Trooper of the Month

2022 Trooper of the Month

January | Trooper Brian Clary

Congratulations to Trooper Brian Clary for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for January 2022.

On January 19, 2022, at approximately 1:40 PM, Trooper Brian Clary and Trooper Curtis Hunter responded to the State Road 8 (Interstate-10), 209-mile marker eastbound exit. Upon arrival, Trooper Clary observed a female sitting on the concrete wall of the State Road 8 overpass which extends over State Road 10 (U.S. Highway 90). Being the first to arrive on scene, Trooper Clary began assessing the situation by talking with the female subject to determine the nature of her situation. As Trooper Clary began approaching and talking to the female subject, she stated she wanted to kill herself and began positioning herself away from Trooper Clary. At that time, