Florida Highway Patrol Brings Christmas Gifts to Family of Immokalee Vehicular Fatality

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October 7, 2016 began as did any other school day for Luis Renosa Francisco.  One of Magdalena Francisco’s five children, Luis, 6, and his eldest brother, Andres, set off to meet the school bus near the intersection of North 19th Street and Immokalee Drive.  Accompanied by their grandfather, they walked along the grassy, west shoulder of North 19th Street.  Luis failed to reach the corner.  He was struck and killed by a black pickup truck.  Reportedly, Luis “darted out” into the street and the 2007 GMC Sierra was unable to avoid him. Luis was transported to NCH Northeast but did not survive his injuries.  Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant, Greg Bueno, frequently mentions that horrific morning.  Luis’ name has arisen in several conversations over the course of the past two months.  The Lieutenant was not going to forget Luis, or his family, at Christmas time.  Thanks to the kindness and benevolence of his fellow troopers, as well as an anonymous donor, the Florida Highway Patrol was able to purchase a stockpile of assorted gifts for Luis’ four siblings, Alex, 5; Vibiana, 8; Celia, 9; and Andres, 11.  Four FHP vehicles, including a cargo van, covertly approached the family home in Immokalee shortly after the children arrived home from school.  With the cooperation and support of their mother, the children were kept occupied while FHP staff topped the front lawn with bicycles, toys and other assorted gifts.  Upon exiting the home, the children were clearly taken aback by the collection of toys and the presence of both FHP troopers and the media.  After all of the gifts were unwrapped, Magdalena Francisco invited all into her home to see photographs of her late son, Luis.  “It broke our hearts,” professed Bueno. “We wanted to do something for this family…to remind these children that this world can still be a magical place.  That’s what the holidays are about.”  The children repeatedly thanked the Florida Highway Patrol staff and even thanked members of the media for visiting.

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State Troopers Play Santa at Connecticut Children's Medical Center

 

Christmas came early Tuesday morning at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, with some very deserving kids getting presents from folks dressed not in red and white, but rather, blue and gray.  For the twentieth year, Connecticut State Police troopers played Santa for patients, their sleigh a gurney filled with toys collected over the past week at Toys R Us stores in Newington, Manchester, and West Hartford.  "We stand out in the cold, the rain, the sunshine, whatever it is, at the toy stores and its just thousands of people coming in and out," said Trooper First Class James Nolting.  Some toys were handed out today.  Most will be given to kids who come to the emergency room. "To be able to provide them with a gift and our support and let them know that we're here for them, it's just a good thing overall," said Nolting.  Over the years, this program has collected a half a million toys and $280,000, thanks to sponsors and the public.

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Texting and Driving

 

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Michigan State Police troopers will wear 1920's-era campaign hat to celebrate 100th anniversary

MSP campaign hat

Beginning tomorrow, Michigan State troopers will be wearing campaign-style hats, last worn by troopers in the early 1920s, to celebrate the department's 100th anniversary in 2017.  The majority of state police agencies wear campaign hats: MSP is one of only six that did not wear them.  MSP held a vote to see if members wanted to switch back for the 100th anniversary in 2017, and it was approved.  The campaign hat is a black straw hat with a clear coat protection.  It is a traditional four-dent style with an extra stiff brim.  Similar to their current hats, trooper hats include a black braid, sergeants a silver braid and lieutenants and above a gold braid.  Hat badges are being reused on the campaign-style hat.  When properly fitted, the strap around the back of the head secures the hat to prevent it from being blown away in high winds.

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Texas Department of Public Safety graduates 116 new Troopers

DPS Graduation December 2016

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 [Friday] were joined by Texas Sen. Donna Campbell and Texas State Rep. Mark Keough as the department commissioned 116 men and women as the state’s newest Highway Patrol Troopers during the recruit graduation ceremony.  Sen. Campbell was the keynote speaker during the ceremony, which was held today in Austin.  “The people of Texas will forever be grateful to the courageous men and women – past and present – who pledge their lives to protecting and serving others no matter the cost, and today, 116 new Texas Highway Patrol Troopers join that esteemed legion,” said Sen. Campbell.  “Thank you for answering this honorable call of duty – your grit and enthusiasm are an inspiration, and I know you will make us all proud.”  The C-2016 class – which includes 14 former peace officers, 47 military veterans and a set of twin brothers – will report to duty stations across Texas in the coming weeks and spend the first six months in on-the-job training.  “I want to thank and congratulate all of our graduates here today.  Your perseverance through the many months of demanding training has certainly paid off – you’ve earned the right and privilege to be called a Texas State Trooper,” said Chair Leon.  “We appreciate your willingness to serve and are pleased to officially welcome you to the DPS family.”   The troopers began the 23-week training academy in July. Instruction covered more than 100 subjects, including counterterrorism, tr affic 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.  “Not everyone has the mettle necessary to pursue a career in law enforcement, which requires an unwavering devotion to duty and countless sacrifices not only from the officer but also from their loved ones,” said Director McCraw.  “DPS and the entire state are thankful for these 116 graduates who have risen to the challenge to become Highway Patrol Troopers sworn to serve their communities and protect Texas from a full spectrum of threats.”      In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott authorized 250 additional Trooper positions to be permanently stationed in the border area (DPS Regions 3 and 4) by August 2017, as well as additional DPS recruit schools to help fill that need and address vacancies across the state.  A total of 47 troopers from Class C-2016 will be stationed in Regions 3 and 4 as part of this initiative, bringing the total number of positions to the authorized 250.  “I am pleased to say that today’s graduation marks the completion of filling those 250 new positions directed by state leaders – more than eight months ahead of schedule,” said Director McCraw.  “Additionally, the department is proud of the impact our men and women have made during the past two years of around-the-clock security operations combating threats posed by a porous Texas-Mexico border.”  As part of the recruits’ community service project, the class raised funds for several causes, including $6,632 for DPS Trooper Chad Blackburn, who was severely injured this year when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver; $750 worth of gifts for the Toys for Tots program; and $200 in school supplies for an elementary school.

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