2006 Troopers of the Month
January | Trooper Edward Pope
Congratulations to Trooper Edward Pope for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for January 2006, for his relentless investigative efforts in recovering a stolen vehicle and equipment from a suspect who also committed insurance fraud and for responding to a BOLO, arresting another suspect for felony possession of marijuana.
On Tuesday, January 17, 2006, Trooper Pope was operating stationary radar on Midway Boulevard in Charlotte County when a citizen informed him that there was a stolen black pickup truck with an Ohio license plate parked on the shoulder of Eagle Street in Port Charlotte. Trooper Pope located the suspect vehicle, and conducted a check on the tag and VIN. The vehicle had been stolen out of Fairfield County, Ohio.
Trooper Pope made contact with an individual at the residence where the stolen vehicle was parked. The individual stated that the driver of the pickup, Melvin Blackburn, was not at home. The individual gave Trooper Pope Permission to check the sheds in the backyard to ensure that the driver was not on the premises. In one of the sheds, Trooper Pope located a large quantity of generators and power tools. When a serial number check on the generators was conducted, one of the generators came back stolen.
During follow-up interviews with witnesses, Trooper Pope learned that Mr. Blackburn had allegedly stolen a trailer from a Home Depot in Ohio, and was using it in his business here in Florida. On January 21, 2006, a witness led Trooper Pope to the trailer at one of Mr. Blackburn’s job sites. The witness stated that a majority of the tools inside the trailer were also stolen. The VIN had been removed from the exterior of the trailer. No hidden VIN was obtained from the trailer. Trooper Pope obtained and executed a search warrant for the trailer.
During the investigation Trooper Pope stayed in contact with the investigators in Ohio. They confirmed they had open investigations regarding stolen tools and a trailer from a Home Depot in Ohio. Trooper Pope forwarded the photographs and information on the tools to the investigators and continued to work in conjunction with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office on this case.
While conducting interviews with witnesses, Trooper Pope also learned that Mr. Blackburn and the previous owner of the Ford pickup are friends. The witnesses stated that Mr. Blackburn had bragged about being paid two thousand dollars to steal the Ford pickup because the owner could not afford the payments anymore. The authorities in Ohio are now pursuing Insurance Fraud on Mr. Blackburn and the owner of the Ford pickup thanks to Trooper Pope’s investigative work.
In a separate incident, which occurred on Saturday, January 21, 2006, Trooper Pope received a BOLO for a black BMW traveling from Tampa to Charlotte County via I-75. This vehicle was alleged to be carrying a large quantity of cocaine. The BOLO supplied a name of a white male that was supposed to be traveling in the BMW. Trooper Pope ran the subject’s name using D.A.V.I.D. and obtained an address in Charlotte County.
Trooper Pope traveled to the address to investigate the BOLO. Upon his arrival, he observed the black BMW in the driveway. Deputies from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office were at the address investigating a burglary at the residence. Trooper Pope informed the deputies of the BOLO and the possibility that the BMW had a large amount of cocaine in it. The Sheriff’s Office had their K-9 unit respond to attempt a track on the burglary suspect. While on the premises, the K-9 alerted to the BMW. The owner of the BMW would not give Trooper Pope consent to search the vehicle, so Trooper Pope obtained and executed a search warrant for the vehicle. While conducting the vehicle search, Trooper Pope located approximately half a pound of marijuana. He arrested the owner of the vehicle for felony possession of marijuana and seized the vehicle.
Trooper Pope is to be commended for his hard work, relentless efforts, and investigative skills during these two incidents.
Trooper Pope acted in the highest tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol, and is hereby commended for his actions. Again, congratulations on being selected as Trooper of the Month for January 2006!
February | Trooper Terrell Dozier
Congratulations to Trooper Terrell Dozier for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for February 2006, for rescuing two victims from a burning vehicle.
