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A state trooper turned the backseat of a car into a delivery room when a mother just couldn’t wait to get to the hospital to have her baby.
It was a speedy deliver for an expectant mom and dad and the two troopers who were in the right place at the right time.
A Plainville dad and his wife in labor tried to make it to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, but on the highway near the Braintree split, they had to call 911.
“I determined that they weren’t going to make it, so we knew what we had to do,” dispatcher Charles Tilden said.
Troopers Walker and St. Ives were nearby, heard the call, found the car and tried to escort to the hospital — but the baby put the brakes on that plan.
For the second time this month, Massachusetts state troopers have performed double duty as roadside midwives, delivering a baby girl early this morning in the backseat of her parents’ car.
A Plainville couple was rushing to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston up I-95 toward I-93 at about 2:30 a.m. when the expectant mother went into labor, according to State Police. Her husband called 911 to report that his wife seemed on the verge of giving birth, bringing five state troopers to help.
In observance of National Police Week, the Tennessee Highway Patrol today honored State Troopers and other law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty at its annual Memorial Service at the Tennessee Department of Safety Headquarters on Foster Avenue in Nashville.
TDOS Commissioner Dave Mitchell welcomed Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn as the event’s keynote speaker, while Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Walker, members of THP’s Command Staff, current and former State Troopers, and family members of fallen officers were also on hand for the ceremony.
The new officer is K-9 Henzo, who was introduced by police Chief Robert Edler at the town council meeting March 15. After giving the crime report for February, Edler called in Henzo, a sable shepherd who entered the council chamber with his human partner, Officer James Walker.
Walker and Henzo graduated from training at the beginning of March, and Walker reported that the team had already made four drug arrests in the two weeks between then and the council meeting. “I hope he doesn’t find anything in here,” said Mayor Margo Bailey when she heard of the dog’s drug detection record to date.
The Hanover Township Police Department’s K-9 unit has returned in full force. Officer Mark Stefanowicz is back as K-9 handler with his new police dog, Ado.
Ado is a 15-month-old Malinois/German shepherd mix breed imported from the Czech Republic. He and Stefanowicz have been on patrol, making arrests for several weeks.
The resumption of the K-9 unit comes after the July 31 retirement of the department’s longtime police dog, Rikki, also handled by Stefanowicz.
Police and administration officials in the township had been trying to come up with a plan to obtain another dog. The cost to purchase and train a new dog is at least $10,000.
Then, one day, Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll called Hanover Township police Chief Al Walker. Musto Carroll told Walker she heard the department’s K-9 recently retired and her office wanted to offer the money to purchase a new one. The money was available through the forfeiture of cash from drug cases her office prosecutes, she said.
“While we were trying to get a plan in place, District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll called me. She offered the necessary resources to get it done,” Walker said. “From our perspective, it’s a huge assistance to the township to reach out to us and offer resources without us even making a request.”
Without the district attorney’s help, there is no way the police department would have been able to have a K-9 on the force this soon, Walker said.
“Everything fell into place. I couldn’t have asked for it to fall into place any better than it did,” Walker said. “The police department realizes the importance of having a K-9. We would have found the means to get it done. It would have gotten done, but not this soon.”
Ado is trained in building searches, open-area scent searches, criminal tracking, crowd control, suspect apprehension, vehicle searches and narcotics tracking. He is trained to detect marijuana, heroin, crack, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine and their derivatives.
Ado’s first big drug bust came in late November at a residence in the Hanover Village Apartments. He found 45 grams of drugs, and helped police uncover other drug dealing paraphernalia and $2,500 in cash.
When Ado was let inside, “that’s when we found all the evidence,” Stefanowicz explained.
“It saves so much time in searching a residence,” Stefanowicz said.
Walker said it was an easy choice to once again let Stefanowicz lead the K-9 unit, a job he has held for 10 years.
