Virginia State Police Special Agent killed in line of duty
Special Agent Michael Walter was shot and killed in the 1900 block of Redd Street in Richmond, Virginia, while investigating a suspicious vehicle at approximately 7:30 pm. He and several Richmond Police Department officers were conducting high visibility patrols in the Mosby Court public housing complex due to a recent trend of shootings and other crime. The officers were approaching a vehicle parked facing the wrong direction on Redd Street. As they spoke to the two occupants of the vehicle the passenger opened fire on them, striking Special Agent Walter. Special Agent Walter was transported to VCU Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds early the following morning. The subject who shot him fled the scene but was arrested in Northumberland County, Virginia, several hours later. Special Agent Walter was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He had served with the Virginia State Police for 18 years and was assigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations' Drug Enforcement Section. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.
Path cleared for father, son to serve in State Police
A bill carving out an exception in Louisiana's nepotism law to allow new State Police Col. Kevin Reeves' son to remain with the agency won final Legislature approval here late Tuesday. Senators voted 33-4 for House Bill 308 by Rep. Jack McFarland, R-Winnfield. Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he will sign the bill into law. "I'm certainly pleased," Reeves said. "I appreciate the confidence the governor has shown in me and the trouble they've gone to for this and my son. He's enjoying his career and looking forward to carrying it on." When Edwards appointed Reeves as interim superintendent of the State Police this spring, it appeared existing ethics laws would disqualify his son, Kaleb Reeves, from continued service because the son hadn't been with the agency at least one year. Kaleb Reeves, who graduated from the State Police Academy in April, applied to the academy two years ago and began his training in November 2016, long before it was known his father might be tapped to lead the agency, according to the Edwards administration. "I'm a father first and want my son to be able to pursue the career he has chosen," Reeves told USA Today Network in a previous interview. Edwards is considering Reeves for the permanent post along with other candidates. McFarland said his bill won't weaken Louisiana's nepotism laws. "This seems like a clear case of unintended consequences," McFarland said. "Why should the son or the father be punished when they could have no prior knowledge Reeves would be named to lead the State Police?" Reeves was promoted following the retirement of longtime Col. Mike Edmonson, who retired following a scandal involving questionable travel by some troopers on the taxpayers' dime. Reeves, a Baton Rouge native who settled in Jackson Parish, began his career in 1990 at Troop A in Baton Rouge as a motorcycle officer. He transferred in 1993 to Troop F in Monroe, where he worked in the patrol divisions as a resident trooper in Jackson Parish. He was promoted to sergeant in 1998 and worked as a shift supervisor. Reeves was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and was eventually named Troop F Commander in 2008 before taking over as Region III commander in 2013.
Highway Patrol to ramp up efforts for Memorial Day
The Mississippi Highway Patrol plans to kick off its 2017 Memorial Day Travel Enforcement Period with a safety awareness initiative titled, “Drive to Survive.” The enforcement period will start Friday, May 26, at 6 p.m. and end Monday, May 29, at midnight. Motorists are encouraged to drive safely, along with making responsible decisions. With traffic expected to see a boost, all available troopers will be assigned saturation patrols in an effort to maximize visibility and reduce traffic crashes. Safety checkpoints will also be set up to prevent impaired driving and promote seatbelt usage. In 2016, MHP investigation 132 crashes with two fatalities and made 164 DUI arrests on state and federal highway systems throughout the period.
State troopers face shortage due to layoffs
At a time when troopers are in short supply, the state announced several layoffs within the police agency Tuesday. Four lieutenants, two sergeants, five troopers and the incoming class of 79 cadets were notified that due to budget cuts, they were being laid off, Fox 61 reported. Connecticut State Police Union President Andrew Matthews told the news station that 169 members are eligible for retirement. Almost 70 officers could be eligible in the next six months. The police union said a total of 86 officers, including the incoming cadet class, have been laid off. According to WTNH, the police force has dropped by more than 250 officers since 2009. “If we don’t get another class in it will affect not only the capabilities of the state police but public safety in general throughout the state,” Matthews said. Matthews said they offered the governor multiple alternatives to layoffs, including discontinuing the use of temporary workers. “The state of Connecticut actually has retired troopers that work for the agency who collect a pension and they’re allowed to work up to 960 hours a year,” he told Fox 61. “They do investigative work and they make about 34-dollars an hour so that’s roughly about 32-thousand dollars a year.” This is the first time command staff has been laid off in budget cuts, WTNH reported. The lieutenants who were cut have served with the state police for 12 to 18 years. “Some of these individuals that are gonna be getting laid off have families, have children and now they need to go home tonight and tell their spouse and their children in four weeks they’re not gonna have a job,” Captain Michael Thomas said.