On February 3, 2006, Trooper Terrell Dozier was dispatched to a multi-vehicle rollover crash northbound on the Florida turnpike at the 165-mile marker in St. Lucie County, Florida. Upon Trooper Dozier’s arrival he immediately notified the Lake Worth Communications Center that the Turnpike was completely obstructed northbound and there were multiple overturned vehicles on fire. Trooper Dozier requested Fire Rescue to be en-route as he began to carefully assess the crash scene and search for any injured crash victims. During his search Trooper Dozier informed dispatch that he could hear several victims screaming for help inside a U-Haul moving truck that was fully engulfed by fire, but he could not find the victims due to extreme heat of the fire and the thick smoke.
Risking serious injury to himself, Trooper Dozier continued looking for the victims. After searching through the flames and thick smoke, Trooper Dozier located the victims who were still inside the cab of the truck. Without hesitation, Trooper Dozier immediately pulled the victims who were seriously injured to a safe location away from the burning truck. Trooper Dozier’s actions on this day saved the lives of two individuals. Both injured victims suffered serious injuries as a result of this crash and were air lifted to St. Mary’s Hospital, but if not for the extraordinary effort taken by Trooper Dozier both victims would have certainly suffered a more serious fate.
The actions taken by Trooper Dozier exemplify what being a trooper is all about. Trooper Dozier is not only a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, but a hero, and should be recognized for his persistence and outstanding courage and bravery under the most extreme conditions. Trooper Dozier acted in the highest tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol, and is hereby commended for his actions.
March | Trooper Susan Josephson
Congratulations to Trooper Susan Josephson for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2006, for assisting two motorists who were seriously injured in a traffic crash.
On March 5, 2006, Trooper Josephson responded to a motorcycle crash on Route 1 near Marathon involving a couple from West Virginia who were traveling to Key West when they were struck by a vehicle changing lanes. Both suffered serious injuries and were transported to Fisherman’s Hospital in Marathon.
Later that day, Trooper Josephson contacted the couple’s son to notify him of his parent’s crash who made arrangements to come to Florida. The female crash victim was released from the hospital, but her husband had to be flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Meanwhile, she had no transportation and nowhere to stay.
Trooper Josephson took it upon herself to help the victim, arranging a place for her to stay, a ride to get there, someone to take care of her, something to eat, and delivery of her prescription medications from Fisherman’s Hospital. Later, the son picked up his father in Miami and drove to Marathon to get his mother. Trooper Josephson, realizing that the father and son also had nowhere to stay, made arrangements for them at a beach house for the next two nights while her friends looked after the female victim who was extremely sick and needed care. Trooper Josephson also coordinated treatment and lodging in the Keys until the family was well enough to return to West Virginia.
The victims’ son described Trooper Josephson as the most caring public employee he has ever seen, stating that Trooper Josephson treated his parents as if they were her own, and that he had never seen anyone with so much compassion and love for complete strangers.
Trooper Josephson went beyond the call of duty to help people who were in desperate need, and is commended for her actions.
April | Trooper Jeffrey Benoit
Congratulations to Trooper Jeffrey Benoit for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2006, for making a significant arrest on State Road 93 in Lee County involving dangerous armed suspects.
What started out as a routine traffic stop turned into a high speed chase when Trooper Benoit attempted to stop a red Cadillac occupied by three individuals traveling northbound on State Road 93 near Bayshore Road at about 2:45 AM on April 30, 2006.
As Trooper Benoit stepped from his patrol vehicle, the driver of the Cadillac accelerated in the emergency lane in an attempt to evade his stop. Trooper Benoit immediately pursued the vehicle in order to identify the occupants. The speeds reached 100 mph before the passenger in the left rear seat of the Cadillac pointed a rifle out of the window at Trooper Benoit. Seeing the danger, Trooper Benoit made evasive maneuvers to the right in an attempt to get out of the line of fire. The driver of the Cadillac also maneuvered right in an attempt to square up to Trooper Benoit’s patrol unit. This action caused the passenger to drop the rifle.
The Cadillac exited the road and struck a curb causing the left front tire to deflate, thus disabling the vehicle. Trooper Benoit pulled up next to the Cadillac and observed three men exit the car with handguns. Trooper Benoit ordered the occupants to drop their guns. After the suspects complied with his orders, Trooper Benoit secured one suspect as the other two fled on foot. Lee County Sheriff deputies, who had initially tried to stop the driver of the Cadillac, were able to apprehend the two suspects who fled.
