Lawrence native's book traces roots of Massachusetts State Police, the first in the country

Mass SP History

A grammar school in Lawrence is dedicated to Henry Kemble Oliver who was a city superintendent, mayor, school committee member and state representative.  In a new book written by a Lawrence native, we also learn Oliver was also one of the first deputy constables, the historical equivalent of today's state trooper, in Massachusetts.  Similarly, to a state police detective, Oliver was specifically tasked with investigating child labor in mills and factories some 149 years ago.  Oliver's yearlong investigation ended in 1868 "with two scathing reports to the Legislature detailing how the current school law 'was so thoroughly emasculated as to render it of no effect whatever,'" according to Ronald Guilmette's new book titled "First to Serve."  "He wrote of 'righting the downright wrong of keeping at work, young children pent up in a factory room, continuously, day after day, and those days of twelve and fourteen hours each, in some instances, without interruption for education and recreation,'" Guilmette wrote.  The culmination of four years of research by Guilmette, "First to Serve" is a 200-page historical book that traces the birth of Massachusetts State Police, the nation's oldest state police agency, from its inception in 1865 and through the next 10 years.  The majority who first served on state police were Civil War veterans, said Guilmette, 70, a Lawrence native who himself served 31 years on the Massachusetts State Police retiring in 1999 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Then, they were appointed as deputy constables.  "Today, we know them as troopers," he said.  "I just got hooked on reading some of these guys' stories," said Guilmette, a father of four and grandfather of five who lives at Salisbury Beach.  His introduction in the book notes: "Alcohol was the genesis for the state police force and the primary reason why several other New England states looked to establish state police forces during the nineteenth century."  Other reasons a state police force was needed included gambling, houses of ill repute and general lawlessness including a lack of policing in rural communities, he wrote.  But driving the state police's birth was "a total disregard for alcohol enforcement in major cities, primarily due to political influence," Guilmette wrote.  His research revealed there were 335 deputy constables that served during that initial decade of the Massachusetts State Police.  The average length of service was 2 1/2 years and the constables were everything from farmers, shoemakers, cotton spinners, blacksmiths, dentists, doctors and more.  Many were immigrants including one deputy constable who "was born at sea while crossing the Atlantic to his new home in America," Guilmette wrote.  "The pay for a constable was three dollars per day; there were no benefits and no pension.  Constables were assaulted, shot, stabbed, arrested, had their horses stolen and poisoned, their houses and barns burned to the ground, were falsely accused of crimes, suspended for lack of budgeting, and in some cases forced to resign."  "Still they forged on and established a legacy that would survive the test of time," wrote Guilmette in the book's introduction.  Guilmette said he looked to the state archives for information on the deputy constables but found information there was scarce or nonexistent.  Newspaper reports from the time, however, helped Guilmette shape short biographical sketches of the constables including where they were from, married, settled, served and buried. Reporters' accounts in the newspapers also detailed "arrests and adventures of the early constables," he said.  Guilmette included newspaper accounts from that time in the self-published book.  Proceeds benefit the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center in Grafton.  The cost of Guilmette's book is $19.95 plus $3 for shipping and can be purchased by emailing him at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

9/27/17

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Maryland State Police welcome new cadaver dog

Maryland SP K 9

The Maryland State Police K-9 Unit has welcomed its first human remains detection dog in two decades to their ranks.  Skye, a 3-year old springer spaniel, is currently one of only three law enforcement human remains detection dogs in Maryland, according to a news release from the Maryland State Police.  She officially began work on Sept. 13 and will be made available to allied Maryland police agencies that may require the services of a cadaver dog.  Ron Snyder, public information officer for the MSP Office of Media Communications, said a cadaver dog is brought in when police are searching for a person that is believed to be deceased.  “Cadaver dogs are trained differently from search and rescue dogs, which are utilized to find living humans and not detect decomposing flesh,” he said.  Skye’s handler is Sgt. Rick Kelly, a 15-year veteran of the K-9 Unit based out of Barrack A Waterloo in Jessup, and she is assigned to the Special Operations Command.  According to the release, Skye was donated to the MSP on June 24 and underwent training leading up to her official start this month.  Two handlers from the FBI Evidence Response Team Unit, Forensic K9 Consulting — Wynn Warren and Jay Topoleski — trained Skye in the detection of human remains and they were also involved with her MSP training, according to the release.  The MSP K-9 Unit has been in operation since 1961, with K-9’s assisting in drug detection, search and rescue, explosive detection and criminal apprehension.  Currently the MSP employs 32 handlers and 41 K-9’s throughout the state, according to the release.

