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.



$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.



Washington Trooper pulls suicidal man back from ledge of bridge, saves life

WSP Suicidal Man

A Washington State Patrol trooper is credited with saving the life of a suicidal man on Aug. 11.  The trooper responded to the Snohomish River Bridge, where he saw a man standing on the ledge of the bridge, looking down to the water, police said.  Trooper Holodkov went to the man and spoke with him, encouraging him down from the ledge.  When Trooper Holodkov got close, the man jumped over the side of the bridge.  Police say Holodkov grabbed the man’s shirt and pulled him back.  The man was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation.  “The Washington State Patrol's motto is "Service with Humility" and we strive to make a difference every day,” police said. “The actions of Trooper Holodkov on August 11 illustrate the extent in which our Troopers are dedicated to our motto and mission even when faced with a dangerous situation.”



Louisiana State Police cadets begin intensive training to become state troopers

LSP Cadet Class August 2017

A class of Louisiana State Police cadets moves on to 20 weeks of intense training Sunday, marking a new step in their journey towards becoming state troopers.  However, getting to this point wasn’t an easy task according to the cadets and their superiors.  “Well, I’m excited to have these 36 cadets report for training and hopefully move forward in their progression in becoming an LSP trooper,” State police Superintendent Colonel Kevin W. Reeves said.  After months of academy training, cadet class 96 will head to roughly 20 weeks of training in various subjects, including advanced crash investigation, cultural diversity, effective communication, and leadership skills to name a few.  “What we want to instill in them is character, problem solving abilities, and the law enforcement techniques they will need moving forward,” Reeves said.  Candidates for state police cadet class 96 were chosen after an extensive hiring process.  That process includes a written test, physical assessment, psychological evaluation, background investigation, polygraph and oral interview.  “Well, you know, I see a lot of fear a lot of the unknown. And I remember that from my first day at the training academy.  So we look forward to them progressing through the training process,” Reeves said.  Colonel Reeves is hopeful the cadets will make it through the intense training period they are facing in the coming weeks.  “I certainly hope all of them will make it through.  During the selection process we tried to select the best candidates we could, so that’s why my hope that in 20 weeks we will graduate 20 cadets,” Reeves added.  Upon successful completion of the LSP training academy, the newly graduated cadets will participate in a 10-14 week field training program before beginning their careers of dedication, protection, and service to the citizens of Louisiana.  This is something the Colonel, says the department needs.  “As you know, we're on the edge of losing a lot of employees to retirement next year.  So this will allow us to provide the safety that the public expects.”   Cadet Class 96 is the fifth state police cadet class to be held since January of 2014.  Cadet Class 95 graduated 46 new troopers on April 5th, of this year.



At least 1,200 attend funeral for Virginia State Police pilot Jay Cullen, who died in Charlottesville helicopter crash

VSP Cullens funeral

The second of two state police pilots killed when their helicopter crashed after monitoring street violence in Charlottesville between white supremacists and counter-protesters a week ago was remembered Saturday by friends, family and Virginia’s governor for his quiet commitment to duty and leading the department’s air wing more by listening than talking.  A funeral for Lt. H. Jay Cullen — one day after services for his copilot — ran about two hours in the packed sanctuary of the Southside Church of the Nazarene, to which the service was moved from the Cullen family’s Methodist church to accommodate the overflow turnout.  At least 1,200 people attended, including hundreds of police officers from as far away as California and Texas, as well two former governors, state legislators, judges and Cabinet secretaries.  Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the state police superintendent who met Cullen 17 years ago, said aviation was Cullen’s passion and that he insisted on flying last Saturday because of his familiarly with the computerized video equipment the department used to coordinate the police response to the violence in Charlottesville.  It included the death of a counter-protester allegedly mowed down by a car driven by a white nationalist who has been charged with second-degree murder.  “He listened more than he talked, and when he said something, it was because he had something relevant to say,” Flaherty said of Cullen, adding — to knowing chuckles that rippled across the sanctuary — that the 48-year-old officer who joined state police in 1994 also could make his point with a “wry smile.”  Cullen’s funeral was a moving blend of emotion and precision, opening and closing with the moan of bagpipes and snap of snare drums played by officers from Virginia and other states.  After seven state police pallbearers bore Cullen’s cremated remains to a gray hearse, Gov. Terry McAuliffe presented a folded Virginia flag to Cullen’s widow, Karen, who quietly sobbed.  Police helicopters from nine states flew over the church one by one, the thwack-thwack-thwack of their rotors a tribute to Cullen.  Also — as is the custom at a police funeral — the fallen officer’s badge number is called, approximating the end-of-shift protocol when a trooper goes off duty.  Three times, Nancy Parker, a dispatcher in the Richmond division of state police, called Cullen’s badge number, 71, before announcing, “no contact.”  The ritual was broadcast by radio across the division, which included the state police aviation division Cullen joined in 1999.  In addition to McAuliffe and his wife, Dorothy, the Cullen funeral was attended by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor; Attorney General Mark Herring; former governors Tim Kaine and Jim Gilmore; House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights; Ed Gillespie, the Republican gubernatorial candidate; and Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier, her party’s nominee for lieutenant governor.  McAuliffe, among several chief executives flown by Cullen, said that Cullen — a lean, cycling enthusiast, the husband of a cancer-surviving school teacher and the father of two teenage sons — was a “silent giant” and a “serious, safety-conscious pilot” with whom the politician shared a love of dogs and sports.  “It won’t be the same when I step into that helicopter without Jay in the right front seat, with ‘Cullen’ on the back of his helmet,” said McAuliffe, who described himself and the first lady as “heartbroken” over the deaths of Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.  A funeral for Bates, a former member of McAuliffe’s security detail, was held Friday at St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Henrico County.  McAuliffe said that on Friday night he gathered with officers from across Virginia and other states in a Shockoe Bottom nightspot favored by Bates for “an Irish wake for the two Irishmen,” hoisting glasses of Jameson whiskey to the troopers.  The governor later tweeted photographs of the gathering.