All three suspects were charged with Attempted Murder on a Law Enforcement Officer, Obstruction of Justice with Violence, Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding, Possession of Burglary Tools, Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer with a Firearm, Attempt to Discharge a Destructive Device, Improper Display of a Deadly Weapon, Carrying a Concealed Firearm, Openly Carrying a Firearm, Display of a Firearm while Committing a Felony, Possession of Cocaine (52 grams), Trafficking Cocaine, Warrant For Failure to Appear, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Trooper Jeffrey Benoit is commended for his excellent police work and congratulated for being selected at the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2006!
May | Trooper Edward Pope
Congratulations to Trooper Edward Pope for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2006, for his assistance in preventing a possible suicide.
On Monday, May 22, 2006, Trooper Pope received a BOLO regarding a woman who had contacted the Fort Myers Regional Communication Center to report that her husband was going to kill himself. The husband was driving a 2005 Dodge pick-up truck on I-75 possibly between North Port and Sarasota with an unknown direction of travel.
While Trooper Pope was searching the northbound portion of the Interstate, he received information that the woman was at Exit 179, so he responded to that location and met with the woman. She stated that she and her husband were going through a difficult divorce, and that five minutes earlier she had spoken with her husband who told her that he could not take it any more and was going to kill himself, and then he hung up the phone. The woman attempted to call her husband back several times, but he did not answer the phone. Trooper Pope also attempted to reach the man on his cell phone, but only got a voice message.
When Trooper Pope asked if her husband had any close friends, the woman was able to give him the name and cell phone number of the friend. Trooper Pope contacted the friend who was very upset because he had just been on the phone with the husband who told him he was going to kill himself. The husband told his friend that he had a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Vicodin that he was going to take. The friend stated he could hear the husband handling what appeared to be a full bottle of pills and he appeared to be drinking something. The friend stated that the husband would not tell him where he was.
After the friend gave Trooper Pope his home address, Trooper Pope requested the Communication Center to dispatch a Charlotte County deputy to that location to look for the husband in case he arrived there.
Trooper Pope again attempted to call the husband’s cell phone. A Charlotte County deputy answered the phone. The deputy stated that he had found the subject intoxicated and was going to take him to a hotel to sleep it off. Trooper Pope asked the deputy to immediately contact EMS because the subject was believed to have taken a large quantity of pain medication with the alcohol.
Trooper Pope and the woman headed to the location where the deputy found the husband and found EMS on the scene. The subject, who appeared to be semi-conscious, was transported to the local hospital. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office assumed the investigation. Trooper Pope later contacted the hospital and was informed the husband would recover, but was lucky to have been found so quickly or he may not have survived.
On Wednesday, May 24, 2006, Trooper Pope was contacted by the towing company for the vehicle in regards to two letters that were located in the visor of the vehicle. One of the letters was a suicide letter addressed “To Whom Finds Me.” Trooper Pope took possession of these letters and turned them over to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Trooper Pope is to be commended for his hard work and relentless efforts. This style of dedication and police work is an example of the best tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol. Congratulations for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2006!
June | Trooper Michael Sutherland
Congratulations to Trooper Michael Sutherland for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2006, for administering CPR and reviving a small child who had lost consciousness as the result of a seizure.
On June 22, 2006, at approximately 8:00 PM, while working an off-duty detail at Dillard’s Department Store in Bradenton, Trooper Sutherland was approached by an unknown female who advised him that a small child had suddenly experienced a seizure, lost consciousness, and had struck his head against the floor in the mall. Upon arriving at the main mall area where the child was located, Trooper Sutherland found an unconscious little boy.
Trooper Sutherland immediately notified the Ft. Myers Regional Communication Center of the situation and requested Emergency Medical Services (EMS). He then assessed the vital signs of the child and found the child was not breathing and had no pulse. Trooper Sutherland then administered CPR on the child. After administering just one breath, the child began to breathe on his own. Trooper Sutherland then rechecked the pulse and was able to detect a faint pulse that appeared to be getting stronger. Trooper Sutherland then monitored the child until EMS arrived and transported the child to Manatee Memorial Hospital.
