Trooper D.R. Murray Receives High Honors From West Virginia State Police
A Bluefield High School graduate whose long-time dream was to become a trooper was recently awarded one of the highest honors from the West Virginia State Police. Trooper D.R. Murray was honored with the prestigious Superinten-dent’s Award at a May event in South Charleston. Murray was presented the award for his numerous arrests and investigations while with the Welch detachment of the West Virginia State Police. During 2015, Murray completed 137 criminal investigations, made 80 felony and 140 misdemeanor arrests, confiscated $2,379,068 worth of illegal drugs and recovered $23,403 in stolen property, according to Welch detachment commander Sgt. C.F. Kane. Murray was also the lead investigator on a high-profile double murder in the Litwar area. “The perpetrator shot them and burned their bodies,” Murray said, recalling the case. “It was a who-done-it murder.” Within 38 hours of the initial call of the double homicide, Murray developed two suspects and interviewed each, Kane said. “One suspect confessed to being the shooter and killing both victims and the other suspect confessed to being present at the time of the shooting. Each suspect was charged with first-degree murder.” Murray credited his fellow troopers for their hard work on the double homicide. “Everybody at the Welch detachment worked wonders on that case,” he said. He also acknowledged the Welch troopers for their role in his achievement of the Superintendent’s Award, and spoke of the tight camaraderie at the McDowell detachment. “I would not have been able to get this if not for them,” Murray said. “This is not only my hard work, but their hard work. They’re legitimately why I got this award. They deserve it just as much as anybody does.” Detachment commander Kane said it was “a pleasure” having Murray work under his command. “He’s a well-rounded trooper,” Kane said. “The state of West Virginian and its citizens are lucky to have a man of this caliber in uniform.” Murray previously worked with the Bluefield and Princeton police departments, and served 10 years with the National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq from 2009 to 2010. However, serving as a West Virginia State Police trooper has always been his life-long goal. While a junior in high school, Murray was assigned to write a letter to his then-teacher, Kim Miller, wife of State Police Princeton detachment commander Sgt. Doug Miller, about his career aspirations. Kim Miller kept the 2004 letter, and shared it with the Daily Telegraph. “The thing that influenced me was the time that Trooper Doug (Miller) came to school and I went with him to his State Trooper car ...,” Murray wrote. “This is when I knew I wanted to be a State Trooper. This is what I am going to be, and this is what I want to be. Thank you.” In honor of receiving the Superintendent’s Award, Murray was presented with a 2016 Ford Explorer cruiser and a plaque that reads, “In recognition for positively representing the ideals of the Department by consistently performing their duties with outstanding skill, diligence, productivity, judgment and responsibility.” The State Police Welch detachment has a long history of award winners. Commander Kane is the only two time Medal of Valor honoree in the state. He earned the awards for an attempted rescue of a man in the Guyandotte River and the rescue of individuals during a fire at the Tyson Towers apartments. Sgt. J.S. McCarty was also awarded a Medal of Valor for his actions during the Tyson Towers fire. Trooper J.R. Coburn, also of the Welch detachment, earned a Medal of Valor for his actions in stopping a subject who was preparing to shoot a law enforcement officer in Mercer County. Murray, who was assigned to the Welch detachment upon his completion of the State Police Academy in 2014, has recently been reassigned to the State Police Monroe County detachment at Union.
