California trooper killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver
Officer Andrew Camilleri was killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver on I-880, near Route 92, in Hayward. He and his partner were parked on the shoulder the freeway when the vehicle struck the rear of their patrol car at a high rate of speed shortly before midnight. Officer Camilleri, who was in the passenger seat, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. His partner was treated and released from a local hospital. The driver who struck them was also injured and faces numerous charges pending his release from the hospital. Officer Camilleri had served with the California Highway Patrol for 16 months. He is survived by his wife, daughter, two sons, parents, brother, and sister.
Indiana State Police seize more than 100 pounds of marijuana during traffic stop
Police arrested two people and confiscated more than 100 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Tuesday morning in Greenfield, Indiana. Police say it happened around 11 a.m. on Dec. 19. That's when police say a trooper with the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section stopped a Toyota minivan for speeding on I-70 eastbound at the 95.2 mile marker, just west of the Mount Comfort Road exit in Greenfield near Indianapolis. During the traffic stop, the trooper became suspicious of the driver, 43-year-old Tong Pan from Elk Grove, California and his passenger, 52-year-old Liandi Zhang from Mechanicsville, Virginia. The two men stated that they were on their way to Virginia from California. While talking to the men, police say the trooper smelled "a strong odor of marijuana and fabric dryer sheets coming from the van." Police searched the van and found several containers and bags filled with marijuana that had been shrink wrapped and individually packaged. Police say they seized approximately 120 pounds of marijuana. Pan and Zhang were arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail. They're charged with dealing and possessing marijuana.
State Troopers awarded grant to continue DUI Task Force
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has awarded the Georgia Department of Public Safety a Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic grant to continue its Nighthawks DUI Task Force and Administrative License Suspension program. The grant, which totals about $3.14 million, went into effect on Oct. 1 and will last through Sept. 30, 2018. The primary goals of the H.E.A.T program are to combat crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired driving and speeding; to increase seatbelt use; and to educate the motoring public on traffic safety and the dangers of driving under the influence. "Unfortunately, law enforcement officers encounter impaired drivers far too often," said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough. "DPS is committed to removing these drivers from our roads. This grant is a benefit to both GOHS and DPS to achieve the common goal of deterring impaired driving on Georgia's roads." The Nighthawks DUI task force is divided into three separate units. The units are all comprised of Georgia State Patrol troopers who have undergone specialized training in impaired driving enforcement. The North unit primarily focuses enforcement in Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett counties, and the Athens-Clarke County area. The Middle unit focuses on Dougherty, Muscogee and surrounding counties, in addition to the metropolitan areas of Albany and Columbus. The South unit patrols the Savannah-Statesboro area. The ALS program and the GSP Nighthawks DUI Task Force were created in 2004. Through the ALS program, state troopers receive training, legal assistance, and in some cases, legal representation as they testify at ALS hearings for people charged with driving under the influence. In Georgia, under certain circumstances, the state can administratively suspend the driver's license and the ALS hearing is held when the motorist contests the suspension. Dee Brophy, a former prosecutor, is the ALS attorney who represents troopers at the ALS hearings.
Florida Highway Patrol officers return from Puerto Rico
A total of fifty of them traveled to the island to help as much as they could. After just a couple of days after getting back, Sargent David Rodriguez shared his memories. "In my 20 years of law enforcement, I never thought that I would be on the island of Puerto Rico in my uniform, in my Florida Highway Patrol Uniform in Puerto Rico, working,” said Rodriguez. Conditions on the island were a difficult sight when the group first landed. Most of them were either Puerto Rican or from Puerto Rican families. Sgt. Rodriguez’s family was from the island, and he had traveled every summer when he was a child. "I knew what the island looked like beforehand,” he said, "It was tough to see all that.” Sgt. Rodriguez and state troopers joined forces with local Puerto Rican law enforcement to get the island back up and running. "We had to do traffic control, because obviously the traffic control signals were out in over 400 intersections, island-wise,” Rodriguez said. Wearing their Florida uniforms and bright yellow traffic vests, they stood in the middle of the road with traffic paddles that signaled drivers in Spanish. "They knew we were there to help,” Rodriguez said of the Puerto Rican community. Everyone was hands-on while working for 28 days straight. They only had a one-day break, where they enjoyed some time at a local beach. "We did a lot of humanitarian deliveries up in the mountainous areas, which sustained the most damage,” Rodriguez said. He remembered one specific delivery in vivid detail. “It was a special needs, where people were missing limbs and stuff like that. There was no power. They needed generators, so we brought generators up there,” Rodriguez said. He explained that there were several struggles along the way trying to get the help out. "It was frustrating to be there to help, and just see that lack of communication between government and the entities on the island [that] prevented a lot of stuff from moving,” Rodriguez said. However, that didn’t prevent the Puerto Rican people to be warm and thankful to the officers. "They would offer food to our people out in the street or on posts. They would bring water to us,” he smiled. This was Sgt. Rodriguez's longest deployment in his career, and it was all worth it. "I felt like I had to be there. To me, it was rewarding, very humbling to do that,” he said. According to Sgt. Rodriguez, all officers who traveled to Puerto Rico to help were actually sworn in as officers for the island, which he described was a very special and rewarding moment for all.