Safety is personal for South Caroline Highway Patrol's first black commander
Recalling how a drunk driver took a life dear to him, new S.C. Highway Patrol Commander Christopher Williamson said highway safety will be his top issue. “We want to make sure we save people’s lives on the highways,” said Williamson, the first African-American to lead South Carolina’s highway troopers. Williamson’s promotion was announced last Friday. The State asked the Darlington County native about his nearly 30-year Highway Patrol career that led, last week, to him being placed in charge of policing S.C. highways and keeping travelers safe:
Q: What made you decide to join the Highway Patrol?
A: “I found my passion for law enforcement, wanting to be a law enforcement officer, at a young age of 12 years old. My 9-year-old sister was killed by a drunk driver. ... I watched my parents go through that suffering and have to deal with it. And my mentality then was that when I become of age, I would go to college, get a degree ... (and) take drunk drivers off the road and make a difference. That’s what I’ve tried to do.”
Q: How do you feel about being the first African-American to lead the Highway Patrol?
A: “The fact that I’m African-American, I have no control over. I just happen to be African-American, but I feel like I’m the colonel for all people regardless of the color of my skin. I have the skill set, the ability, the education and the background to be able to do this job and save people’s lives and help accomplish the mission towards highway safety issues.”
Q: What have you learned about South Carolina as a highway patrolman?
A: “I’ve learned that if you work hard and treat people fair, do the right thing and show people your skill set and ability, that anything in this state is possible – that you can accomplish your dreams and goals and you can definitely be successful and move forward.”
Q: What challenges have you had to overcome on the Highway Patrol?
A: “(L)earning the laws of this state, learning what it takes to try to have to deal with people from all walks of life when you’re out there making traffic stops and trying to keep our highways safe. You run into people from all walks of life, from all nationalities, from all parts of the world that travel through our roadways. “And you may meet people with different personalities, and you’ve got to be a person in law enforcement that wears different hats. People you stop – everybody’s not the same. That can be a challenge if you are not a person that has those interpersonal skills and are able to converse with people on any level. ... I was able to learn that early on and it has really paid off for me.”
Trooper trapped under car saved by citizen using incredible strength to lift the vehicle
Many people think that lifting a car up is no problem, but attempt it and you won’t budge the thing. However, hero citizen Kenny Franklin had no issue getting a car lifted off of Florida State Trooper Jack Hypes, who was pinned under a vehicle according to Fox News. Franklin was taking an Uber to work on Thursday morning when his driver apparently suffered a seizure, on I-4 near I-275. The drivers foot was on the gas pedal during his episode, according to Franklin, and he felt as if he was going to die. From the backseat of the car, he was somehow able to get the vehicle on the side of the road and that is when the Uber driver came out of his seizure. Franklin said that the driver “didn’t know where he was at, so he tried to put the car into a gear, and so he’s fumbling with the car.” Taking the opportunity to get out of the car, Kenny jumped out and saw Trooper Jack Hypes walking toward him. Franklin said, “He starts walking up towards me, to assist and assess the situation. As he did that, the driver mistakenly puts the car in reverse and hits the officer, who is then pinned underneath the car.” With adrenaline racing through him, all he could think about was ‘that this needed to end well’. Using his adrenaline he was able to lift car off of Trooper Jack Hypes. It should be noted that Kenny Franklin is also a very big man. Luckily the trooper suffered non-life threatening injuries, but had some minor ones. The Florida Highway Patrol said that ‘all three men will be okay.’ They commended Franklin, who said he was in the right place at the right time.
State Police bust multimillion dollar drug operation
New Jersey State Police detectives and local authorities busted an alleged drug operation, seized millions of dollars in suspected drugs and arrested four suspects, police said. Last Wednesday, officers from the State Police and North Bergen arrested three of the suspects and seized 40 kilograms of heroin, a statement from the State Police said, after intercepting an alleged drug deal in the parking lot of a business in North Bergen. Then Thursday, officers from the State Police and Willingboro raided an address at 78 Berkshire Lane in Willingboro, the statement said. Authorities seized 80 kilograms of heroin, 3 kilograms of methamphetamine, 50,000 Percocet tablets, 3 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, and paraphernalia consistent with distribution, the statement said. The total value of the heroin seized was $9.6 million. “There’s no question that multiple lives were saved by this record-level seizure of heroin and fentanyl,” said Attorney General Christopher Porrino in a statement. “ The 120 kilos of heroin seized by this team over the past two days would have been cut into millions upon millions of individual doses of heroin, made even deadlier if laced with the lethal fentanyl that was also seized."
110 lbs of marijuana seized
The Missouri Highway Patrol posted a photo to Twitter Friday night that showed someone’s weekend plans had gone up in smoke. “110lbs of marijuana seized from a traffic stop!” the patrol wrote via Twitter. The attached photo shows dozens of bags of marijuana. Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the patrol told The Star that the bust occurred in Platte County. A trooper detected the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and a probable cause search revealed the stash in a hidden factory compartment. “#JustSayNo #MakeSmartChoices,” the patrol wrote on Twitter.