Meet 'Statie" the elf, the newest Massachusetts State Police Recruit

MA Elf

Internet-savvy police departments across the country started posting images of “Elf on the Shelf” dolls to their social media accounts this month ahead of Christmas, Massachusetts State Trooper Dustin Fitch decided he wanted to buck the trend.  So he got creative.  In early December, Fitch, who handles social media operations for the state police, had a minuscule police uniform custom-tailored for an “elf,” slapped a teeny badge onto the blue suit, and then debuted to the world the newest pint-sized police recruit: “Statie” the elf.  “I just wanted to add a little holiday humor,” said Fitch of the elf doll, which has appeared on Twitter and Facebook dutifully helping officers with daily tasks. “I wanted to use an elf to humanize us. ... It shows how we are all just people, too, looking to enjoy the holidays with family and friends, like everyone else.”

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Tennessee Highway Patrol graduates 33 cadets

THP graduation December 2016

Governor Bill Haslam served as the keynote speaker for the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s graduation ceremony of Cadet Class 1216 at Tulip Grove Baptist Church in Old Hickory on Friday.  The 33 cadets earned their badges and were officially recognized as Tennessee State Troopers for the first time.  The 33 new state troopers took their oaths of office after completing 16 weeks of intense physical and classroom training at the THP Training Center.  This was THP’s first-ever lateral class, meaning 100% of the graduating class had prior law enforcement experience.  Included in the cadet class are six veterans, seven with bachelor's degrees, an associate’s degree graduate and 20 who have college experience.  “The law enforcement experience this class of cadets brings to the Tennessee Highway Patrol is impressive, and their skills and knowledge will be needed with the challenges facing state troopers today.  These cadets are putting themselves on the front lines to help protect the citizens of Tennessee and the millions of visitors to our state.  I thank them for their continued service and congratulate them on this accomplishment,” Governor Haslam said.  “It’s my privilege to join our state’s leadership today as we graduate the first lateral trooper cadet class in the history of the Highway Patrol," Commissioner David W. Purkey said.  "These men and women are going through a training academy for the second time because they recognize the responsibility of serving as a Tennessee State Trooper.  They were specifically chosen from a field of some 500 applicants, and today they will don the same uniform that I once was privileged to wear.  Congratulations to each of them as they celebrate with their families – they’ve absolutely earned this honor.”  “I am very proud of our newest trooper class,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.  “The cadets came to our training program as individuals from a variety of law enforcement backgrounds.  As they underwent an intense training regimen they bonded and became a unit.  Today I am proud to call them Tennessee State Troopers.  There is no doubt they are going to face increasing challenges, but I am confident that they are going to approach their duties with honor, pride in service, and as professional law enforcement officers.”   As part of a class community service project, Class 1216 participated in a blood drive with the American Red Cross.  The class collected 31 units of blood that served over 93 patients.  Class 1216 also collected over 700 donated food items that will be delivered to the Gatlinburg area.  The cadet class and the Tennessee State Trooper Association donated money to a fellow trooper cadet and his family that lost their home in the Gatlinburg wildfires.  The new graduates will continue their training, totaling more than 400 hours of hands on experience in the field. 

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South Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 62 new troopers

SCHP graduation picture

The South Carolina Highway Patrol announced the graduation of 62 troopers from its Highway Patrol Basic Class 100 Thursday.  According to the press release from Communications Director Sherri Iacobelli, Basic 100 brings the total number of troopers in South Carolina to 816.  Basic 101 will report to the Academy in January.  Today’s graduating class began training on July 15 and graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy on October 30.  An additional 15 prior certified officers joined on October 14. The class continued with specialized training from the Highway Patrol in all areas of law enforcement.  The SCHP Basic Training Program consists of 21 weeks of extensive law enforcement training in-residence.  After graduation, troopers must complete a minimum of 400 hours of field training.  Troopers are assigned to areas based upon population, calls for service, and the number of licensed drivers/registered vehicles in an area.  The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.

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Highway Patrol Troopers go shopping with children in Sampson County, North Carolina

NCHP kids shopping

Local Highway Patrol troopers enjoyed filling up baskets with toys such as tractors, Transformers, Legos, dolls and Pokemon.  The Sampson County branch (Troop B, District 2) took 16 children shopping for the holiday season.  Clothing items were purchased first.  Next, it was the toy section. Children were selected after letters were sent to local elementary schools and guidance counselors contacted Tina Byrd, the station’s office assistant, with suggestions.  Byrd was assisted by Trooper Evelyn Campos.  First Sgt. David Kinlaw was grateful to participants, sponsors and donors from a golf tournament held in June.  Those funds went towards helping fellow residents.  “It’s our way of giving back to the community,” he said. “It’s something we look forward to every Christmas.”  The golf tournament began in 1989 to honor deceased Trooper Randy Ward.  It began to help less fortunate children and became more popular.  Along with the Christmas shopping, troopers were able to add funds for scholarships for students attending Sampson Community College.  Kinlaw assisted with plans for the golf tournament.  Trooper Chris Strickland collected funds for the tournament. In 2015, he was helped by Sgt. Bryan Smith.  Kinlaw said the events builds a rapport with the community by helping needy families.  “Especially this year, with the hurricane and flooding and people losing their homes, it’s good that we can have something like this,” Kinlaw said about giving back to the community.  “It helps the people who are less fortunate and makes their Christmas a little bit brighter.”

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CHP Stops Truck Hauling $11 Million Worth of Heroin

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A big rig carrying nearly 120 kilograms of heroin valued at over $11 million was stopped on the 15 Freeway in Victorville on Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol.  The truck was pulled over for speeding on the northbound freeway just past Highway 395 about 6:50 a.m., CHP Officer Leon Lopez told KTLA.  A K-9 alerted on the big rig, leading officers to 118 kilogram-sized packaged of heroin in the trailer, Lopez said.  The narcotics were found in the rear of the trailer mixed in with the truck’s load, CHP Officer Robert Mendenhall told Victor Valley News.  Mendenhall estimated the street value and weight of the heroin, saying it was the largest drug seizure in his 29-year CHP career.  The driver was arrested on suspicion of transportation and possession of narcotics.  His story and nervousness, along with “criminal indicators,” drew attention, Mendenhall said.  The investigation and the evidence were being handed over the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Lopez said.  The vehicle was headed for Canada, Mendenhall told Victor Valley News.

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