Louisiana State Police trooper finds wallet during Mardi Gras, mails it back to owner
A Louisiana state trooper found a wallet on New Orleans' Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras and set it back to its owner at the trooper's expense. Master Trooper John Jett's good deed would have gone unnoticed, but the wallet's owner, who goes by the username Wardo613 on the social news aggregation site Reddit, posted a photo Wednesday on the site of the wallet and Jett's note.
My name is John Jett, I am a trooper with the Louisiana State Police. While working Mardi Gras, I found your wallet on Bourbon St. at St. Louis St. I intended to leave it at a lost and found at the NOPD 8th District, however they really did not have one set up. I decided to mail it to you. I did go through your wallet in an effort to make sure the address on your (driver's license) was your correct address. Everything in your wallet is exactly as it was when I found it."
The grateful owner mentioned in his post that all of the money he had previously was still in the wallet when he got it back in the mail. The post already has been viewed almost 1 million times. Jett's actions "are truly a model of public service," said State Police Col. Kevin Reeves, head of the Louisiana law-enforcement agency. "It makes us proud as an agency and as a law-enforcement agency that Trooper Jett would go above and beyond his duty as a public servant," Reeves said. "It represents the heart of the best of our agency. Jett, 40, is based at Troop E in Alexandria, La. He's been a state trooper since April 1999, according to the Leesville (La.) Daily Leader, which named Jett its Public Safety Person of the Week in March 2011. "Law-enforcement officers do these kind of acts of kindness every day, usually without fanfare. We'd have never known about this either if it hadn't been for the owner of the wallet," Reeves said. "Trooper Jett never mentioned it. He just considered it part of his job." The wallet's owner said in comments to his original post that he plans on sending pizza to Jett and his colleagues as a thank-you.
Connecticut State Police announce new Colonel
Amid the departures of some high-ranking command staff, the Connecticut State Police have announced the appointment of a new colonel. George F. Battle, who previously served as a lieutenant colonel, has been promoted to colonel and will oversee the entire force of roughly 1,200 troopers. Battle assumes that position following the departure of Alaric Fox, a 24-year state police veteran who was appointed colonel in March 2016. Fox was named the police chief in Enfield recently. Battle is a 30-year veteran of the state police who has served in a number of roles, including commanding officer of the Office of Administrative Services and deputy commissioner of the Division of State Police, officials said in the announcement. He previously served as major in the Bureau of Business Development and a captain in Western District headquarters, the Office of Professional Standards and Compliance, and the Bureau of Field Technology, Infrastructure and Transportation. He was the commanding officer of Troop I in Bethany, Troop W at Bradley International Airport and Troop A in Southbury while holding the rank of lieutenant, officials said.
Montana Highway Patrol welcomes four new troopers
The Montana Highway Patrol welcomed four new members to its ranks during a ceremony in Helena on Friday. New troopers Calvin Jimmerson and Toni Snelling of Billings, Branden Timm of Big Timber, and Perry Woodland Cascade received graduation certificates and their badges, after months of training in the MHP Advanced Academy. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was among the leaders who welcomed the graduates. He encouraged them to think about the importance of character. “Public service is really a time-honored profession, for which your reward will only be as meaningful as the effort, energy and heart you invest into your work,” Fox said. Col. Tom Butler, chief of the Highway Patrol, asked the new troopers to build relationships in their communities, treat others with respect and take time for their own families. “Today, I’m honored to have you joining the family of the best law enforcement team in Montana, as we continue the important work of serving the people of the great state of Montana,” he said. The cadets selected Jimmerson to speak on behalf of their class. He decided to apply to MHP after several years working in IT. “It’s a little bit different pace, going from sitting at a desk to sitting in a patrol car,” he said. Jimmerson said he’s honored to carry on MHP’s legacy. “I’m just overwhelmed by the support that we’ve had here for graduation and up to this point, the last six months of training,” he said. “There are so many people that are behind law enforcement and it means a lot.” Jimmerson will be working in his home community of Billings. As a trooper, he said he wants to help address drunk driving and drug trafficking in Montana. All four of the new troopers will serve initially in eastern Montana, where leaders say they needed to account for retirements and other job openings. Friday’s event was the 63rd graduation ceremony for the MHP Advanced Academy. Leaders said this graduating class was unusually small. They said, in many cases, the Highway Patrol receives fewer applications when the job market in other industries is stronger.
Minnesota Trooper of the Year
Dion Pederson of Park Rapids has been named the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) trooper of the year. Pederson, an accident reconstruction specialist and academy instructor whose career as a trooper started in 1997, received the award Feb. 14. It recognized his service during 2017. An announcement about the award on the MSP's website said, "It has been more than 20 years since Dion Pederson became a Minnesota State Patrol trooper. Yet, year after year, he continues leaving an agency in a better place than the year before." Pederson, the statement continued, "is one of the leading crash reconstruction specialists in the state. He's a mentor. He's a crash data retrieval specialist. He's a firearms instructor and a certified armor. Oh, and he still somehow finds time to patrol the roads, present at conferences and represent the State Patrol with nothing but professionalism." Pederson studied law enforcement at Alexandria Technical and Community College, where he met his wife, Sue, in 1986. He started his career as a deputy with the Norman County Sheriff's Office. "So, I'm actually in my 29th year of law enforcement," he said in an interview. In 1997, he joined the MSP, where Sue had been a trooper since 1989. She is currently a sergeant, the senior trooper in the local office. Pederson teaches firearms and crash investigation at the law enforcement academy in Camp Ripley, where cadets witness real vehicle crashes using dummies "so they can see the live action, how things actually pan out," he said. In real-life accidents, Pederson analyzes the scene, the condition of the vehicles, including the possibility of neglected mechanical issues, and analyzes data from the airbag system's "black box," which is actually silver. "There's just a ton of information in there," he said, "like if seat belts were worn, the pre-impact speeds, was there braking, were there steering maneuvers." Newer vehicles also have yaw sensors and steering wheel angle sensors, showing whether and how a driver reacted to a threat. "It will tell me," he said, "what the car was doing, what the driver was doing; but generally, we can't tell you what the driver was thinking. We can take their word at some point, but evidence won't lie. Skid marks, data that I find on the scene, my speed analysis — that stuff doesn't lie." "If you can make heads or tails of what I wrote," he said, "I think that's good. That's how I explain it at the academy, too. Don't try to sound smarter than you are. Don't try to dazzle people with the word-of-the-day. Just be yourself." In addition to his on-the-road duties and his mentoring work, Pederson also made presentations about crash analysis last year at the east- and west-central Toward Zero Deaths conferences. His advice for today's cadets who would like to see a Trooper of the Year Award on their desk someday is: "Take your calls. Be a good partner. Work. Don't be a load. Everybody has days when you're busting your butt all day long, and there are days when there's not very much going on — you appreciate those days. It actually works well. You go out and work traffic, stop some cars, interact with the people. Hopefully you're making a difference out there." Pederson acknowledged that every time a public safety officer puts on the uniform, especially nowadays, it's dangerous. "When you start your shift, your goal is to make sure you sign off at the end of your shift and go be with your family." In a larger sense, he said, his goal as a trooper is to help people. Besides the opportunity to do that, he said what keeps him putting on the uniform day after day is the daily mystery of what will happen next. "When you get into your squad car," he said, "when you sign on for the day, you have no idea what you're going to be doing. It might be going to a crash. You might be going to a medical call. You might be helping the county at a different call. To me, it's the thrill of the unknown."