Trooper Sutherland is to be commended for his quick response in saving the life of a child. His excellent emergency response and police work demonstrate examples of the best tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol. Congratulations to Trooper Sutherland for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2006!
July | Trooper Edward Pope
Congratulations to Trooper Edward Pope for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2006, for saving the life of two motorists whose vehicle crashed into a canal in Charlotte County. For an unprecedented third time this year, Trooper Pope has received the honor of Trooper of the Month.
On Thursday, July 27, 2006, Trooper Pope was dispatched to a crash on southbound I-75 in Charlotte County and advised that a vehicle was sinking in the water with an unconscious driver still inside. When he arrived on the scene, he found several vehicles parked along the west shoulder of southbound I-75 with several bystanders pointing toward the water. Trooper Pope exited his vehicle and quickly ran to the scene where he saw a white van partially submerged in the water approximately seventy feet from the roadway. He saw two men, one trying to get out of the passenger side window and the other clinging to the roof of the sinking vehicle.
Trooper Pope removed his gun belt and ran into the water, which was above his head in certain areas. He reached for the male passenger trying to exit the vehicle and brought him to an area of the water where he could stand and return to shore. The passenger told Trooper Pope that his father could not swim, so Trooper Pope returned to the sinking vehicle to retrieve the elderly driver who was clinging to the roof. The man would not let go of the roof. Trooper Pope tried to communicate with the man who could not speak English. The gentleman appeared to be concerned about his belongings on the roof of the vehicle, so Trooper Pope grabbed the items and tossed them to the passenger who was standing nearby in the water. Trooper Pope grabbed the elderly man, held him in his left arm, and swam to an area where he could stand. He continued to hold the elderly man in his arms and brought him back to shore.
After the two men were safely on the shore, several bystanders pointed at two alligators swimming toward the van, which was only displaying a small portion of the front left corner of the roof and the driver side portion of the windshield. When Trooper Pope discovered that the two men had no one to pick them up from the scene, he transported them to their place of employment in Fort Myers.
Trooper Pope is to be commended for his quick response in saving the lives of two motorists. His excellent emergency response and police work demonstrate examples of the best tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol. Congratulations to Trooper Pope for once again being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month.
August | Trooper Myron Wagner
Congratulations to Trooper Myron Wagner for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2006, for stopping a robbery in progress and apprehending all three suspects.
While taking a break at a nearby restaurant at 4:00 AM, Trooper Wagner became aware that a team of burglars were behind a local restaurant on 23rd Street in Panama City. Trooper Wagner responded to the area alone and observed the suspects taking items out of the back of the business. He was able to apprehend them and stop the crime in progress. Back-up arrived shortly and all of the suspects were arrested without incident.
Trooper Wagner is to be commended for his excellent police work and dedication which is in the best tradition of the Florida Highway Patrol. Congratulations to Trooper Wagner for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month.
September | Lieutenant Roley E. Kiker
Congratulations to Lieutenant Roley E. Kiker for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2006, for apprehending a suspect who had robbed a local grocery store.
On Monday, September 18th, 2006, Lt. Kiker was off-duty while traveling to a local gym for physical fitness training when he observed an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputy exiting his patrol car with his firearm drawn. After immediately notifying the Tallahassee Regional Communications Center of the situation, Lt. Kiker stopped and took up a defensive position to back up the deputy. The deputy then informed Lt. Kiker that the white male suspect, who was sitting in a vehicle in a ditch, was armed and had just tried to rob a local grocery store in the area.
Lt. Kiker and the Escambia County deputy gave repeated commands to the suspect, directing him to drop the weapon and exit the vehicle. The suspect then exited his vehicle and pointed a gun at Lt. Kiker. Lt. Kiker ordered the suspect repeatedly to drop his weapon. The suspect however raised his gun and pointed it at Lt. Kiker, at which time Lt. Kiker fired one round, striking the suspect in the abdomen. The suspect fell to the ground and was immediately handcuffed and secured. The suspect was subsequently transported from the scene to the hospital where he was listed in stable condition with no life threatening injuries. The suspect was charged by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office with robbery and aggravated assault charges. This suspect was also wanted by the FBI for bank robbery in Foley, Alabama.
