Virginia State Police attend Graduation of Fallen Trooper Dermyer's Daughter

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Virginia State Police made sure State Trooper Chad Dermyer’s daughter felt the presence of her father at her 5th grade graduation. Dermyer was fatally shot by James Brown III at the Greyhound bus station in Richmond on March 31, where police were holding a counter-terrorism training exercise. Brown, of Aurora, Illinois, was killed by two other state troopers after he opened fire. Many troopers attended the graduation and supported his daughter, Page, for her big achievement. She received the President’s Award for Academic Achievement, signed by President Obama himself. “VSP made sure that Page Dermyer had plenty of VSP Family in attendance of her 5th grade graduation to cheer her across the stage and let her know how much she and her father, Trooper Chad Dermyer, mean to us,” said Virginia State Police in a Facebook post.

Original Facebook Post

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Indiana State Police K-9 Retired

sabreSabre, an Indiana State Police dog with an impressive work resume, might be retiring but that won’t prevent him from spending time with his partner, Trooper Nick Meade. Instead of patrolling the Indiana Toll Road with Meade as he’s done the past seven years, Sabre will be retiring to Meade’s home, becoming a full-time pet to his handler. “I’m going to try to just let him be a dog,” Meade said. “There are certain things I could not do with him while he was working because I had to keep him in a work mindset and he’ll be able to do some of those things now.” Meade said retirement will not be easy for the dog after so many years on the job. “It’s going to be hard for him,” Meade said. “He’s been in the back of that police car for seven years working every day of his life and that’s what they’re bred to do. That’s what they were born to do. However, he’s done a good enough job for us over the years that I think he should be able to enjoy his retirement a little bit.” He recalled their biggest seizure, a drug bust of 234 pounds of marijuana that they found in the back of a truck. Meade said it was busts like that that made him happy to work with Sabre and proud of the hard work the dog put into the job. Together, Meade and Sabre are responsible for seizing almost $400,000 in currency, 14.8 pounds of heroin, 1,266 pounds of marijuana and 134 grams of cocaine, according to a state police news release. These busts have resulted in 80 criminal arrests. Meade will go down to Indianapolis Monday to pick out a new K-9 partner. The new dog will embark on a 14-week program in order to certify it through the International Police Work Dog Association. “The new dog’s going to have very big shoes to fill,” Meade said. “Sabre is a great dog and a great partner. It was nice to have him in the back of the car with me knowing he was there to protect me.”

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Massachusetts State Police Dog Named Rocky helped find a Missing Boy with Autism

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When an 11-year-old autistic boy went missing on Monday, a police dog named Rocky led first responders right to him. Police were called to a Hanson neighborhood at 8:30 p.m. Rocky, a Massachusetts State Police K9, was deployed to search neighborhood yards. “While checking a backyard, Rocky showed a change in behavior and pulled over to a large dirt hill at the back of the yard adjacent to railroad tracks,” said police. When officers reached the top of the hill, Rocky began barking at the thick brush below. That’s when paramedics swooped in and located the boy inside the brush, said police. The boy was evaluated and reunited with his family.

 

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A Mississippi boy becomes an Honorary Alaska State Trooper for a day!

A bright-eyed 11-year-old boy from Mississippi got to venture into Alaskan wilderness to meet his favorite state troopers this past week. But this isn’t just any boy, and these aren’t just any officers. Blaine Breaux has been battling cancer since he was 10. His cancer is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, to be exact, which affects blood cells and the immune system. ALL is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, and progresses rapidly without treatment, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It starts in a stem cell in bone marrow, but can spread to other areas, such as the central nervous system and lymph nodes. As a result, the number of healthy blood cells in someone with ALL is often much lower than normal and necessary. “I ain't never been hit so hard in my life when they told me Blaine had cancer,” said Blaine’s dad, Perry Breaux. “It really tears you up.” Without good red cells, white cells and platelets, people with ALL often suffer from anemia, which can cause fatigue, shortness of breath and easy bruising; neutropenia, which makes it so the person’s immune system can’t guard him or her against infection; and thrombocytopenia, which can cause bleeding and bruising without apparent cause, according to LLS. “It's hard; things are different,” said Kim Breaux, Blaine’s mom. “We thought he just had the flu. Even the doctors told us, ‘You're gonna have a new way of living, and when your normal life comes back, when all this is done, you're gonna have to get used to living normal again.’” Blaine has had more than 20 spinal taps since being diagnosed with ALL. He does some form of chemotherapy every day, and had a blood transfusion shortly before traveling cross-country to the Last Frontier. He can’t eat raw foods and has to take methotrexate pills that knock him out for days at a time. Almost 25,000 are expected to die from leukemia in 2016 alone. But thankfully, Blaine is one of many children who have made it to what’s called the “maintenance” stage of ALL. It isn’t total remission, his mom said, but it means there’s a good chance Blaine will totally make it out of the woods, as it were. “When they came and told us, I was in shock, but I prepared myself,” Blaine’s mom Kim said. “I just had a feeling, for some reason. And then my thoughts were [around] having to go to a funeral home and make arrangements. It's crazy.” While treatments have pulled Blaine out of traditional schooling and put him in a hospital more often than not, thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Alaska State Troopers, Blaine got to forget about the cancer he’s courageously battling - at least, for a day. “He's not thinking about that right now,” Perry said. “He's thinking about how beautiful this is. And that's wonderful.” Because of an implanted port in his upper left chest for delivering cancer-fighting drugs, Blaine can’t play contact sports or do anything too physical. So these days, he’s playing a lot of golf. But he’s always been an avid hunter and wilderness explorer, and has always wanted to meet the everyday heroes from his favorite television show: Alaska State Troopers. “For someone in his condition, fighting the fight he's fighting, to want to spend the day with us, is pretty amazing,” said Sgt. Doug Massie of the Mat-Su West Post for Wildlife Troopers. “I'm honored.” So after a weekend of treatments, Blaine, along with his mom, dad, two brothers and grandmother, hopped on a flight to Alaska where Blaine’s wish was granted. And then some. “I can't explain it,” Blaine’s dad said. “It's just wonderful seeing Blaine light up.” Blaine met a full squad of troopers before becoming an honorary state trooper for the day. He hopped in a squad car and spent the morning reviewing fishing licenses and boating permits on the Susitna River. That was before checking in at a trooper cabin in the woods for lunch and taking an hour-long helicopter ride over Deshka Landing. “There aren't enough words to explain how exciting it is for him,” Blaine’s mom said. “It's just overwhelming.” And as it turns out, Blaine was inspiring his heroes. “A person that's fighting the battles he's fighting, fighting the illness he's fighting,” Massie said. “It totally puts life into perspective. What's important, what's not important. Those little things you kind of overlook? You pay a little more attention.”

