The Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 134 new highway patrol troopers
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon, and members of the Public Safety Commission (PSC) today were joined by Texas Rep. Tony Dale as the department commissioned 134 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony. Rep. Dale was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held Friday in Austin. “The men and women here today have selflessly pledged their lives to protect the people of Texas by joining law enforcement – a noble profession that requires immense courage and sacrifice,” said Rep. Dale. “The state is profoundly grateful for your dedication to becoming our newest Texas Highway Patrol Troopers.” The D-2016 class, which is the department’s 158th training class and the largest since August 2000, includes 16 women, 16 former peace officers and 58 military veterans. The oldest graduate is 51-years-old and the youngest is 21-years-old. The new Troopers will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training. “I know each of you has worked tremendously hard in order to get where you are today, and your perseverance and achievements have been nothing less than remarkable,” said Chair Leon. “We are honored to welcome you to the DPS family, and I know you will make us all proud as you walk out these doors to begin your new career serving and protecting your communities.” The Troopers began the 24-week training academy in September of last year. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, traffic and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness. “These 134 men and women have risen to the challenge of DPS’ months-long training to prove their proficiency and dedication, and the department is honored to add them to our law enforcement ranks,” said Director McCraw. “From this day forward, you will serve on the front lines protecting our communities from the full gamut of public safety threats, and Texas will be a safer place because of your commitment to duty.” As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,866 for the Green Beret Foundation; and $1,150 for the Louisiana State Troopers Association (to assist Troopers affected by flooding in Louisiana). In addition, the class established the “158th Fund,” which will provide future recruits with financial assistance for miscellaneous medical expenses. Members of the class also volunteered to be tested as potential donors for a national bone marrow registry.
California Highway Patrol Officer killed in the line of duty
Officer Lucas Chellew was killed in a motorcycle crash near the intersection of Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road, in Sacramento, while pursuing another motorcycle. Officer Chellew's motorcycle crashed during the pursuit. The motorcyclist he was pursuing fled the scene and remains at large. Officer Chellew was a U.S. Army veteran. He had served with the California Highway Patrol for eight years and was assigned to the South Sacramento Area Office. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, parents and sister. His father was a retired CHP officer and his sister also serves with the agency.
Michigan State Trooper describes how two good Samaritans saved his life
Two men are in custody all thanks to the help of good Samaritans. They stopped to help the officer who was being attacked. For the first time, we're hearing from the officer and the man who helped him. The Michigan state trooper described it as being in slow motion even though it took about 5 minutes for everything to happen. The trooper says there was a moment where he began to think the worst. Michigan State Trooper Garry Guild, was patrolling U.S. 31 Monday morning. That’s when he clocked a motorcyclist going 92 miles an hour. "Activated my overhead lights. Got behind the motorcycle about two three car lengths. He pulled over to the shoulder, slowed down briefly and sped away at a high rated speed,” said Guild. Guild followed the driver to the Niles Buchanan exit. Michael Barber, 21, lost control and crashed. When Guild approached him, he didn't listen. That's when police say the two got into a physical altercation. "So I am trying to secure him and secure my duty weapon into my holster--put it into the holster. I'm on top of him. Trying to get him in hand cuffs,” said Guild. While restraining Barber, Guild saw 19-year-old Travis Wise sprinting towards him but not to help. "The next thing I know, I'm in full choke-hold. He comes behind me and puts his elbow around my neck. He wrenched me back about 5 to 10 feet,” said Guild. That's when Jerry Burnham happened to be driving by. "We were on our way down the bypass heading towards Niles to get our taxes done. We came up on this scene. This motorcycle laying on the side of the road and a squad car. My wife started yelling that the police officer needed help and told me to stop and help,” said Burnham. Burnham and another man pulled Wise off the trooper. They held him until help arrived. Burnham said he didn't think twice about helping. “I really was still kind of in shock that I even got out to do something. I just did it. I think that he was in need of help, and that's what we should do,” said Burnham. Burnham says several other cars passed by and even slowed, but didn't help. He says he was in the right place at the right time. Guild says he tries not to think about what could have happened without help from a good Samaritan.
Ohio Highway Patrol renews push for "Move over and slow down" campaign after recent tragedies
“Imagine this: You’re driving on the highway and see an emergency vehicle up ahead with flashing lights stopped off the side of the road. This is the time when you need to slow down or move over one lane,” states the opening of an Ohio Highway Patrol public safety announcement for Ohio’s Move Over Law. The OHP, through a media release, is asking motorists to help keep their fellow drivers and law enforcement officers safe by following this law, which was enacted in 2009. “Ohio law requires all drivers to move over one lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside. If moving over is not possible due to traffic or weather conditions, or because a second lane does not exist, motorists should slow down and proceed with caution,” according to an OHP media release. In 2013, the law was expanded to also cover construction and maintenance workers as well. “By moving over, motorists are helping to protect the lives of everyone who works on or uses our roadways,” said Sgt. Jeremy Kindler of OHP Chardon Post. “It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do.’ OHP Sgt. Jim Smith, who was struck by a motorist on Mayfield and Auburn roads in Munson Township on July 29, feels that people get too busy or are in too much of a rush. “Slow down and pay attention,” Smith said. “Those few seconds that you are saving by not doing whatever it is you are doing, isn’t saving you enough time to risk a life. Nowhere you have to be is worth a life.” Kindler reports that during 2016, seven officers were struck within a eight-month period. “We are putting out public safety announcements, we just want to make sure our motorists have a good understanding of what this law is and means and also what it means to everyone involved,” Kindler said. Kindler noted that prior to 2016, citations weren’t really issued too often for this type of violation. “With the increase in officers being struck from 2016 up until now, that’s an infraction and a violation that we are not only stopping and talking to you about, we are issuing you a citation,” he said. OHP is enforcing this law with teams of troopers, Kindler explained. “We usually have more than one officer working on the interstate,” he said. “One officer makes the traffic stop. The other officer will sit across from them, behind them or in front of them. They watch as the violation occurs and runs a stationary radar. If they fail to move over, or slow down, that is when the violation occurs.” At that point, the second officer is then able to stop the motorist for the violation. Depending on the court, fines for failure to move over or slow down can be doubled for a first offense and require a court appearance. Kindler emphasizes the importance of the Move Over Law with the statement, “We want to go home at the end of the day. “That’s our main goal for a traffic stop is not only to keep everyone else safe, but also to keep us safe as well. This is near and dear to our hearts, to make sure that we are able to go home to our families at the end of the day just like everybody else is.” Two law enforcement officers: OHP Trooper Kenneth Velez and Cleveland police officer David Fahey, were struck and killed on I-90 within a six-month period when motorists failed to move over or slow down. Velez was struck on I-90 near Warren Road on Sept. 15 and Fahey was struck and killed Jan. 24 while putting out flares at the scene of an accident. “You gotta think about the person on the side of the road as a person. Think of that person as yourself and would you want someone flying by with 3 feet of you at 60 mph,” said Smith’s wife, Tiara, after he was struck. “People think of that officer as a car. Instead think of that officer as yourself or someone you love and be more considerate of that person as you are flying down the road.” Smith recalls Velez as a good friend for 25 years and one he has known his entire career. “This one hit me and my wife more than my own did,” Smith said. “I was lucky to survive and he didn’t. He didn’t have to die, it was a senseless tragedy.” As he reflected on the crash that claimed Velez’s life, Smith posed the question: “Why when you are on a road four lanes wide, why were you in that lane, when he was standing there on the side of the road?”