South Carolina Highway Patrol shortens training to get troopers on road

SCHP Shortage

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says it wants about 950 troopers on the roads to help keep community members and drivers safe.  Currently, the division is short about 200 troopers.  The shortage has led to changes in the agency’s recruitment and training policies.  There are 759 troopers in the state, 37 are in training, but there are dozens more positions to fill and major changes are coming to make that happen.  “More manpower.  I think if you look everywhere in the state, we’re needing troopers,” says Cpl. Sonny Collins with the highway patrol.  Troop five, which covers Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Williamsburg, and Marlboro counties currently has 132 troopers.  In an effort to hire more people state-wide, Cpl. Collins says they’re changing to an immediate turnaround in their application process and cutting training hours.  Prior to the changes, Cpl. Collins says a certified officer would still have to go through 12 weeks of training at the academy to become a trooper.  “With the four weeks compressed for the certified officers, I feel like that’s going to be a good calling card for those already seasoned, trained officers to come to us because before, they would have to go through multiple weeks at the academy – up to twelve weeks,” explains Cpl. Collins.  Now certified officers won’t have to go back to the academy, they’ll just have four weeks of advanced training, and training in their county.  Uncertified officers will now spend 12 weeks at the academy and 12 weeks training with the highway patrol and the county they’ll patrol.  “With the old process, it was taking so long to get people through the process and then the academy because of the weeks of training, we were only able to get classes two times a year, sometimes three,” says Cpl. Collins.  “So, those numbers were just not growing as fast as we needed them to do by doing this new way.  We feel like the numbers can come up much quicker and therefore reach our goal.”  Cpl. Collins says because the training quality is the same, and continued education will be implemented, they’re not worried officers will be any less qualified.  “We’re not lowering our standards by any means, but we’re just compressing the time that it takes to get these folks trained and on the road so we can have more visibility on our highways,” states Cpl. Collins.  The South Carolina Highway Patrol has faced a shortage of troopers since the recession, Cpl. Collins says, and although they’ve advertised for the open positions on billboards, social media, and even increased pay, the division is hoping this change in training will lure new applicants to become troopers.

10/17/17

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Virginia State Police graduates 30 new troopers

VSP 126th graduation

The Commonwealth graduated its 126th generation of Virginia State Troopers on Friday, October 6.  The 30 new troopers received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including defensive tactics, crime scene investigation, ethics and leadership, survival Spanish, police professionalism, firearms, judicial procedures, officer survival, cultural diversity and crisis management.  The members of the 126th Basic Session began their 29 weeks of academic, physical and practical training at the Academy March 23, 2017.  Upon graduation, the new troopers will report to their individual duty assignments across Virginia beginning Oct. 10, 2017, for their final phase of training.  Each trooper will spend an additional six weeks paired up with a Field Training Officer learning his or her new patrol area.

10/11/17

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State troopers seize large amount of marijuana

MSP Seize Marijuana

After following up on a tip about marijuana growing on public property near Petoskey, the Michigan State Police reported that its troopers seized 30 such plants from that location on Monday.  State police said troopers from the Gaylord post received a tip Monday about an outdoor marijuana growing operation hidden off a walking trail, on public property in Emmet County’s Bear Creek Township.  The witness who called it in had seen a man walking around in the area tending to some plants, and after further investigation noticed it was marijuana growing in pots and contacted law enforcement, according to state police Lt. Derrick Carroll.  The troopers made contact with the individual and, through investigation, concluded he was the suspect.  “Upon interviewing him (suspect) and doing some search warrants, they (troopers) determined he was the suspect,” Carroll said.  “They recovered fertilizer and other equipment that this person was using to grow these plants outdoors.”  Uniformed troopers seized 30 marijuana plants, not yet mature, from the outdoor operation.  According to Carroll, this is the largest quantity of the plants which Gaylord-based troopers have seized this year. The officers also confiscated fertilizer, magnesium and a vehicle that had been used to grow the marijuana.

