Trooper of the Month

2016 Trooper of the Month

January | Trooper Robert S. Duckers

Congratulations to Trooper Robert S. Duckers for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for January 2016.

On Friday, January 8, 2016, while in Pasco County, Duckers was stopped by an off-duty police officer and advised that a man had broken through the fence in his backyard and threatened to kill him. Duckers immediately responded and found that the suspect had attacked a second man nearby. The victim was sitting in a vehicle and the suspect had smashed the driver’s door window and was striking the victim. Duckers apprehended the assailant and rushed to the aid of the second victim. The suspect was taken into custody and booked into the Pasco County jail on multiple felony charges, including burglary and aggravated assault.

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


February | Corporal Julio Torres

Congratulations Corporal Julio Torres for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for February 2016.

On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, while in route to the Ft. Myers FHP Station, Torres witnessed a crash just ahead of him. As a result of the collision, one the vehicles traveled through a guard rail and overturned into a retention pond with the driver trapped inside the vehicle. Without regard for his personal safety, Torres entered the water in an effort to save the driver’s life. With the help of Officer Cassie McHale of the Ft. Myers Police Department, Torres was able to free the driver and initiated CPR until EMS arrived on the scene.

Although Torres’ efforts were not successful for long term results, his efforts greatly enhanced the driver’s immediate chance of survival.

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


March | Corporal Matthew Simmons, Sergeant Mark Boatright, Sergeant Stephen W. Coody, Trooper Michael Oglesby, Trooper Alfred Hughes

Congratulations to Corporal Matthew Simmons, Sergeant Mark Boatright, Sergeant Stephen W. Coody, Trooper Michael Oglesby and Trooper Alfred Hughes for each of their selections as co-recipients of the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2016.

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, a BOLO was issued for two vehicles that were coming to Florida from Georgia. Simmons, along with Hughes, Oglesby, Boatright, and Coody conducted two felony traffic stops, and as a result, one female juvenile victim was rescued, and five suspects were arrested for warrants on human trafficking. A total of $880 in counterfeit money and four fraudulent credit cards were also seized. Simmons conducted the stops in a well-coordinated manner on suspects that might have been armed, while still considering the safety of the public and the victim.

They are each commended for their actions during this incident and they demonstrated commitment to the residents of the State of Florida.


April | Trooper Ronald Rodriguez

Congratulations to Trooper Ronald Rodriguez for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2016.

On Friday, April 8, 2016, a BOLO was issued for 2011 Chevrolet Impala in reference to an armed carjacking. Rodriguez observed the Impala traveling within the city limits of Tampa, where it continued to travel onto Interstate 4. Rodriguez conducted a felony stop, identified the driver as the carjacking suspect, and placed him under arrest without incident. The driver was charged with Possession of a Stolen Firearm/Ammo, Possession of Stolen Firearm/Ammo by a Convicted Felon, Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle, No Valid DL, DUI, along with several other traffic infractions. Rodriguez conducted the stop with sound judgment and exceptional officer safety. Because of Rodriguez’s awareness and quick reaction surrounding the events, a suspect with a lengthy past criminal history was apprehended and taken off the streets.

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


May | Trooper Jose Pajon-Zuniga

Congratulations to Trooper Jose Pajon-Zuniga for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2016.

On Friday, May 6, 2016, Pajon-Zuniga encountered a male running northbound along Interstate 95 in Delray Beach. Pajon-Zuniga pulled in front of the pedestrian and attempted to stop him, at which point the pedestrian struck him in the face and continued to run northbound. Without hesitating, Pajon-Zuniga chased after the pedestrian across five lanes of traffic. Pajon-Zuniga was unable to control the pedestrian, and for everyone’s safety, he deployed his department issued Conducted Electrical Weapon (Taser). Since the Taser had no effect on him, Pajon-Zuniga chased him for another half mile on foot before tackling him a second time. With the help of passing motorists, Pajon-Zuniga was able to subdue the pedestrian and secure him for his own safety and others.

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


June | Trooper David A. Bryan

Congratulations to Trooper David A. Bryan for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2016.

On Thursday, June 2, 2016, Bryan observed a white SUV that was stopped on the left shoulder, facing southbound on the Florida Turnpike. Bryan pulled over to assist what he thought was a disabled vehicle. Upon approaching the vehicle, Bryan realized that the driver and the infant in the back seat needed medical attention. Without hesitating, Bryan contacted FHP Lake Worth Regional Communication Center and requested Osceola County Fire and Rescue. With the help of Osceola Sheriff Deputies Stockman and Clark, Bryan was able to get into the vehicle.

When he opened the door, Bryan immediately noticed a strong chemical odor that started affecting his skin, eyes and respiratory system. Even with discomfort, Bryan and the Deputies still tried to get into the vehicle to try and help the driver and infant, who were unfortunately already deceased. After attempting to put the vehicle in park and turn it off, Bryan contacted Hazmat to come and decontaminate him, the Deputies and the vehicle. Once Bryan and the other Deputies were decontaminated, they were transported to Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee to be evaluated.

Bryan exposed himself to great peril and personal danger that day by going above and beyond the normal call of duty to attempt to save the lives of the occupants in the vehicle.


July | Trooper John R. Tallman

Congratulations to Trooper John R. Tallman for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2016.

On Saturday, July 2, 2016, Tallman responded to a traffic crash at the intersection of US 98 and Woodville Highway in Wakulla County, involving a semi-tractor trailer that had crashed into a migrant farm bus. The crash left live electrical power lines laying on the roadway and caused the semi-truck to catch fire then start spreading to the passenger-filled bus.

