Officer Micah Noble was writing a citation at a traffic stop on Texas 183 when he began to feel dizzy.
The Bedford motorcycle officer knew that something was wrong.
He quickly wrote the ticket and went back to the station. He said he realized he had become dehydrated.
Police work is in the DNA of Lt. Col. Frank Pawlowski.
His father was a former Pennsylvania state police trooper, and 30 years ago that heritage prompted Pawlowski to pursue the same career path.
Now the former commander of Troop J in Lancaster has risen to the lead role of the state’s top law enforcement agency. Gov. Ed Rendell on Friday named Pawlowski to become acting commissioner of the state police, effective Aug. 9.
Pawlowski, who serves as deputy commissioner of operations, said he was honored by Rendell’s nomination and that looks forward to continuing initiatives started more than five years ago by exiting state police chief Col. Jeffrey Miller.
Miller, who gained notoriety for his handling of the 2006 shootings at West Nickel Mines School in Bart Township, was hired by the NFL this week to serve as director of strategic security.
“The folks down in Lancaster got a firsthand look at Col. Miller’s work, and I think everybody was extremely impressed,” Pawlowski said. “They’re big shoes to fill, but I look forward to doing that.”
Pawlowski enlisted in the state police in 1978 and was assigned to Troop J, where he served at the Embreeville barracks as a trooper. He also worked at the Avondale and Lancaster stations in the criminal investigative divisions.
He received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from West Chester State College in 1976 and is a 1999 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Pawlowski has worked as a hostage negotiator, investigated the Camp Hill Prison riots and was a special counsel to the state attorney general during a probe of former state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen.
He took over command of Troop J in September 2000 before being promoted to major by Miller in 2003, one of the first promotions authorized by the current commander.
Miller brought a great deal of energy to the office every day as a nationally respected law-enforcement personality, Pawlowski said, and he was not afraid to try to change the culture of the state police.
Pawlowski said one of his biggest goals as acting commissioner is to continue policies initiated by Miller, including the problem-specific policing program that uses computer analysis of crime statistics and maps out where crimes are occurring.
The data can lead officers to crime and traffic “hot spots,” Pawlowski said, allowing troopers to spend time in high-crime areas instead of just pursuing random patrols.
Pawlowski also pointed out the creation of the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center, a contact hub for all law enforcement, as a major achievement by Miller.
The Criminal Intelligence Center, which helps officers look for gangs, organized crime and terrorism, is poised to evolve into “fusion centers,” Pawlowski said, bringing in emergency management people, state government and the private sector.
Pawlowski said Sept. 11, 2001, changed the way law-enforcement agencies work together. The state police now have more active partnerships with federal agencies such as the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration and work on special projects with local police departments, including Lancaster and Reading.
“All the agencies had to start thinking differently about the way we treated each other,” Pawlowski said. “The cops are working smarter across the board here.”
Dog handler PC Paul Davies was attacked with a screwdriver after disturbing two men in an Oxford store in January 2006.
PC Davies received the award during a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, London.
Austin police officials announced that the department will discontinue using a leg holster worn by K-9 officers.
The move comes a day after news surfaced that a woman and her children found a loaded handgun belonging to Officer Daniel Eveleth in a Southwest Austin park. The officer did not know that his gun had been missing for hours Monday morning.
Police said Eveleth was at the end of his shift and was letting his police dog run around about 5 a.m. Monday. They said the dog jumped on the officer’s holster, knocking the weapon out. The officer learned his handgun was missing when his supervisors called.
City leaders and an assistant police chief said they are concerned about the incident and do not want it to happen again, so they are reviewing polices and have pulled the holster from use by K-9 officers.
Police said they don’t have a policy requiring officers to check their weapons when they arrive at home, but they said that is one rule they may make after an administrative review.
“This is a situation that strikes fear in every heart,” said Assistant Police Chief Al Eells. “Leaving a weapon unsecured in an area like that, simply for all of us, we are human in this department, is sickening, and we obviously want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
Police said Eveleth is upset about leaving his gun on the playground, and he may face disciplinary action for it. That decision will come after the review is completed.
The Austin Police Department has used the leg holster for five years without any problems. Only the K-9 unit has been banned from using the holster.
Thomas Howard Wambold pleaded with a state trooper who had pulled over his rig in March along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset that he was “just a working man,” according to court documents.
