Kentucky State Police add 42 troopers to force

KSP June 2018 graduation

The Thin Gray Line got a little thicker on Friday, June 22, as 42 cadets graduated from the Kentucky State Police Academy. The 96th KSP Cadet Class had 75 members when it began Jan. 7, but during the rigorous training process 33 resigned. Training included more than 1,000 hours of classroom and field study in subjects such as constitutional law, juvenile and traffic law, use of force, weapons training, defensive tactics, first aid, high speed vehicle pursuit, criminal investigation, computer literacy, hostage negotiations, evidence collection, radio procedures, search and seizure, crash investigation, drug identification, traffic control, crowd control, armed robbery response, land navigation, electronic crimes, sex crimes, hate crimes, domestic violence, bomb threats and hazardous materials. As if that wasn’t enough during nearly six months at the KSP Academy, nine of the new troopers also earned Associate’s Degrees in General Occupational and Technical Studies from the Bluegrass Community and Technical College during the training, the first to do so thanks to legislation passed by the 2017 General Assembly that included new hiring guidelines. “Previously, applicants were required to have 60 hours of college credit, two years of active duty military experience or two years of certified police officer experience,” said KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders.  “Now, anyone who possesses a high school diploma or GED and has three years of full-time work experience can apply for employment as a Kentucky State Trooper and earn an associate’s degree during the training process.” Lt. Gov Jenean Hampton told the new troopers they were coming on board during a time when the need for them was greater than ever. “Gov. (Matt) Bevin and I are very grateful that you have chosen to serve and the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky have tremendous respect for what you do. God bless all of you and the family members that support you.”

6/28/18

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Nevada Highway Patrol debuts patrol cars with 'ghost markings' that are tougher to see

NHP Ghost Markings

Keep your eyes peeled, speeders, tailgaters and otherwise reckless drivers, it's about to get a little tougher to identify some Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles.  A handful of patrol vehicles are being outfitted in a new "ghost" regalia, rather than Nevada Highway Patrol's normally eye-catching markings.  The goal, according to a press release, is to increase enforcement efforts, "specifically targeting hazardous moving violations such as reckless driving as well as distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding and seat belt enforcement."  Trooper Matt McLaughlin said the hope is that the new vehicles will be more difficult for erratic or aggressive drivers to spot and avoid.  "(Aggressive drivers) will see a patrol car and they'll change their behavior," McLaughlin said.  "So the thought process behind a subdued or a specially marked patrol vehicle, is that they may not be able to see us and we can observe those violations and get that person stopped before something bad does happen." Troopers driving the discretely-marked vehicles will have the same enforcement abilities as a Trooper driving a normally marked vehicle.  The vehicles still bear many calling cards of a patrol car, such as a large grill and faintly visible lights, but many of the normally large reflective Nevada Highway Patrol insignias and markings are only faintly visible on the "ghost" vehicles.  Just three patrol cars will be outfitted with the new markings at first, but more will likely be added.

6/27/18

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When a boy from Brooklyn asked for help, the Rhode Island State Police answered