Lieutenent Roley Kiker is to be commended for his excellent police work in removing a dangerous felon from the community in which he serves. Congratulations to Lt. Kiker for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2006.
October | Trooper Jonathan Young
Congratulations to Trooper Jonathan Young for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for October 2006, for preventing a suicide when a motorist attempted to hang himself.
On October 11th at approximately 10:00 PM, Trooper Jonathan Young responded to a call on I-75 at mile marker 368 regarding an individual who was seen sitting beside the roadway with a rope around his neck.
Upon arriving at the scene, Trooper Young found a man sitting on the roof of his truck with a rope around his neck. When Trooper Young approached the man while in his patrol car, the man slid himself off the roof of his truck and attempted to hang himself. Trooper Young quickly got out of his patrol car, ran to the man, and held him up to get enough slack in the rope to remove it from the man’s neck.
Trooper Young is to be commended for his quick thinking and quick actions that stopped a suicide attempt. Congratulations to Trooper Jonathan Young for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for October 2006.
November | Trooper Christopher Ellison
Congratulations to Trooper Christopher Ellison for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for November 2006, for assisting Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers in apprehending a murder suspect on the Florida Turnpike.
At 12:46 PM on November 8, 2006, while working SunPass toll enforcement at the Homestead Toll Plaza, Trooper Ellison assisted agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by attempting to conduct a traffic stop on a suspect who was wanted for murder.
Trooper Ellison promptly located the suspect’s vehicle as it exited the Florida Turnpike onto Caribbean Boulevard and attempted to pull the driver over. Before Trooper Ellison could make the traffic stop, the suspect stopped his car, exited the vehicle, and fled on foot. As the suspect ran, he held a revolver to his head and discharged a round into the air before dropping it. The suspect was subsequently taken into custody by Trooper Ellison and the FDLE agents The revolver was recovered without incident.
The suspect was suspected of killing his ex-girlfirend at 3:00 AM that morning at a residence in the Carol City area of North Dade County. He was turned over to Miami-Dade Police who were conducting the murder investigation.
Trooper Ellison is to be commended for his attention to detail and quick actions that lead to the apprehension of a murder suspect. Again, congratulations to Trooper Christopher Ellison for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for November 2006.
December | Trooper James Barley
Congratulations to Trooper James Barley for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for December 2006, for arresting several suspects for drug trafficking in Brevard County.
On December 12, 2006, Trooper Barley was patrolling State Road 9 in Brevard County when he stopped the driver of a red Ford Explorer for unlawful speed. Trooper Barley was overwhelmed by the odor of cannabis coming from inside the car, and upon further investigation observed some large bags of green leafy substance inside the car. A search of the vehicle revealed approximately 28 pounds of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Trooper Barley arrested the suspect for trafficking cannabis and possession with intent to sell.
The following week, on December 20, Trooper Barley was again patrolling State Road 9 in Brevard County when he stopped the driver of a Toyota Camry for unlawful speed. Trooper Barley detected an odor of cannabis coming from the car, and immediately secured the situation. With the assistance of Trooper Glaenzer, he searched the vehicle. The search revealed 50 grams of cocaine, 15 grams of morphine, 8 grams of Xanax and several grams of cannabis. Some of the drugs were located in close proximity to a three month old child passenger. The suspect was arrested for drug trafficking. Further investigation lead to a DEA warrant, uncovering a significant amount of cocaine.
In the month of December 2006, Trooper Barley made 20 separate drug arrests, 11 of which were felonies. Trooper Barley’s actions have significantly impacted the drug market in Brevard and surrounding counties.
Trooper Barley is to be commended for his attention to detail and quick actions that lead to the apprehension of several drug traffickers. Again, congratulations to Trooper James Barley for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for December 2006.
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