This week, state police Sgt. Anthony DeLuca charged Wambold, 38, of 1285 Hunter Road, Derry Township, with committing one of the largest frauds in the history of the E-ZPass automated fare-paying system.
DeLuca alleges in court documents that Wambold used an E-ZPass, stolen from a New York trucking firm now in bankruptcy, to dodge $575,980 in turnpike tolls since the transmitter was reported stolen in 2005.
Wambold’s 1995 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was rigged with a specialized electric pump system and tubing that he used to steal diesel fuel from other truckers and in-ground fuel tanks, according to DeLuca, of the state police turnpike detail at New Stanton.
“The amount we’re talking about here is astronomical. I’ve never heard of anything near this amount (of fraud) before,” said turnpike spokesman William Capone in Harrisburg.
“Usually, we’re talking maybe about a few thousand dollars, but this is really unfortunate. And because of all the circumstances I hear may be involved here, we may never recover all the losses,” Capone said.
Wambold was arraigned this week before Boswell District Judge Susan Mankamyer on charges of theft by deception, access device fraud, receiving stolen property, possessing instruments of crime and 1,241 counts of evading turnpike fares.
DeLuca noted Wambold could face fines of $1.2 million, plus restitution, if he is convicted of the traffic summaries.
Wambold was released after posting $25,000 cash bond and faces a preliminary hearing July 17.
A person who answered the telephone yesterday at Wambold’s residence said Wambold was not available for comment.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by DeLuca after a three-month investigation, Wambold’s troubles began about 8:30 p.m. March 24 along the eastbound lanes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, just east of the Allegheny Tunnel, when DeLuca pulled over his truck because the registration plate light was burned out.
“I’m just a working man,” DeLuca said Wambold told him when he asked to inspect the steel rolls he was hauling.
When DeLuca asked Wambold how many rolls he was hauling, Wambold initially said two, but later admitted that he had four rolls and that his truck was overweight, according to court documents.
“Why don’t you like me? Why are you doing this to me and my family?” Wambold asked DeLuca.
During the stop, DeLuca informed Wambold that his truck and load would be confiscated until it could be weighed the next morning at the state police turnpike station in Somerset. While the truck was driven back to the police station that evening, DeLuca said he noticed the hoses that ran from inside the truck to the fuel tanks.
Wambold said the tubes were unrelated to the truck’s operation.
“I told Wambold he was lying to me because I can see that the hoses went from his compartment to the front of his diesel fuel tanks. I told Wambold that I believed he was involved in stealing fuel from other trucks,” DeLuca said in court documents.
At that point, Wambold admitted what the hoses were used for, DeLuca said.
“Wambold shook his head and stated, ‘Yeah, it’s expensive,’ ” DeLuca reported.
DeLuca said it was not until he asked to view Wambold’s toll ticket that he began investigating the E-ZPass matter. Wambold told the officer that he did not have a ticket because he used E-ZPass.
However, the device was not mounted in the truck cab but was located under a truck bumper and attached with wires, DeLuca said. Wambold said a trucking company paid for the device, but DeLuca said he could not name the firm.
“I just pay the company … but I forgot the name,” Wambold told DeLuca.
DeLuca said he traced the E-ZPass transponder through its serial number to the New York E-ZPass system. The company, Allied Systems Ltd. in Buffalo, reported the item missing on Sept. 23, 2005. However, apparently no one informed E-Z Pass, he said.
DeLuca reported the firm has been in bankruptcy proceedings since 2005 and determined the amount of fares Wambold allegedly accrued through the transponder’s E-ZPass account. DeLuca said he matched the fares tallied on the transponder with shipping records and log books that were acquired from Wambold via a search warrant approved by Westmoreland Judge Richard McCormick Jr.
Wambold’s alleged fraud stands out even when compared to E-ZPass thefts in other states. Earlier this spring, Delaware Department of Transportation officials heralded the arrest of its top toll violater for evading some $4,748 in tolls amounting to 633 violations.
Delaware State Police say if Frank Maier, 55, of Abingdon, Md., is convicted, he could face more than $30,000 in fines. Police said Maier also drives a tractor-trailer and evaded tolls over 33 months between January 2005 and October 2007.
Police nabbed Maier after photographing his license plates as he breezed through an E-ZPass Only lane without paying.