RISP Boy hugging cheetah

Corporal Lawens Fevrier got the mail on a fall day last year at the Hope Valley Barracks of the Rhode Island State Police. What he found was pretty unusual—a letter postmarked from Brooklyn, New York.  “Dear Rhode Island State Highway Patrol,” the letter read. “I lost my Roger...can you please find him? I love him,” the writer said. “Roger is a cheetah,” the writer added, with a hand-drawn photo of Roger. “He fell out of the car window on Interstate 95 around West Greenwich. He is about 12 inches long.”   It was signed: Will Ketcher, 4 years old.  Fevrier said he was touched by the letter, thinking of his own young sons at home. “I know how important it is for them to sleep with their blankets or stuffed animal,” he said. “We were all 4 years old at one time in our lives.” Will’s mom, Stephanie Ketcher, says the family was never expecting to hear back from the state police. “The letter was never designed to be effective,” Ketcher said in a FaceTime interview from Brooklyn. She said the family had been visiting Will’s aunt at the University of Rhode Island when Will was hanging his stuffed cheetah out the window. The stuffed animal then flew out onto the highway. “That instantaneous reaction of...’I told you not to do that, I knew he was going to fly out the window,’” Ketcher said. “That quickly went away when I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw his sweet, sad face crumple up.” With the 4-year-old’s prize possession gone, the family determined it was unsafe to stop and try and retrieve it on I-95. In an attempt to quell Will’s devastation, Ketcher said Will’s dad suggested they write a letter. “Let’s write to the state police and try to get Roger back,” Ketcher said. The idea came from a scene in the Charlie Brown comic strip where Linus, desperate to recover his lost blanket that Lucy had used as a kite, puts an ad in the local paper asking for help finding it. In the comic strip, the “Air Rescue Service” eventually finds it floating over the Pacific Ocean.  In Roger’s story, officials were not so lucky. Fevrier says troopers were on the lookout for the stuffed cheetah on I-95 but fell short. “We actually did send search and rescue out there,” he quipped. “Unfortunately, it was raining and we just couldn’t find the one that he lost.” A number of months went by. Then, one day Ketcher arrived home in Brooklyn and saw a package waiting. “I saw the return label on the box and I couldn’t even believe it,” she said. When the family opened the box, there was a brand new stuffed cheetah for Will—and a letter from the Rhode Island State Police. “On behalf of the Rhode Island State Police, we are so sorry that Roger was lost,” the note read. “We spent days looking for him on the highway. We couldn’t find him. We did find another cheetah walking around the highway. We stopped to talk to him. He said that he was looking for a new home in the Big Apple and we thought of you. Before we sent him to you we had to make him a Cheetah Trooper. The first cheetah trooper in the history of the Rhode Island State Police.” “He went right along with the narrative that we had created for Will,” Ketcher said. “Everybody we have told this story to is moved almost to tears. Some actually to tears.” Ketcher said the gesture “restored her faith in humanity.” “There’s so much negative stuff going on in the world, we’re inundated with it... it’s so refreshing to have something like this happen that just reminds you that there are really good people out there,” she said. When asked why he went above and beyond to help an out-of-state kid, Fevrier’s answer was simple. “We take every case serious, whether it’s a crime scene or a letter from Will,” Fevrier said. “We just wanted to...make him happy.” Over FaceTime, 4-year-old Will was certainly happy—thanking the state police and telling us he gave his new cheetah a very fitting name: “Rhody.”

6/27/18

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Massachusetts State trooper meets newborn baby after helping rush mom to hospital

 

Mariana and Isaac Merino are all smiles. Their bundle of joy was delivered safely and just in the nick of time all thanks to Massachusetts State Police Trooper Daniel Gill. “I had to step it up a little bit and get here,” Trooper Gill said, talking about his mad dash to the hospital for the delivery of Samuel Alexander Mello Merino who was born on Father’s Day. Mariana said she went into labor Sunday morning. Dad was in Boston stuck in traffic so Mariana had a friend drive her to the hospital. On the way, they spotted Trooper Gill on the side of the highway issuing a ticket to another driver. “As soon as we pulled over another contraction started so I was like tapping on the window looking at him and I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t say anything,” Mariana Merino said. Trooper Gill immediately placed her into his cruiser and double-timed it to St. Vincent Hospital, the same hospital where he had his own two children. “The blue lights helped us cut through traffic so we were able to get their quicker than mom would have,” Gill said. On Tuesday, Gill met with the family and held Sammy for the first time. “It’s excellent especially happening on Father’s Day it was very special,” Gill said. Sammy is 6lbs 13oz and happy to be on his way home. “Thankfully Officer Gill was here and he really helped out my family. It’s my best Father’s Day yet,” Isaac Merino said.

6/25/18

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First woman to win Maine State Police Trooper of the Year award

Maine SP 1st female trooper of the year

"The four core values of the Maine State Police. Integrity, fairness, compassion, and excellence.”  Excellence was on display at the Maine State Police annual awards ceremony. Awards were given to troopers who went above and beyond expectations, and to civilians whose actions saved lives. The ceremony also recognized retired Trooper Michael Vittum of Brewer with the legendary trooper award. "Quite a surprise, very good! To be honored by the State Police like this is something I didn't expect but very pleasing." Vittum served the State Police for twenty years and was Trooper of the Year in 1982. The 2017 Trooper of the Year award went to Detective Lauren Edstrom of Biddeford. "The journey of earning the title of trooper was life changing. Until I became a mother, there was no prouder title for me. As the first female trooper of the year. I am so grateful for the impact I hope this will have on my 8-year-old daughter Grace. I catch her putting my Stetson on, putting my boots on sometimes and walking around the house. I catch her looking in the mirror. She's my biggest fan."

6/25/18

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