Trooper of the Month

2015 Trooper of the Month

January | Trooper Christine Gracey

Congratulations to Trooper Christine Gracey for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for January 2015.

On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, Gracey responded as a back-up unit for Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Sergeant Sidney Whitehouse, who was in pursuit of a violent felon. The subject fled a neighborhood making multiple maneuvers in an attempt to evade law enforcement. The subject fired shots at the MCSO unit and sideswiped Gracey’s patrol unit on the passenger side as they attempted to return to the travel lanes of CR-905.

Gracey and Sergeant Whitehouse followed the subject south. The subject stopped briefly on several occasions and Gracey was going to conduct a felony stop, but the subject drove off. The subject’s vehicle and Sergeant Whitehouse’s patrol vehicle became briefly locked together, during which time shots were fired by the subject striking the windshield and blue light of the patrol car. Gracey were able to return fire before the subject fled the scene and the subject was later taken into custody by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Gracey is commended for her actions during this incident and she demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


March | Trooper Mark J. Baker

Congratulations to Trooper Mark J. Baker for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2015. During the month of March, Baker had six (6) incidents that were deserving of recognition.

On Friday, March 20, 2015, Baker conducted a traffic stop which resulted in the arrest of a convicted felon with the possession of a stolen firearm. On Sunday, March 22, 2015, Baker and Trooper Brian Speigner stopped a vehicle at gunpoint that had just committed an aggravated assault with a gun on a crowd of people. On Monday, March 23, 2015, Baker conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that resulted in the seizure of 102 Alprazolam pills and 11.3 grams of Methamphetamine.

On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, Baker conducted a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of 29 grams of marijuana and approximately 15-20 Xanax pills. On Friday, March 27, 2015, Baker conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle that was possibly involved in an aggravated assault with a firearm which resulted in the arrest of a suspect for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Baker responded to an incident that involved multiple shooting victims. During the incident, Baker assisted with establishing a perimeter and took a suspect into custody. In addition to the aforementioned incidents, Baker removed seven (7) impaired motorists from the highways of the State of Florida.

Baker is commended for his actions during these incidents and he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


April | Trooper Clara Condo-Varner

Congratulations to Trooper Clara Condo-Varner for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2015.

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, while patrolling US-231, Condo-Varner observed two males involved in a physical altercation at the Exxon Gas Station; she turned around and pulled into the parking lot. As Condo-Varner was entering the parking lot, the suspect fled the scene. She immediately relayed the suspect’s description as well as the direction of travel and then began to aid the victim. The victim’s throat had been slashed and was bleeding badly; Condo-Varner maintained pressure on the victim’s neck while waiting on EMS to arrive.

Condo-Varner is commended for providing crucial information which led to the suspect’s apprehension as well as providing lifesaving aid to the victim. Without Condo-Varner’s quick response and decisive action, there could have been grave consequences.


May | Trooper Nicholas Hagedorn

Congratulations to Trooper Nicholas Hagedorn for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2015.

On Friday, May 15, 2015, the Tampa Bay Regional Communications Center received a call from a citizen advising that a vehicle was stopped on the Skyway Bridge and there appeared to be a man out of his vehicle looking over the side of the bridge.

Upon arrival, Hagedorn made contact with the man and determined that he was contemplating suicide. Hagedorn was able to calm the man down and detain him for everyone’s safety and made arrangements to have him transported to a mental health facility under the Baker Act.

Without Hagedorn’s quick response and decisive action, there could have been grave consequences. Hagedorn is commended for his actions during this incident and he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


June | Trooper Robert S. Duckers

Congratulations to Trooper Robert S. Duckers for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2015.

As Duckers was helping a disabled motorist on I-275, he was approached by a citizen that witnessed a vehicle crash and noticed the vehicle had caught on fire. Duckers immediately drove to the scene of the crash and observed the driver was unconscious and still seated in the burning vehicle.

As the fire grew in size, Duckers attempted to break the driver’s window to extricate the driver. After breaking the window with his fist, Duckers extricated the unconscious driver from the burning vehicle.

Without Duckers’ quick response and decisive action, there could have been grave consequences. Duckers is commended for his actions during this incident and he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


July | Lieutenant Channing Taylor

Congratulations to Lieutenant Channing Taylor for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2015.

On Sunday, June 14, 2015, Taylor observed an older model pickup enter the parking lot of a Pilot gas station that was not utilizing its headlights as required by Florida law. Taylor approached the driver and requested her driver’s license. As Taylor approached the vehicle, the passenger fired several shots striking him in the right shoulder. Taylor returned fire, fatally wounding the subject. The driver fled the scene and crashed shortly afterwards where she was apprehended.

Taylor is commended for his actions during this incident and he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


August | Sergeant Benjamin D. Weaver

Congratulations to Sergeant Benjamin D. Weaver for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2015.

On Friday, August 7, 2015, the Tallahassee Regional Communications Center advised that a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officer had been shot and requested assistance to search for the suspects. Weaver responded to assist and direct Florida Highway Patrol units to the areas where they were needed. After hearing a gunshot, Weaver and a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officer caught and arrested one of the suspects that he observed jumping from a broken window. The second suspect was arrested nearby, and the third suspect fled the scene and was apprehended a short time later.

Weaver is commended for his actions during this incident and he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


September | Trooper Michael Grider

Congratulations to Trooper Michael Grider for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2015. During the month of September, Grider had two incidents that were deserving of recognition.

On Sunday, September 6, 2015, Grider was working an aircraft detail when Sergeant Schluter advised him of a vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed. Upon stopping the vehicle and the initial interview of the subject, Grider felt something wasn’t right with the driver’s story. Upon further investigation, Grider found out that the driver of the vehicle was a person of interest in Georgia for the murder of the owner of the car he was driving. The driver of the vehicle was arrested and transported to the Lee County Jail where he was held until he was later indicted and transported back to Georgia for murder.

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, while on patrol, Grider noticed an elderly gentleman that seemed confused. While assisting him, Grider was told by the Ft. Myers Regional Communication Center that a silver alert had been issued to him. Grider stayed and assisted him until he was reunited with his family.

Grider is commended for his actions during this incident and he demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.