“But this guy (Wambold) is different from most of the thefts we talk about where people just go through without paying. This truck driver had an E-ZPass that no one bothered to report to the proper officials was stolen and, unfortunately, records show that he did a lot of driving from one end of the state to the other — apparently free for 2 1/2 years,” Capone said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday unveiled the first of 20 hybrid SUVs to be used in a pilot project by the Police and Fire departments as part of a broader effort to cut gas consumption citywide.
The hybrid version of the GMC Yukon 1500 gets 20 mpg, about 25 percent better than the all-gasoline model.
Also being tested for the NYPD fleet are:
— Four all-electric Vectrix scooters capable of going up to 55 miles on a single charge.
— A three-wheeled transporter that can reach speeds up to 25 mph and run three to four hours between charges. Each can carry a single standing cop, much like a two-wheeled Segway.
“Every little bit counts,” said Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler. “These cars will be [traveling] 25,000 miles on the road each year. That will save $3,000 in gas costs when gas is $4.50.”
By NATE HUBBARD/Staff
Two Fort Chiswell High School graduates with family roots in Wytheville’s Division Four State Police Office are taking their new law enforcement skills to Brunswick County.
D. Duane Dunford, 26, and Adam Charles Svard, 22, both of Max Meadows, graduated Thursday from the Virginia State Police’s 114th Trooper Basic Session – a 35-week training program for prospective state troopers.
According to a VSP press release, the trooper academy gave the 59 graduates “more than 1,300 hours of instruction in more than 100 different subjects, including crime scene investigation, survival Spanish, judicial procedures, defensive tactics, cultural diversity and firearms.”
“It was overwhelming at first,” Svard said. “It was tough.”
Svard, whose birthday Monday coincided with his first day of work as a trooper, is the son of longtime VSP Senior Special Agent T.S. Svard.
The elder Svard has worked out of the Wytheville office since 1985 and overall has 40 years of state police experience.
“It’s a great career,” T.S. Svard said.
Dunford’s father, Dennis Dunford, has worked in maintenance at the Division Four office for the past few years. Duane Dunford said his father encouraged him to apply for the trooper position after getting to know several of the local officers.
“He was a big part of me doing it,” Duane Dunford said.
Duane Dunford is the son of Belisa Dunford.
Both Adam Svard and Duane Dunford said their first day on the job Monday had gone smoothly. All new troopers spend at least six weeks working with a field training officer to start their first assignment.
Although T.S. Svard said he’s proud that his son also has decided on a career in law enforcement, he said he never pushed him to follow in his footsteps.
T.S. Svard credited his wife, Susan, with instilling in their son the moral values needed to be a police officer.
“This is something you got to want to do,” he said. “You can’t be pushed into it.”
While the elder Svard said he only saw his son’s interest in the state police strongly develop toward the tail end of his high school days, Adam Svard said he has long been intrigued by police work.
“It’s just something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid,” he said.
With their age difference, Duane Dunford said he and Adam Svard weren’t close growing up, but he added that it’s nice to have a familiar face in Brunswick County as the two embark on their new careers.
T.S. Svard, who worked with most of the new troopers in a part of their pre-academy training, said the young men radiated confidence at last week’s graduation ceremony.
“A bunch of boys went in and they came out men,” he said. “It was a heck of a transformation.”
HARRISBURG – Nobody used to want a ticket from Col. Jeffrey B. Miller, the high-profile, 24-year veteran of the state police. Now, everyone is hounding him for tickets – to NFL ballgames.
The National Football League has given gave the career trooper, who rose to head Pennsylvania’s State Police, the dream job of every cop who loves to Sunday-afternoon quarterback: Miller will become the NFL’S director of strategic security.
In his new position, announced today, Miller will police everything from fan behavior to stadium security to teams cheating on each other. Think the New England Patriots’ signal-stealing scandal of last season.
As soon as word spread about his new job, which he starts next month, the requests for football tickets began pouring in.
“If I had a nickel for every person that has been trying to hit me up for tickets, I’d be a rich man, I wouldn’t have to work anymore,” Miller, 45, joked. “. . . And this just since this morning.”
Miller, a Harrisburg native best known for his handling of the 2006 Amish schoolhouse shooting, said he heard about the NFL job through a federal law enforcement friend. The friend told him the League had some “employment opportunities,” and that its officials were interested in talking to him about them.