“This is the type of work he excels at. He was the perfect fit to continue with the new K-9,” Walker said. “It’s a commitment. This dog is with you on your shift and at home.”
By B Kalinowski
In his first two months on duty, Niko was twice hit by cars, once when chasing a felon across a Lathrop street and the second time by a carjacker who was fleeing the dog and his handler, county sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Biedermann.
“He literally hit the ground running,” said Sgt. Steve Walker, one of Niko’s trainers.
Those close calls came in late 2004. On July 23, the 61/2-year-old Dutch shepherd was shot and killed by a federal marshal he had bitten during a struggle with a wanted man.
Niko’s badge number, 21, was retired Wednesday at a memorial ceremony in front of the Sheriff’s Office, attended by dozens of people, some of them police dog handlers who had traveled from as far as Salinas and West Covina.
Over the course of his career, Niko collected 57 street apprehensions and helped with more than 400 felony arrests.
Walker said Niko was so well known that the Lathrop restaurant Mikasa named a sushi roll after him – the Spicy Niko Roll. In 2007, Biedermann and Niko were named officers of the year by the Italian-Athletic Club.
When he took the podium Wednesday afternoon, Biedermann said he had never really been a man of many words, then paused for a long time before continuing.
“I just wanted to say thank you,” he said. “He was always there. He saved me several times. He was always fearless and dependable.”
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances that led to the confusion in which Niko bit the wrong person, a federal marshal working alongside the Sheriff’s Office to catch fugitive Glen Hughes.
The U.S. Marshals Service is investigating the shooting itself.
The marshal did not know Niko was a Sheriff’s Office dog when he fired, a spokeswoman has said.
Sheriff Steve Moore said Wednesday that the U.S. Marshals Service will help acquire a new dog to replace Niko.
Moore also said the Sheriff’s Office will build a memorial to fallen service dogs.
Imagine this: It’s a gorgeous spring day in Miami and you’re thoroughly tempted to lower the top of your rental car and push the power pedal a little too hard in a bid to break free from the traffic crush on the Palmetto.
But, though there may not seem to be a heavy police presence on the freeways on this particular day, you can be pretty sure that someone up in the sky is keeping a close eye on speeding vacationers and the massive traffic tailbacks they’re trying to avoid.
Welcome to Florida and aviation law enforcement from the state’s Highway Patrol. It’s one of the few states in the U.S. that employs aircraft to monitor speeders, reckless drivers and, sometimes, soon-to-be felons fleeing a police pursuit (Nevada and Minnesota are among a dozen others). And if you never quite realized what those strange white lines along the side of the highway mean, well, now you will.
Flight Captain Matt Walker, the Florida Highway Patrol’s chief pilot, says his job primarily involves monitoring motorists’ speed between these painted white lines, which are placed a quarter-mile apart in frequent intervals.
How it works
Surprisingly, aviation enforcement doesn’t involve radar: it’s a straightforward stopwatch time over distance equation that allows a pilot to work out whether a driver has broken the speed limit. Captain Walker, having clocked a motorist driving too fast, then radios the speeding car’s information to a waiting state trooper, or ground unit, who stops the car and issues a citation.
That is, if the driver stops. Sometimes, Walker says, they don’t, a felony offense. But this is where aviation enforcement really comes into its own. In certain cases, rather than pursuing a fleeing motorist, which can be dangerous for all involved, an order will be given for the troopers to stand down but the pilot will still pursue the driver.
Occasionally, the driver will head home, or even go shopping, completely unaware that his movements have been tracked from the air. Planes, after all, operate much more quietly than the helicopters often employed in other states in such pursuits. When the driver is quickly apprehended on the ground, usually they’re shocked to hear they’d been tracked from high above.
“The troopers will back off and we’ll follow the vehicle,” Walker said. “When the person doesn’t see the troopers’ lights, he’ll pull off and stop or he’ll drive to his house. And as he’s going into his house, the troopers are coming around the corner.
