HEROES & HELPERS
Two-year old JayShaun was having fun Tuesday checking out all the options in the toy department of the Target store just outside Carlisle. His mother, Camren Spahr, looked on with appreciation for the Pennsylvania state trooper volunteering his time to help her child narrow his choices. “It’s amazing,” she said of the Heroes & Helpers program offered by the store chain. “They should do it more often. It allows kids to know that all cops are not bad.” In another part of the store, trooper Krystal Weston of the Carlisle station was busy helping 9-year-old Kennedi Smith pick out a pair of shoes to buy using a gift card provided by the local store. “It’s really generous of Target to donate money to children in need,” Weston said. “I feel privileged they allowed us to take part in it. They have given us the opportunity to make a good first impression on some young kids who never had any interaction with police.” A nationwide program, Heroes & Helpers pairs law enforcement officers with needy children so that together they can form a bond while buying gifts for their families. “We are giving them some money to shop and build a relationship,” said Wei-Fung Chang, assets protection team leader for the Carlisle Target store that donated $600 to children living in the Stuart House. Operated by Salvation Army in Carlisle, the Stuart House is a transitional housing program that helps families coming out of emergency shelters further address the issues that brought them into homelessness, case manager Kristina Kennedy said. Seven Stuart House children were teamed up Tuesday with four state troopers on a mini-shopping spree funded by $60 gift cards. Two mothers also pitched in along with six employees of the local store. Store employees will be buying gifts on behalf of three other children at the Stuart House shelter who are too young to participate in the program but still could use the help. “It’s a great way to combine all the parts,” said Trooper Jacob Fackler of the Carlisle station. “Somebody has a need, somebody can fill it and we are blessed that they can include us in on the interaction and to be a part of it.” “There are a lot of things happening in this world that turns a lot of people against cops,” said Spahr who does not buy into that philosophy. She thought it was really to see police officers in a positive light. Case manager Kennedy was pleased with the timing of the program saying that organizing a shopping spree to benefit children would have been too crazy during the holiday season. “Our families are recipients of a lot of wonderful programs,” said Kennedy adding how Heroes & Helpers allows children to team up with law enforcement to buy necessities that fill in some gaps left behind from other programs. Ryan Loretta manages the stores in Carlisle and Mechanicsburg as the store team leader. He explained how Heroes & Helpers has been around in some form for at least 10 years. Previously, it was known as Shop with a Cop. The goal has always been to combine law enforcement with community outreach to offer a bonding experience for needy youth, Loretta said. He added that normally Heroes & Helpers is done around November or December, but the decision was made to delay the Carlisle program until late January because of the number of Stuart House families involved. “This program helps kids who do not have a lot of clothing and shoes get what they need for school,” said Kendejah Smith, 13, an 8th grader at Wilson Middle School living in the Stuart House.
State Police dog leads troopers to heroin bust in Northampton
State police said a trooper deployed his dog on a search of a vehicle Monday in Northampton. K-9 Brutus searched an Acura and alerted troopers to several locations within the car, where eventually 250 bags of heroin and a bag of cocaine were found. The vehicle had previously been pulled over by State Trooper Robert Wyckoff before Brutus and his handler Trooper Matthew Donah were called in to help. The official Massachusetts State Police website reports that the state’s 38 K-9 police dog units assist in the average annual search and seizure of about 40 kilos of cocaine, 11 kilos of heroin and 3,000 pounds of marijuana.
Virginia State Police Graduates 75 New Troopers
The Virginia State Police will gain 74 new troopers and a special agent at the 123rdBasic Session graduation ceremony Friday, beginning at 10 a.m., at the state police academy in North Chesterfield. “Law enforcement is one of the most honorable calls to service,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent in a news release. “Why endure 28 weeks of physical, emotional and demanding academic environment? It’s because the men and women who take the oath have a passion to protect their communities and understand what it means to sacrifice and serve.” A highlight of the graduation ceremony is when the superintendent hands the state police diploma to the new troopers. This year, a dozen members of the graduating class will receive their diplomas from a family member who currently serves or is retired from local, state or federal law enforcement. The graduates hail from all over Virginia and from Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and one from the Czech Republic. A number of the new troopers previously served in law enforcement, corrections or the military, contributing some 185 years combined prior experience in those fields to the 123rdstate police graduating class, according to the news release. The new troopers started their training last February and received more than 1,600 hours of classroom and field instruction in more than 100 subjects such as crime scene investigation, survival Spanish, judicial procedures, self defense, cultural diversity and firearms. Graduates will report for duty on Monday when the Culpeper division office will gain three new troopers, one in Madison County and four in Albemarle County.
Two New Jersey State Troopers Help Deliver a Baby
Police released dashcam video Thursday showing two state troopers helping to delivery a woman’s baby on the side of a New Jersey road. A man was driving his wife to the hospital Monday around 4:14 a.m. when the mother-to-be realized she wouldn’t make it, the New Jersey State Police posted on Facebook. The couple then stopped on the shoulder of Garden State Parkway and phoned 911. Trooper II Alex Muro and Trooper Arnaldo Mateo were dispatched and discovered the expecting mother already in labor when they arrived. That’s when the dashcam video began to roll, capturing one of the troopers leaning into the car and offering words of encouragement to the woman as cars sped by. “There we go. One, two, three, push,” he said, then “keep going, keep going.” Cheers can then be heard, and the officers begin to discuss cutting the umbilical cord and locating a blanket for the newborn. In all, the video lasted 47 seconds. Both troopers helped in cutting the cord and cradled the baby girl before handing her back to her mother, according to the department. The mother and newborn were then transported by ambulance to a hospital and were said to be doing well. The incident comes a little over two weeks after state police helped deliver a baby on the same roadway.