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.
New class starts state trooper training
63 law enforcement officers from Kentucky began training classes Sunday at the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort, Kentucky. According to a release, the intensive training program is designed for any current officers who want to become Kentucky State Troopers. The course, Cadet Class 95, is a condensed 12-week course for the current officers with two years of Kentucky Police Officer Professional Standards law enforcement experience. Officers also take a variety of physical fitness tests and running exercises within the first day of class. Officials say 41 of the 63 officers in the class are from different Kentucky police departments, 17 come from county sheriff's offices or departments, three are KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers, and two come from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Combined, the 63 officers represent 28 different Kentucky police departments, 12 sheriff's offices, and two state agencies.
State Troopers give kids new bike helmets, footballs, basketballs
New Jersey State Police handed out bike helmets, footballs, basketballs, and car sets to area residents over the weekend, dispensing safety information along with hot dogs and cold drinks for the station’s annual “bike helmet giveaway.” The annual event, aimed primarily at kids and getting them to wear bike helmets, has turned into a community get-together – a chance for troopers and area folks to get to know one another. “We’re just trying to bless the community and get the message out about bike safety,” said Lt. Doug Pearson, Woodbine Station commander. “This is also a way to build a relationship between state police and the community.” Pearson and the troopers at the barracks pulled the event together with the help of sponsors, including Gentilini Ford, Acme Markets in Seaville, and Sea Isle Ice. This year, troopers were able to give away two new bicycles in a free raffle to the kids, as well as several large boxes of footballs, basketballs and soccer balls. Winning the two bicycles were Joseph Young and Nahjaye Wright. Wayne Shelton, a retired state trooper, and Sheriff’s Officer Erica Franco attended the event to help people correctly install the car seats that were also freely given to parents and caregivers. More than 50 people visited the station Saturday, May 20, choosing from a like number of helmets, as well as picking up sports equipment for their children. Pearson took the names and addresses of those who didn’t get a ball to drop one off at a later date for the young ones. On the lawn spreading out in front of the station, kids played with the footballs and rode their bikes on the wide sidewalk, while their parents had hot dogs and sodas with the state police. Two young women who had volunteered to help with the event are sisters, and both have backgrounds in education. Nicole Continisio is a counselor at Woodbine Elementary School. Her sister, Allie Baumgartner, teaches in Pleasantville. “This is a good way to bring the community together,” Pearson said.