“It takes the fleeing portion out of the pursuit. Sometimes he’ll still drive recklessly but the majority of the time he’ll operate within speed limits if he thinks nobody is chasing him.” AOL Autos: Caught at 100 mph — now what?
Walker says that a fleet of seven Cessna fixed-wing aircraft operates in the skies above Florida. The combined fleet delivers some 45,000 citations on average each year, and speed will be a factor in about 38,000 of these citations.
The rest of the citations are made up of secondary factors, if the driver is drunk or not wearing a seatbelt, for example, or is driving on a suspended license. He says about 150 arrests are made each year where a pilot has spotted a clearly impaired driver, and aircraft enforcement results in the recovery of about 50 stolen vehicles annually.
“The primary use of aircraft is for traffic enforcement,” Walker said. “The pilot has a stopwatch and observes traffic going down the roadway. He activates the stopwatch on the first line and calculates the average speed over the quarter mile. AOL Autos: How police catch you speeding
“We’ll say, ‘the vehicle is a red pickup truck in the inside lane, number 5 behind you, off to your left now, now he’s number 1. The trooper looks out his window and will pull in behind that vehicle. We confirm the time and speed and the pilot will return to the lines and do it over again.”
Impact of weather
The most challenging days for Walker and his team of pilots are busy holidays with heavy traffic and when the weather takes a turn for the worse. He says in those situations, or when a storm is looming, the fleet will be grounded. “We do not fly in inclement weather,” he says.
Walker, who was born and raised in Florida, says that any prospective pilot must have logged at least one year as a regular state trooper and 500 hours of flight time and gained a commercial or instrument rating. He says many pilots were former civilian fliers who paid for their lessons out of their own pocket, although they can gain the qualification when they’re going through the police training academy.
Walker was a trooper for five years before he took to the skies, and now spends about five hours a day in the air. He also has to testify in court should a motorist decide to challenge a citation.
David Haenel, a defense lawyer at fightyourticket.com, has gotten to know many of the FHP pilots well in his long career fighting speeding tickets in Florida courts. He says he has won many cases challenging the basic equipment used to issue a citation — including radio and the three stopwatches that pilots may use to clock a vehicle — and discrepancies in the timing of an issued ticket.
He says that a pilot must prove that their stopwatches — which must be of a certain brand — have been calibrated in the last six months. He says a description of the car, its time and its speed must be written on the ticket, and that the citation’s reliability must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Which means that if there is a discrepancy between the time a pilot says he contacted the trooper and the time the trooper wrote on the ticket, even by a minute, Haenel has grounds to get the citation dismissed.
“First and foremost typically a client will tell me, ‘I didn’t see the plane in the air’,” Haenel said. “But I want to know the locations of where the lines are, if the ticket is written in the appropriate venue [or county] if the troopers come from different stations, if the ticket is valid on its face.”
“Every inconsistency goes in the benefit of the driver. The time on the citation is usually the most critical. If the pilot says 3.59, but the ticket’s at 3.58, or 4.01, sometimes I don’t even take these to trial.”
Tread warily the next time you’re tempted to put your foot down in Florida. You never know who might be watching. Or from where.
Some top cops were recognized for their work in Dougherty County Monday. Sheriff Kevin Sproul recognized Officer Stephanie Walker as Jail employee of the year and Sgt. Pamela Thomas as the Sheriff’s Office employee of the year.
Police Chief Don Cheek recognized Lt. Tom Jackson and Corporal Bill Smith as his officers of the year. He also had two top guns. There was a tie between Investigator Clayton Bryant, who received the award last year, and Officer Stewart Williamson. Both had more than a 95% accuracy rate when firing their weapons.
Williamson said, “Proud to have because you owe it to the citizens of Dougherty County. You owe it to your fellow men and women in law enforcement to be the best with your firearm they give you. You can’t risk misfiring or being a bad shot.”
The top gun winners offered to do a demonstration for the county commission this morning at the meeting, they, of course, declined.