9/28/17

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Lawrence native's book traces roots of Massachusetts State Police, the first in the country

Mass SP History

A grammar school in Lawrence is dedicated to Henry Kemble Oliver who was a city superintendent, mayor, school committee member and state representative.  In a new book written by a Lawrence native, we also learn Oliver was also one of the first deputy constables, the historical equivalent of today's state trooper, in Massachusetts.  Similarly, to a state police detective, Oliver was specifically tasked with investigating child labor in mills and factories some 149 years ago.  Oliver's yearlong investigation ended in 1868 "with two scathing reports to the Legislature detailing how the current school law 'was so thoroughly emasculated as to render it of no effect whatever,'" according to Ronald Guilmette's new book titled "First to Serve."  "He wrote of 'righting the downright wrong of keeping at work, young children pent up in a factory room, continuously, day after day, and those days of twelve and fourteen hours each, in some instances, without interruption for education and recreation,'" Guilmette wrote.  The culmination of four years of research by Guilmette, "First to Serve" is a 200-page historical book that traces the birth of Massachusetts State Police, the nation's oldest state police agency, from its inception in 1865 and through the next 10 years.  The majority who first served on state police were Civil War veterans, said Guilmette, 70, a Lawrence native who himself served 31 years on the Massachusetts State Police retiring in 1999 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Then, they were appointed as deputy constables.  "Today, we know them as troopers," he said.  "I just got hooked on reading some of these guys' stories," said Guilmette, a father of four and grandfather of five who lives at Salisbury Beach.  His introduction in the book notes: "Alcohol was the genesis for the state police force and the primary reason why several other New England states looked to establish state police forces during the nineteenth century."  Other reasons a state police force was needed included gambling, houses of ill repute and general lawlessness including a lack of policing in rural communities, he wrote.  But driving the state police's birth was "a total disregard for alcohol enforcement in major cities, primarily due to political influence," Guilmette wrote.  His research revealed there were 335 deputy constables that served during that initial decade of the Massachusetts State Police.  The average length of service was 2 1/2 years and the constables were everything from farmers, shoemakers, cotton spinners, blacksmiths, dentists, doctors and more.  Many were immigrants including one deputy constable who "was born at sea while crossing the Atlantic to his new home in America," Guilmette wrote.  "The pay for a constable was three dollars per day; there were no benefits and no pension.  Constables were assaulted, shot, stabbed, arrested, had their horses stolen and poisoned, their houses and barns burned to the ground, were falsely accused of crimes, suspended for lack of budgeting, and in some cases forced to resign."  "Still they forged on and established a legacy that would survive the test of time," wrote Guilmette in the book's introduction.  Guilmette said he looked to the state archives for information on the deputy constables but found information there was scarce or nonexistent.  Newspaper reports from the time, however, helped Guilmette shape short biographical sketches of the constables including where they were from, married, settled, served and buried. Reporters' accounts in the newspapers also detailed "arrests and adventures of the early constables," he said.  Guilmette included newspaper accounts from that time in the self-published book.  Proceeds benefit the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center in Grafton.  The cost of Guilmette's book is $19.95 plus $3 for shipping and can be purchased by emailing him at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

9/27/17

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Maryland State Police welcome new cadaver dog

Maryland SP K 9

The Maryland State Police K-9 Unit has welcomed its first human remains detection dog in two decades to their ranks.  Skye, a 3-year old springer spaniel, is currently one of only three law enforcement human remains detection dogs in Maryland, according to a news release from the Maryland State Police.  She officially began work on Sept. 13 and will be made available to allied Maryland police agencies that may require the services of a cadaver dog.  Ron Snyder, public information officer for the MSP Office of Media Communications, said a cadaver dog is brought in when police are searching for a person that is believed to be deceased.  “Cadaver dogs are trained differently from search and rescue dogs, which are utilized to find living humans and not detect decomposing flesh,” he said.  Skye’s handler is Sgt. Rick Kelly, a 15-year veteran of the K-9 Unit based out of Barrack A Waterloo in Jessup, and she is assigned to the Special Operations Command.  According to the release, Skye was donated to the MSP on June 24 and underwent training leading up to her official start this month.  Two handlers from the FBI Evidence Response Team Unit, Forensic K9 Consulting — Wynn Warren and Jay Topoleski — trained Skye in the detection of human remains and they were also involved with her MSP training, according to the release.  The MSP K-9 Unit has been in operation since 1961, with K-9’s assisting in drug detection, search and rescue, explosive detection and criminal apprehension.  Currently the MSP employs 32 handlers and 41 K-9’s throughout the state, according to the release.

9/26/17

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