Dereck Stewart has started his role as the new colonel and leader of the Tennessee Highway Patrol

THP New Colonel

MTSU graduate Dereck Stewart has started his role as the new colonel and leader of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Stewart, who previously held the rank of lieutenant colonel, was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David W. Purkey in April. The rise of the of 30-year veteran to the position also marks the first time an African-American has held the role of THP colonel, the agency's top leader. "It's always worth it to notice when history gets made," Haslam said during a ceremony at that time. "(Stewart) is the very first African-American to be lead this organization, but that's not why we promoted him. We promoted him because he is the best, most qualified, (and) has the right track record. We're thrilled we get to make this appointment." Stewart was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2011 after serving in various capacities throughout the agency and has been responsible for the daily operations of the THP for the last seven years. Murfreesboro resident Tracy Trott retired May 31 after 40 years of service, including eight years as THP's leader.  The governor said it had been an honor to serve with Trott, and Stewart called Trott a friend and mentor. Stewart is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, the Executive Leadership Institute, the FBI National Executive Institute and Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Davidson County with his wife and two children.




Minnesota trooper says his seat belt saved his life in head-on crash

MSP Trooper seat belt

Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Mike Krukowski says if it weren't for his seatbelt, his wife would've been planning his funeral. Krukowski was involved in a head-on crash last month when a driver near Lakeville veered off I-35, went through the freeway fence and struck his squad SUV.   Krukowski says over his 14 years on patrol, he's heard every reason why people don't wear their seatbelts -- including, I'll be able to belt in if needed.  He says he had fractions of a second when he saw the car coming at him. Krukowski says, "There was no way that I would be able to reach over my left shoulder and pull that seatbelt on and click it on moments before impact.  There's not a chance."  Krukowski broke both his feet and arm in the crash. The driver of the other car died several days later.



Law Enforcement from across the country pay final respects to NC Highway Patrol Trooper Samuel Bullard

NC troope laid to rest

Authorities from across the country made their way to North Carolina Friday to pay their final farewell to State Highway Patrol Trooper Samuel Bullard. Bullard, 24, died in a crash with a suspect who had passed through a license checkpoint. The crash happened along Interstate 77 southbound near NC 67 in Yadkin County. On Friday, the focus was not on the investigation, but Trooper Bullard's legacy and impact on others.  "This extraordinary young man who worked very hard and did what he was supposed to do.  And we're grateful for his life," said Governor Roy Cooper, the first to speak during the hour-long funeral. Cameras were not allowed inside, but media was invited to listen in. Governor Cooper described Bullard as being "full of the spirit of service." Reverend Victor Church led the service and was the final speaker. During his remarks, he jokingly recalled Bullard's proposal fell on April Fool's Day of this year.  He also read aloud a note written by Bullard's fiancé, where she shared her never-ending love and devotion.  "Thinking about the age he came on, planning for his wedding the same time I was planning for my wedding.  It's just - you ask a lot of questions, you ask a lot of the 'why's?'," said State Highway Patrol Sgt. Chris Knox.  Sgt. Knox was one of more than a thousand law enforcement personnel to converge on the Walker Center on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.  He explained the impact of placing the ceremonial black band over his shield in memory of Bullard.  "I put it on and knew that everything had changed.  For a family everything had changed.  For the people that worked with him, everything had changed.  When you put this on, it hurts.  It's pretty close to the heart and the hearts what's affected by all this," explained Sgt. Knox.  Trooper Bullard's dedication and professionalism were brought up by many throughout the day.  "It should really motivate all of us to strive to be like him, and to honor him by going out in the communities and being the trooper he was in his community," said Sgt. Knox.  Bullard's three-year anniversary with State Highway Patrol would have been June 21.  Law enforcement agencies from more than a dozen states sent representatives to Friday's service.  They included various law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina, Georgia State Patrol, Ohio Highway Patrol, Virginia State Police, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Wisconsin State Police, Delaware State Police, Utah Highway Patrol, Pennsylvania State Police, Indiana State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, Missouri Highway Patrol, Illinois State Police, Michigan State Police, West Virginia State Police, among others.  Following the funeral, family, friends, and law enforcement personnel attended a private, graveside memorial service in Rhonda.