Tallman promptly directed bystanders to move away from the deadly downed power lines and then he and the other emergency responders proceeded to evacuate the injured passengers trapped inside the bus. Tallman and another Deputy exposed themselves to the fire to hold the bus’s front door open while fire department personnel with fire protected gear entered the burning bus to rescue the passengers. Tallman carefully moved one of the deceased bodies, to spare the victim from the fire that eventually consumed the bus. Tallman and the other emergency responders then proceeded to the back of the bus to rescue the passengers from the back of the bus.

Throughout the evacuation effort, Tallman maintained contact with the Tallahassee Regional Communication Center so other personnel were prepared when they arrived on scene. Tallman displayed heroic action that placed his life in danger in order to possibly save the lives of other people. Tallman’s selfless acts of bravery are a credit to himself and the Florida Highway Patrol. Tallman’s actions that day illustrate his dedication to the people of Florida and demonstrate the FHP Motto of Courtesy, Service and Protection.

Tallman exposed himself to great peril and personal danger that day by going above and beyond the normal call of duty to attempt to save the lives of the occupants on the bus.


August | Corporal Lena Ward

Congratulations to Corporal Lena Ward for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2016.

On Friday, August 19, 2016, Ward arrived at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital to follow up on an investigation. Ward observed a vehicle pull up and make an abrupt stop in the ambulance bay entrance, with a female screaming in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle yelled that his wife was having a baby. Ward tried to get additional help from the hospital staff, but the female was in full labor leaving no time for them to arrive. Ward immediately took action and delivered the baby successfully with hospital staff taking over to provide medical care.

Ward is commended for her quick actions, which resulted in the successful birth of a new baby.


September | Trooper Joshua M. Tucker

Congratulations to Trooper Joshua M. Tucker for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2016.

On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Tucker was investigating a crash in the Molino area of Escambia County. Tucker was advised, by dispatch, that another crash had occurred close to where he was working, involving a single vehicle versus a power pole with serious injuries. Tucker immediately responded to the scene, where several bystanders, including family members of the victim, had already arrived. Tucker ran up to the victim and started checking for his vital signs. He was not breathing, so Tucker summoned some of the bystanders to assist him to get the victim out of the vehicle so he could begin CPR. Tucker performed CPR until Escambia County EMS was able to get there and take over. Because of Tucker’s quick actions, they were able to regain a pulse and transfer him to the hospital.

The victim was on life support until Monday, September 19, 2016, when he finally succumbed to his injuries. Since the victim was an organ donor and because of Tucker’s quick actions in trying to help him, they were able to harvest his organs to help other patients in need have a second chance in life. If not for the lifesaving assistance Tucker performed, this would not be possible.


October | Trooper Jazmin Grant

Congratulations to Trooper Jazmin Grant for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for October 2016.

On Thursday, October 20, 2016, Grant was dispatched to a traffic crash on Interstate 95 at Emerson Street in Duval County. A 2010 Chevrolet Camaro had left the roadway and struck a median concrete barrier wall multiple times. Grant responded to the scene, where the driver of the Camaro was having an apparent medical issue. Two witnesses were giving the driver CPR on the shoulder of the Interstate.

Grant immediately took action, making contact with the subjects giving CPR. Grant offered relief to the subject giving chest compressions and retired Assistant Fire Chief Russell Earl Dodge, Jr., offered assistance to the other subject giving respiration. Chief Dodge checked for a pulse and after not finding one, they both began CPR on the driver. After one cycle of CPR, the driver had a pulse and his heartbeat and breathing had been restored. Jacksonville Fire Rescue arrived and transported the driver to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville.

Grant is commended for her quick actions during this incident. Grant represented the agency professionally and honorably while fulfilling the goal of making Florida a Safer State and she reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to the motoring public.


November | Trooper Shelia Walker, Recruit Trooper Cody Singletary

Congratulations to Trooper Shelia Walker and Recruit Trooper Cody Singletary for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Troopers of the Month for November 2016.

On Thursday, November 22, 2016, Walker and Singletary were patrolling State Road 93 near mile marker 427 when they stopped for a disabled vehicle. The driver of the vehicle was found to be breathing but unresponsive. As they both were trying to awaken the driver, one of them noticed a diabetic insulin pump and realized the driver may have been unresponsive due to a possible medical condition related to diabetes.

Due to their diligence to check the interstate for abandoned vehicles, Walker and Singletary saved the life of the driver, who was transported by Century EMS to Lake City Medical Center for treatment.

Walker and Singletary are to be commended for a job well done. Their hard work and dedication are in keeping with the highest standards of the Florida Highway Patrol.


December | Sergeant Robert W. Harrigill

Congratulations to Sergeant Robert W. Harrigill for being selected as the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for December 2016.

On Friday, December 23, 2016, while Harrigill was working at the Panama City Florida Highway Patrol Station doing his assigned duties, Ms. Jessica Carnley rushed into his office to inform him that his co-worker was choking and could not breathe. Without hesitation, Harrigill ran to the office to discover the co-worker hunched over in the work station. The co-worker had a bluish skin tone and was making unusual noises while attempting to breathe. Harrigill instructed Senior Clerk Wendi Warmack to call 9-1-1 while he started to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the co-worker. After two abdominal thrusts, the co-worker began to cough and started to breathe again. Since the co-worker was still a little unsteady, Harrigill had the co-worker sit while he monitored their breathing and the arrival of EMS.

Harrigill is commended for his heroic actions and for representing the highest standards of the Florida Highway Patrol.