“I thought, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to them, and so I did, and one thing led to another,” said Miller, who was tapped by Gov. Rendell in 2003 to head up the state police.
According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, Miller was one of 22 people interviewed for the strategic security director job. The league, said Aiello, was impressed with his background, which includes a number of training courses with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Miller has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Elizabethtown College and a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University. He enlisted with the state police when he was 21, and came up through the ranks to head the 4,275-member force.
Miller’s new job is related to the scandal that unfolded last season, when the Patriots taped the New York Jets’ defensive signals during the opening game. Patriots Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was fined $250,000 and forfeited a first-round draft pick.
Part of the description for the newly created position is to police the “use of electronic equipment by the league and clubs during games,” according to the NFL.
“I think it’s safe to say that the League is obviously sensitive to any issue which could affect the integrity of the product that they put out on the field,” Miller said yesterday. “Obviously, I wasn’t in the room when they worked this all out, but it is a new security director position and it’s going to cross over a number of different areas.”
“I’m excited at the opportunity,” he added.
While overseeing the state police, Miller became best known for his handling of the investigation into the Amish schoolhouse shooting in 2006 that left five girls dead.
He was widely praised for deftly balancing the public’s – and the media’s – need for details against the Amish community’s desire for privacy.
In an interview with The Patriot News of Harrisburg at the time, he said he tried to release as many facts as he could about the gunman and the shooting in the hope that reporters would not go knocking on doors in a community already wary of outsiders and trying to deal with tragedy.
“It’s still something I think about regularly,” Miller, the father of two girls, said yesterday of the shooting. “I think about the families . . . I’ll never forget that. It’s probably one of the most impactful things I’ve ever experienced.”
Also under Miller’s supervision, state police investigators filed perjury charges against Poconos casino owner Louis A. DeNaples. DeNaples was charged with lying to state gaming investigators about alleged ties to organized crime in order to land a casino license. He has denied the charges.
“I will miss it,” Miller said of his state police career. “. . . And I’m going to miss the people that I work with.”
Rendell now gets to name Miller’s replacement. The administration has not yet made a decision on who that person will be.
Miller hopes it is someone, who like himself, rose from within the ranks.
“It’s advantageous to first look within because we have the kind of talent that can do the job, and number two, it’s hard to learn the culture of an organization quickly,” he said. “It’s always good to have someone from within who has worked their way up and knows the people and can quickly take the reins and run with it.”
As for Miller, he will focus on moving his family north for the NFL job in New York.
He would not say yesterday how much he will get paid – he wouldn’t even say whether he would get more than his current $129,313 salary.
As for the NFL, they too were keeping that information private.
Pressed about it, Aiello, the NFL spokesman, would only say: “Less than Donovan McNabb’s.”
NEW BEDFORD — Would-be car thieves could learn from a New Bedford man’s mistake: If you’re going to steal a car, avoid the idling state police cruiser — especially if two troopers are inside.
Jose Alvarez Nieves was arrested Monday night after he allegedly tried to break into three cars in a convenience store parking lot, including an unmarked state police cruiser, according to state Trooper Paul Gifford.
“It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime stories,” Trooper Gifford said.
He and his partner were idling in the lot of a 7-Eleven store on Cove Road in the South End about 10 p.m. Monday when they spotted a man, later identified as Mr. Nieves, walking around the parking lot “eyeballing” different cars, he said.
After unsuccessfully trying the locked door of one car, Mr. Nieves headed for Trooper Gifford’s cruiser.
With just a pane of glass between Mr. Nieves and two state troopers, he tried the door handles, Trooper Gifford said.
The cruiser’s windows are heavily tinted, he said, and Mr. Nieves apparently could not see the two officers sitting inside — although they could certainly see him.
Mr. Nieves appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Trooper Gifford.
Undeterred by two failed break-in attempts, Mr. Nieves headed for a third car whose owner came out of the 7-Eleven as he was trying to open the car’s door.
At that point, Trooper Gifford and his partner — having been both witnesses and potential victims — stepped in to arrest Mr. Nieves.
Mr. Nieves, who listed his address as 1757 Acushnet Ave., was charged with attempted larceny of a motor vehicle, according to Trooper Gifford.