Maryland State Police welcomes new K-9 teams named after fallen troopers
After 26 weeks of intense training, five dual-purpose K-9 teams graduated on Friday to become part of the Maryland State Police Special Operations Division K-9 Unit. The class is made up of two current handlers, two new handlers from Maryland State Police and one patrol officer from the Easton Police Department. Of these five teams, three of the newly certified K-9s have each been named in honor of one of the Maryland State Police’s 43 fallen heroes. K-9 Plank, a German shepherd, is paired with Cpl. Dana Orndorff and was named in honor of Trooper First Class Edward Plank. TFC Plank, 28, was killed on October 17, 1995 when he was shot by a suspect after conducting a traffic stop on U.S. Route 13 in Princess Anne. K-9 Plank and Cpl. Orndorff will be assigned to the Berlin Barrack. K-9 Hunter, a Belgian malinois, is paired with Trooper First Class Shawn Brown and is named in honor of TFC Shaft Hunter. TFC Hunter, 39, who was also a member of the K-9 Unit, was killed on May 21, 2011 when his patrol car collided with the back of a tractor-trailer that was parked on the shoulder of I-95 in Howard County. It is believed that he was pursuing a speeding motorcycle when the collision occurred. K-9 Hunter and TFC Brown will be assigned to the Westminster Barrack. K-9 Wade, a German shepherd, is paired with Trooper First Class Kyle Morrison and is named in honor of Trooper Gary Wade. On Janurary 30, 1982, Trooper Wade, 25, was struck and killed by a motorist who ran off the roadway striking the trooper and his car. The incident occurred on the JFK Memorial Highway just outside of Havre de Grace. K-9 Wade and TFC Morrison are assigned to the North East Barrack, the same barrack where Trooper Wade served. The other graduates include K-9 Drake, a German shepherd, and Master Trooper James Layton, who are assigned to the Cumberland Barrack. K-9 Kato is heading to the Easton Police Department with PFC Stephen Tindall. The K-9 teams will be utilized for drug detection and patrol/utility work. The Maryland State Police K-9 unit has been in operation for over nearly 60 years and consists of 33 troopers and 41 K-9s.
Rhode Island State Police announce program to fight opioid epidemic
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of this problem.” It’s a saying familiar to those who dedicate their lives to combating drug addiction. Seeing the message on a screen in a roomful of law enforcement officers, though, was jarring for Tom Coderre, who battled drug addiction and is a senior adviser to Gov. Gina Raimondo. “I nearly fell over,” he said. But the new Heroin-Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) Initiative relies on law enforcement officers to work with clinicians and recovery coaches in identifying individuals at risk of overdosing and guiding them on a path toward treatment and recovery. Eighty officers from the Rhode Island State Police and municipal departments attended a daylong training Monday at the Roger Williams University’s Baypoint Conference Center for the program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Police will focus on patients being discharged from the hospital after suffering an overdose, inmates who received substance-abuse treatment in prison and are being released, and those who miss a court date for a drug charge, said Col. Ann Assumpico, the superintendent of the State Police. She called the 1,673 overdoses last year in Rhode Island, including 323 fatalities, “unacceptable,” especially for law enforcement officers whose mission it is to ensure the public’s health and safety. “We will get people help, which is what the HOPE Initiative is all about,” Assumpico said. The program will be coordinated by the State Police, which will partner with the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Prevention and Intervention; the Department of Health; the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, according to a State Police statement. State and federal grants will fund the program. Raimondo, who attended the announcement Monday, said of the many issues she confronts as governor, the opioid epidemic is “definitely one that keeps me up at night the most.” She noted that addiction afflicts people across all backgrounds — young and old, rich and poor — and is in “every neighborhood, every family.” Like many places across the country, Rhode Island has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic. According to statistics from the Department of Health, there was an initial spike in accidental drug overdose deaths from 2011, when there were eight, to 2012, with 183. The number of deaths climbed each of the next four years, reaching 336 in 2016 before dropping slightly last year. Through May of this year, there were 157 such deaths.
Florida Highway Patrol graduates 68 new troopers
September 28, the 139th basic recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) graduated from the FHP Training Academy. These 68 troopers join the more than 1,900 troopers who patrol Florida’s roads each day to provide safety and security to residents and visitors. “I am very proud to welcome the 139th Recruit Class to the Florida Highway Patrol and appreciate their commitment to serve the state of Florida,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “These new troopers selflessly chose to take the oath to put the safety and well-being of others above all else.” Members of the 139th basic recruit class went through 28 weeks of intense physical and classroom training covering topics including defensive tactics, law, vehicle operations, firearms 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 a privilege to welcome our newest recruit class to the ranks of trooper,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “These men and women will carry on the Patrol’s dedication of Courtesy, Service and Protection for the residents and visitors of Florida.” Senator Bill Montford delivered the keynote address to FHP’s newest Troopers. “The members of the 139th Recruit Class are committed to the highest standard of service and mission of the Florida Highway Patrol,” said Senator Bill Montford. “Their dedication and their families sacrifice to keep Florida safe should be commended.” Upon reporting to their duty stations, the new Troopers will be placed with a certified Field Training Officer (FTO). Troopers will work in tandem with their FTO for 10 to 14 weeks prior to being released to solo duty.
North Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 31 new troopers
The State Highway Patrol welcomed 31 new troopers at a graduation ceremony for the 145th Basic Highway Patrol School. The ceremony ended 29 weeks of demanding training preparing them for a rewarding career of service to the state of North Carolina. The ceremony was held at the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Mark D. Martin, Supreme Court of North Carolina. Col. G. M. McNeill Jr., the 27th commander of the State Highway Patrol, provided remarks to those in attendance. “You have been called to be a part of something bigger than one’s self, an organization that is striving to reduce collisions and keeps the highways of North Carolina as safe as possible,” said McNeill. “Some people have a calling and never act on it. You were brave enough to take that important next step; you acted and answered that important call.” The cadets will report to their respective duty stations on Oct. 3 to begin a demanding field training program.