New York State Police fill time capsule, remember fallen troopers

NYSP Time Capsule

As state police paid tribute to fallen troopers Monday morning, they made sure photographs, reports and other information also would not be forgotten. State police placed a time capsule behind a monument for fallen members at their annual Memorial Day services outside the front entrance of the Troop D headquarters in Oneida, Trooper Jack Keller said. The ceremony is held each year to remember and honor 24 Troop D members who have given the "ultimate sacrifice," Keller said. About 150 people attended Monday. State police Maj. Mary Clark, who previously served as a Zone 1 Commander captain, spearheaded the idea of a centennial time capsule.  "The entire troop -- troop headquarters, zone stations and Bureau of Criminal Investigation units -- were notified and requested to provide some form of a portfolio containing interesting, noteworthy events, photographs, reports or whatever they thought would speak more clearly in the future, as compared to a historical study or verbal story sharing," Keller said. State police submitted items throughout 2017 "in a collective effort to compile a historical cache of goods and information," he said. "A few members took time to draft letters, in hope of same being read by family and relatives in the future." Items were placed inside a waterproof fiberglass time capsule, constructed by Zone 1 Commander Capt. Mark Klosowski; other members from Troop D also assisted. Members of the state police signed the outside of the time capsule, which Keller said, instructs future generations not to open it until at least the year 2067.



New Superintendent is appointed to lead the North Dakota Highway Patrol

NDHP New Superintendent

North Dakota Highway Patrol Maj. Brandon Solberg was appointed Thursday, May 17, to oversee the agency by Gov. Doug Burgum, who cited his leadership experience and history of field and administrative roles during his more than 22 years in law enforcement. Solberg will succeed Col. Michael Gerhart, who is retiring from the agency on June 30 after four years as Highway Patrol superintendent and more than 26 years with the agency. Solberg has been with the Highway Patrol for nearly two decades, including more than 10 years as a commander at patrol headquarters in the state Capitol. Before joining the Highway Patrol in January 1999, he was a Dickey County sheriff’s deputy and served as a part-time reserve deputy in Barnes County, working in corrections and patrol operations. “Maj. Solberg brings the right combination of leadership and management skills to lead the North Dakota Highway Patrol, as well as a deep understanding of what troopers face every day as they protect the public and enforce our laws,” Burgum said. “His focus on education and training, building partnerships and holding the Highway Patrol to the highest standards of professional excellence will serve North Dakota citizens well.” Solberg earned an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Alexandria (Minnesota) Technical College and a bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of North Dakota. He spent the first six years of his Highway Patrol career as a state trooper stationed in Grafton and Grand Forks before being promoted to sergeant and becoming a shift supervisor in Fargo. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2007, relocating to headquarters in Bismarck. Solberg advanced to the rank of captain in 2011 and was promoted to major and chief of staff in 2014, managing the patrol’s biennial budget of about $60 million and directly or indirectly supervising a staff of about 200 people. He was the patrol’s accreditation manager for about seven years, receiving the Colonel’s Award for Excellence in 2009 after the agency received a meritorious award and flagship agency status from its accrediting board. “I am grateful to Gov. Burgum for the opportunity to serve as the next Highway Patrol superintendent,” Solberg said. “I will listen and learn from our dedicated employees as we continue to enhance public safety for our citizens through high-quality service. Col. Gerhart was an exceptional leader, and I hope to build on the positive momentum he created.” Burgum expressed his deepest gratitude to Gerhart for his leadership and more than 26 years with the Highway Patrol, including stints as a trooper, safety and education officer, training director and field operations commander. “Col. Gerhart’s outstanding service as a law enforcement officer and leader have made the Highway Patrol a stronger agency and North Dakota a safer place to live and travel,” Burgum said. “We are deeply grateful for his steadfast commitment to public safety and his levelheaded leadership in both calm and tumultuous times. We thank him for helping to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership and wish him all the best.”