Trooper First Class Brandon Benett Named Arkansas' Trooper of the Year
Trooper First Class Brandon Bennett, a seven year veteran Arkansas State Trooper, assigned to Highway Patrol Division Troop C (Mississippi County), has been awarded the department’s Trooper of the Year (2015). The award was presented today by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, during the Annual Arkansas State Police Awards Luncheon. TFC. Bennett was also awarded the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor. The honors were awarded for Bennett’s role in the July 1, 2015 apprehension of two Missouri fugitives who had shot a store clerk during a robbery. The arrests followed a pursuit that began near the Missouri – Arkansas border. The gunmen had already shot at a Mississippi County deputy and TFC. Bennett before the driver of the robbery getaway car lost control and crashed in a Blytheville neighborhood. Both fugitives fled the area on foot. TFC. Bennett left his patrol car to assist in the search and encountered one suspect hiding in thick brush. TFC. Bennett was met with resistance from the suspect who struggled to break-away from the trooper. The suspect was handcuffed by TFC. Bennett and turned-over to local authorities
Missouri State Trooper Thanked For saving woman from fiery wreckage
That’s what the family of Becky Crawford of Belton on Wednesday expressed to Missouri Highway Patrol trooper Jim Thuss, who had pulled her from her burning car in early February. “I owe my life to Trooper Thuss,” Crawford said. “The car was literally engulfed in flames within seconds. If he hadn’t been there to pull me out, I wouldn’t be here today.” Crawford was severely injured in the crash, suffering a broken pelvis and arm as well as two fractures in her spine. Crawford’s family presented Thuss with a plaque at the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Troop A headquarters in Lee’s Summit. They also gave him a large thank-you card in which each family member had written a personal message. “It’s extremely humbling,” Thuss said. “We don’t do this for recognition like that. I’m grateful for them and absolutely thrilled that Becky has recovered as she has.” The crash happened the morning of Feb. 2 and was caught on the dashboard camera of Thuss’ patrol car. Thuss was on Route D just north of Missouri 58 near Belton when he saw a 2002 Cadillac DeVille traveling 68 mph in a 50 mph zone. As he turned around to pull the car over, he checked the car’s speed at 101. The Cadillac, using the turn lane, passed other traffic that had stopped for a red light at the intersection of Missouri 58. The car ran a red light and smashed into Crawford’s car. There was an instant fireball followed by a plume of smoke. Fire started to grow along the driver’s side of Crawford’s car. Thuss ran to the passenger side, climbed inside and pulled her out. An off-duty Johnson County deputy sheriff helped him carry Crawford up a hill and away from the car. The driver of the Cadillac fled from the scene, but Belton police arrested him a short time later. Thuss shies away from being called a hero. He pointed to a wall of pictures of troopers killed in the line of duty. He also mentioned the fatal shooting of Kansas City, Kan., police Detective Brad Lancaster earlier this week. “Those are the true heroes out there,” Thuss said. “I was out doing my job, and that is what occurred that day.” Crawford disagrees and said he’s an amazing person. “He may think he’s just doing his job, but he does way more than that,” she said. “He’s just a very caring person.” At the hospital, Thuss had told her that he wouldn’t have let her burn. “I think about that and it chokes me up because I just can’t believe he would do that for me,” she said. She believes her rescue was definitely a miracle. Crawford’s husband, Ron, said they felt getting together to honor Thuss seemed fitting. “We have our wife, our daughter, our sister, our mother because of what he did,” he said.
Connecticut State Police K-9s In the Digital Age
Police dogs are great at sniffing out hidden drugs -- and as more crime goes digital, state police in Connecticut are training canines to sniff out evidence on computers and cell phones. Somewhere stashed behind a long wooden wall, in a dark gymnasium packed with old suitcases, is a hidden computer memory card. It's the kind of tiny chip you'd slip into a cell phone or a digital camera. Selma, a trim black lab with a nose trained to sniff out technology, is determined to find it. She can find things like hard drives, "cell phones, mobile devices -- such as tablets -- and, more importantly, devices such as USB drives or SD cards," said her handler, Detective George Jupin with the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. After picking up the scent, Selma zips over to one corner of the gym, and puts her paws up on the wall to indicate she's found the stashed memory card. Jupin said Selma goes out about twice a week to execute search warrants. One time he said police already searched a house, but when they brought in Selma, she hit on a drawer human officers overlooked. Shoved in the back was a digital camera -- and it was filled with pictures indicating a child pornography suspect was doing more than just looking. "You don't have enough time to look at everything, but with the canine, it definitely makes you feel that you've done a more thorough investigation," Jupin said. "Getting into all those nooks and crannies of a house, particularly when the houses are large -- or they're packed with a lot of stuff. It's helpful." Selma was Connecticut's first E-Dog. Since then, state police taught six other Labradors to find hidden hardware. Those dogs are serving at police departments across the country and at the FBI. Trooper First Class Michael Real trains the dogs. Originally, he said they were bred to assist the blind, but didn't make it in guide-dog school, in part, because of high energy and an obsession with food -- bad traits for a seeing-eye dog -- but ideal for a canine in training. "We take these dogs particularly because they have great food drive -- and that’s how they eat every day from the time we get 'em," Real said. "It’s odor equates to food." Selma gets her dinner when she finds a chemical compound surrounding the memory boards of all cell phones and computers. It's put there to help keep the hardware cool. Real said it took about a year to train Selma to find the compound on actual hardware. Now, she can find hidden DVDs and Blu Ray discs, too. Real said the E-Dogs are even alerting to vintage tech -- like stashed-away floppy discs or VHS tapes. "They constantly amaze you with their ability to identify something similar to what they've been trained on," Real said. "It kind of leads us down the path of other things we should be training them on." Detective George Jupin said he's already getting calls for Selma to assist in homicide and fraud investigations. And while bomb-sniffing dogs are already a thing -- Jupin said the next step for Selma might be bomb reconstruction -- using her nose at a blast site to sniff out the scattered components of a computerized detonator.