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A Washington State Trooper helps a Homeless Family

LimboMurray Duncan and his fiancée, Alyssa Dunn, thought they had their lives planned out when they moved here from Delaware last month. Dunn had a job lined up as a gate agent at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and the couple had enough savings to live with their 6-month-old son in a hotel for about a month while they looked for an apartment. But after the transmission on their Hyundai Elantra blew out during the drive to Washington State, the couple found themselves broke and weeks away from Dunn’s first paycheck. After finding a Redmond church that offered overnight shelter, they decided to make an Interstate 5 rest area their home during the day, getting by on a patchwork of other social services. It’s not uncommon for the region’s homeless residents to spend their days at highway rest areas, although state law limits visits to eight hours at a time, according to the Washington State Patrol. Trooper Stephanie Bjorkman was tracking down witnesses for an investigation at the Sea Tac Rest Area along the freeway near Federal Way late last month when she encountered Duncan, 23, and his baby — new faces among the regulars. She decided to help the young family. “I see people who are in this permanent limbo phase because they’re not doing what they should be doing,” Bjorkman said. “(Duncan and Dunn) are in this limbo, but they’re trying to get out.” Bjorkman has helped the family get food, water and baby formula. She’s also provided Duncan and Dunn, 24, with information about free activity programs for kids so they can get the boy out of the car. Various churches and the Salvation Army provide the family with dinner Monday through Friday, but they have to find their own food on the weekends, so Bjorkman has been giving them restaurant gift cards. Bjorkman said once the family has proof of income with Dunn’s first paycheck in the coming days, they will be eligible for more state resources. But until then, Bjorkman has been taking it upon herself to help the family get food, water and baby formula. “Words can’t even explain,” Duncan said of Bjorkman’s help. “She’s definitely looked out for us, and we can’t thank her enough.” Troopers are regularly called out to direct homeless people away from rest areas, though the homeless often return later. Bjorkman said she sees both sides of the issue. “DOT wants their rules enforced, but oftentimes (homeless people) have nowhere else to go,” she said. For now, Bjorkman continues to check in on the family, providing help when she can. Dunn said she and Duncan were recently accepted into the state’s Diversion Cash Assistance program, which will provide them with temporary aid for housing once they sign an apartment lease. The couple recently found an apartment, and they’re waiting to hear when they can move in. Duncan plans to start working once they get established. In February, King County Executive Dow Constantine and other regional leaders and homeless advocates announced $17 million in county funding for new, affordable housing units and emergency shelter in the county, some of it aimed specifically at South and East King County. A count last year put Washington’s homeless population at 19,418, with King County accounting for 52percent of the total. Dunn said she wishes there were more transitional homes in the area for people who already have jobs. She described one shelter the family stayed in as being infested with bedbugs. Bjorkman said providing the family with assistance has been a great counterbalance to the type of work she usually deals with as a trooper. “You’re never sure how they’re going to react,” Bjorkman said. “From what they’ve told me and what I’ve seen, I feel like it’s going to help them move out of this period.” She said troopers often help the homeless in smaller ways, recalling a former colleague whose wife would make extra sandwiches for him to give to those in need. “That’s sort of the way a lot of these troopers are,” said State Patrol spokesman Chris Webb. “They do these things and you don’t find out about it — sometimes until six months later.”

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