Detective Robert Barnes has been selected as the 2008 Petaluma Police Officer of the Year for his outstanding leadership and mentoring work within the department.
“Detective Barnes has provided valuable expertise in the expanding areas of financial and computer crimes and has been instrumental in developing a comprehensive firearms-training program as a department range master,” said Capt. Dan Fish of the Petaluma Police Department.
“I was kind of surprised by the award. I’m not doing this job for the accolades,” Barnes said. “I enjoyed shooting firearms as I was growing up, so since 1989 providing firearms training been one of my specialties for the police department.”
Barnes was honored for receiving the award at the Veteran of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Dinner on Saturday and again will be honored at the 2009 Community Recognition Awards on March 27.
Barnes began working for the police department as a reserve police officer in 1987, and started working as a regular officer in 1994. During his tenure, he has served in several specialty posts, including field training officer, crime scene investigator, computer crimes investigation team, SWAT sniper, range master, Taser instructor and detective.
“Throughout his career, Detective Barnes has established himself as a leader amongst his peers and a mentor and coach to new officers as they enter this difficult profession,” Fish said.
“I have a background in construction, and this has made me want to make sure that in my police work, things are done right the first time,” Barnes said. “This isn’t always possible, but I try to do it as much as I can.
The police department also announced that Nancy Vargas has been chosen as the 2008 recipient of the Vilho Ahola Memorial Award. Vargas, a records technician, manages the public counter at the police department headquarters.
“Nancy was nominated for the caring, positive attitude and superior customer service that she exhibits in her work as the first point of contact for the public at the police department,” Fish said. “She demonstrates a professionalism and efficiency while handling a very busy lobby full of citizens needing assistance.
Vargas served in the U.S. military for more than 27 years, and recently retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a master sergeant. She volunteers for police events and often helps to bring food to police personnel who have to work during holidays.
“Her consideration of others, coupled with dedicated performance, is an example of what the Vilho Ahola Award was meant to honor,” Fish said.
The Vilho Ahola Memorial Award is presented to the most inspirational employee and is given in memory of Petaluma Police Officer Vilho Ahola, who was shot in the line of duty in 1969. After the accident, he was paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life, but he continued to work for the police department until 1989.
“Vilho’s courage, positive attitude, caring for youth and commitment to this department were an inspiration to all who knew him,” Fish said.
The police department also announced that Officer Bert Walker has been chosen as the Police Employee of the Quarter for October through December of 2008. For the past seven years, Walker has been assigned to the Traffic Unit as a motorcycle officer.
“Officer Walker was nominated for this award for his exceptional performance as a motorcycle officer and for his tenacity in the area of traffic safety, for the purpose of reducing collisions,” Fish said. “Officer Walker is an expert traffic-collision investigator, and is a role model for other officers.”
A state police trooper is headed back to work Monday after recovering from moderate burns, which he suffered from saving three people in a Christmas Day traffic accident.
State Trooper David Easley, along with an off-duty Texas firefighter, pulled three people out of the front of a burning GMC sports utility vehicle. They were not able to save a woman and two children, who died in the back seat of the car.
The accident happened Christmas night on I-10 in Laplace near the Belle Terre exit. An 18-wheeler, police said, swerved in an attempt to avoid a crash with two vehicles, which were traveling slowly in the right lane due to a flat tire. The 18-wheeler then struck the rear of the SUV, forcing it into the back of another car. The SUV caught fire soon after.
State Trooper David Easley managed to pull the three out, but suffered burns and smoke inhalation in the process.
One of the surviving victims in the accident, Barbara Dickerson called Easley an angel, “with a lot of loving heart who said that I’ve got to get somebody out of here.” You can find out more information about Easley’s rescue here.
The family has asked for your help in paying for the funeral costs of the two young children. If you would like to contribute to the memorial fund, you can do so at any Liberty Bank. The account is in their mother’s name—Candace Walker Memorial Fund.