26 graduate and join the ranks of the Rhode Island State Police
They are athletes, college graduates, some military and some former police officers. On Friday, they all had earned the same title — new Rhode Island state troopers. The 26 graduates, chosen out of more than 1,500 applicants, made it through a grueling 24-week academy. They are graduating into a climate of turmoil and tension between police and the community they serve, as their new boss, Col. Steven G. O'Donnell, and other graduation speakers noted at the ceremony at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The academy was designed to test them, in order to keep them safe, O'Donnell said. The black mourning bands they all wear on their uniforms symbolize the recent deaths of police officers in the line of duty, in Dallas, Baton Rouge and in San Diego, just Thursday night. "It's not an easy time to be a police officer, in some ways it's more difficult than it's ever been," said Gov. Gina Raimondo, as she congratulated them for "choosing to serve." For the new troopers and their loved ones, potential danger didn't overshadow the joy of graduating. As new trooper Andrew B. Pilling, an Army veteran, quoted in his speech for the class: "Only one kind of person makes it through, and that's the person who doesn't quit." Of the 26, there was one Hispanic male and only one woman. O'Donnell said last month that the training academy originally had minority recruits but they dropped out. The state police recently launched a Diversity Academy, in partnership with Providence College, to increase recruiting of minorities. New trooper Lauren E. Lanoie, the only woman to graduate, is also the first in her family to join law enforcement. "It's terrific," said her grandparents, Monica and Joseph A. Janton, of West Warwick. "It's a big honor. We're so proud of her." Lanoie, 24, said she joined the West Warwick police explorers when she was a teen, and "I just fell in love with it." She pursued a job with the state police after graduating from the University of Rhode Island. New trooper Jason R. DiFusco pushed to graduate with a finance degree in three years from Bryant University and put his ROTC program on hold to get through the academy. "He's dedicated, and he knew it was something he wanted to do from the beginning," said retired Lt. Col. Kevin Kugel, professor of military science, "to achieve his dream of being an Army officer and a Rhode Island state trooper." The new troopers are: Robert M. Bentsen, Thomas D. Bruso, Colby A. Clarke, Michael A. Colasante, Jason R. DiFusco, Travis G. Drappi, Michael J. Farais, Matthew D. Fox, Robert T. Fox, Jake A. Hesford, Corey A. Hopkins, Matthew A. House, Jeffrey S. Konieczny, Lauren E. Lanoie, Adam J. Lepre, Dean R. Marr, Zachary D. Mattera, Antonio J. Miguel Jr., Brendan T. Morgan, Andrew J. Phillips, Andrew B. Pilling, Scott T. Potter, Nicholas P. Ryan, Patrick T. Sarasin, Corey D. Sheehan, and Craig A. Stinson.
Speed Awareness Day in Illinois
Today is Speed Awareness Day in Illinois and the Illinois State Police (ISP) will be out in full force to promote safety on Illinois roads. ISP District 10 officers are teaming up with Illinois’ other districts to promote awareness about the dangers of speeding towards motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. ISP officials say in Illinois, speed was the reason for 32.4 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014. District 10 Trooper Tracy Lillard says lives can be easily saved by being aware of speed and understanding the risks. “We are trying to raise awareness that we are looking out for speeders,” Lillard says. “The purpose is to reduce fatalities out on our roads. We’ve determined speed is one of the major contributors to causing fatal crashes and if we can reduce people’s speeds, hopefully we reduce the number of fatalities.” Lillard says District 10 is sending out extra officers today to monitor speed. They’ll be employing some advanced techniques to catch speeders including Air Speed, LIDAR details, and Radar Details. The Air Speed technique involves utilizing small planes and a machine that measures how quickly you travel between two white lines. LIDAR radar can detect speed from one mile or more away. ISP troopers will be patrolling State and U.S. Highways, county roads, city streets, and Interstates throughout District 10 including I-57, I-72, and I-74. Lillard says they aren’t necessarily looking to give out citations, but instead letting people know speeding can be dangerous. “Our goal is not to write tickets but to have compliance, and that’s what we are encouraging motorists to do,” she says. “If you can go the speed limit, it won’t be an issue and you won’t get pulled over.”
5 year old honorary Michigan State Trooper
“Am I allowed to go on a ride?” Aidyn’s day was to be filled with wonder. “You’re certainly allowed to go for a ride.” This is his special day. “Can I?” Almost more than a 5-year-old could hope for. “Yes.” Because this is Aidyn Sharrow’s Day. “We were contacted by the Rainbow Connection and the director asked for us, the Grants and Community Services Division, to put together what we’re calling Aidyn’s Day.” “How is your day going so far buddy?” “Good! Real fun!” answered the excited boy. “Aidyn was sworn in as honorary trooper with the Michigan State Police. He received a fitted uniform shirt,” said Aidyn’s father Kevin Sharrow. “We got to ride in the trooper car we’ve got to a whole bunch of stuff that I never thought we would get to do. And since he wants to be a police officer when grows up, this is very exciting. Aidyn is five years old he’s been diagnosed with leukemia and so he’s going through treatment at this point in time,” explains Michigan State Police First Lt. Troy Allen. “Makes us feel really privileged to be able to do something like this, very lucky that he gets to enjoy it even though he’s gone through such a rough experience. Aidyn had the opportunity to meet with the canine unit for a canine demonstration our Emergency Support Team to see what Aidyn refers to as the tank as well as the helicopter. Here’s an opportunity for us to be able to bring some happiness to a young man’s life and to his family and to let the public know that they are Michigan State Police are out here to protect them and to serve them with a true purpose.” And what’s the best part of the day for Aidyn? “Being a state trooper!” Eventually the day does come to an end. And for Aidyn Sharrow the adventure is just beginning. “See you when I come back!” And the troopers are looking forward to that day. “Okay, I’ll be waiting for ya.” With a happy “alright” Michigan’s youngest honorary State Trooper is on his way.
New Hampshire Family grateful for Vermont State Police
Suzanne Beaupre said she and her son couldn’t afford to get back to New Hampshire after their car had a flat tire, but the help and generosity of some state troopers and a tow truck driver in Vermont turned their luck around. Earlier this month, Beaupre picked up her son in Middlebury, Vermont, but they ran into car problems when her pickup truck got a flat tire and they couldn't dislodge the spare tire. “I wanted to be home, absolutely. I mean there's a lot of frustration. I was praying,” said Hayden Smith, Beaupre’s son. Beaupre couldn't afford a tow, and she didn't have many options. “We're going through some financial difficulties, (and) really at that point of night, a lot of stores are closed and stuff,” Beaupre said. That's when the Vermont State Police stepped in. “We didn't really want to leave them stranded there because it was about 1 (o'clock) in the morning and nothing's open,” Trooper Stacia Geno said. Troopers called a tow truck and offered to front the $75 charge to replace the tire. “The troopers themselves said they would split the bill and pay me,” tow truck driver Kyle Blakeman said. “I said, 'No way.' I was, like, so thankful. I just felt like crying,” Beaupre said. But then, the tow truck driver refused their money, changing the tire for free. “I would never come out and ask. So when he said that, it was a done deal. They had already done it. It just made me want to cry,” Beaupre said. Troopers then followed the family to the interstate, making sure they were safely on their way back to New Hampton. The generosity caught them by surprise, furthering their appreciation for police. The love and the care that they showed, it's amazing,” Beaupre said. The family said they'll never forget those three Vermont state troopers, who ended up spending about four hours with them.