9/26/17

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North Carolina Highway Patrol graduates 23 new troopers

NCHP 142nd graduation class

The State Highway Patrol proudly welcomed 23 new troopers at a graduation ceremony for the 142nd Basic Highway Patrol School Friday, September 22.  The celebration ended 15 weeks of extensive academic and physical training.  The ceremony was held at the Colonial Baptist Church in Cary at 10 a.m.  The oath of office was administered by Justice Michael R. Morgan, Supreme Court of North Carolina.  Colonel G. M. McNeill Jr., 27th Commander of the State Highway Patrol provided words of encouragement.  “My challenge to you on this day is a charge to be an effective law enforcement leader, to carry out your duty to North Carolina with loyalty, integrity and professionalism,” said Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr.   “Remember what you’ve learned, use good judgment, don’t forget that effective communication is key and always apply ethics to your decision-making process.”  The cadets will report to their respective duty stations on Wednesday, October 11th, to begin a rigorous field training program.

9/25/17

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Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers to carry Narcan

Missouri carry Narcan

The Missouri State Highway Patrol and other state law enforcement officers are being trained on how to use an opioid overdose reversal medication.  Several troopers, park rangers and conservation agents gathered at MSHP General Headquarters on Aug. 30 for training on how to use Naloxone, also known as Narcan.  Every trooper will carry this medication after they complete training on it.  “The purpose is to fight opioid overdose and save lives,” said Trooper Nicholas Greiner with MSHP Troop H.  Greiner who has been a trooper for ten years and said he never imagined that someday he would have to carry something like Narcan.  Patrol superintendent Colonel Sandra Karsten directed the Patrol to prepare to carry and be able to use Narcan.  The drug has been stored in ambulances for several years, but Patrol will carry Narcan as a means to bridge the gap from when they arrive until a paramedic does.  The medication can be administered in a couple different ways but troopers are being trained on the nasal spray version, which works in 2-5 minutes on average.  According to MSHP, this is all a part of the Missouri Hope Project, which was conducted by Missouri’s Department of Mental Health.  The project’s goal is “to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Missouri through expanded access to prevention, public awareness, assessment, referral to treatment, overdose education and naloxone for those at risk of experiencing or witnessing an overdose event.”  “The project is a response to a nationwide opioid epidemic,” said Greiner.  The troopers are trained on how to use the medication, as well as what symptoms to look for.  Symptoms include slow breathing, discolored lips and nails, cold and clammy skin and tiny pinpoint pupils.  Greiner said he was taught to use CPR first if the subject does not have a pulse.  The patrol said Narcan spray is easy to administer and highly effective.  On Saturday, a Troop D officer, who had been recently trained, used Narcan on a motorist who had overdosed. It saved the motorist’s life.  According to MSHP, in 2016 there were more than 900 deaths in the state that resulted from heroin overdoses.

9/22/17

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Michigan State Police trooper killed in line-of-duty

Michigan Trooper ONeill End of Watch collage

Trooper Timothy O'Neill was killed in a motorcycle crash, in Plainfield Township, at approximately 7:45 am.  He was riding his department motorcycle when he was involved in the crash near the intersection of Wolverine Boulevard NE and Belding Road NE.  Trooper O'Neill had served with the Michigan State Police for three years.  He is survived by his mother, father, brother, sister, and fiancee.  The crash occurred two weeks before his wedding date.

9/21/17

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