening will benefit Variety – The Children’s Charity of Eastern Tennessee.



South Carolina Highway Patrol, emergency officials prep for 2 million visitors for the eclipse

SCHP solar eclipse

Planning a road trip for this month’s big eclipse?  Be prepared for traffic, and for a heavy law enforcement presence.  “Any of those major thoroughfares or major routes, we will be monitoring them on a 24/7 basis the weekend before and day of the eclipse,” said Lance Cpl. Matt Southern.  The exact number of state troopers stationed between Beaufort County and Charleston along I-95 or U.S. 17 could not be provided, but additional manpower from South Carolina Highway Patrol headquarters and State Transport Police is being added across the Palmetto State.  The State recently reported that 160 extra state troopers will be stationed along the I-26 corridor between Columbia and Charleston during the eclipse. While the major roads leading into the path of the eclipse from Beaufort County will certainly have significant monitoring from the Highway Patrol, there is a reason more northern cities and roads are receiving special attention.  “The path of the eclipse goes from Greenville into Columbia and then down into Charleston, so that is why there is such a major focus there,” said Southern.  Planning for the eclipse began last year for the Highway Patrol, which has partnered with the state’s Emergency Management Division and Department of Transportation to prepare for the eclipse, and Southern feels confident that together they are ready to handle the additional traffic burden it will bring on.  “This is not a natural disaster,” said Southern.  “We plan all the time for natural disasters, hurricanes and things where there’s a lot of traffic.  We know the exact timetable on the eclipse, so we’re able to put our resources in place ahead of it and be ready on an exact timetable.”  Anywhere between a half million and 2 million people are expected to travel to South Carolina for the eclipse, which will have a major impact on roads throughout the state.  The South Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to suspend lane closures the weekend of the eclipse, and the Emergency Management Division has formulated a readiness plan.  “Be prepared for a lot of people,” said Derrec Becker, public information officer with SCEMD.  “Go ahead and make sure your car is filled up with gas.  Go ahead and buy groceries.  Give yourself extra time to get where you need to go, and prepare for long lines.”  Rob Perry, state traffic management engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation predicts traffic on par with the 4th of July weekend, perhaps worse.  Traffic issues will be exacerbated by the fact that unlike other high traffic events which are localized to certain cities or tourist destinations, this month’s eclipse will traverse the entire state.  It should be a magical experience, but Southern stressed the importance of readiness.  “The one thing we’re asking the public is to be prepared,” said Southern.  “If you have no desire to participate in the eclipse, the best thing you can do is stay off the roads. That will really help us.  If you have to get out in traffic give yourself ample time to get from Point A to Point B and expect traffic not just on the day of the eclipse but the days leading up to it.”

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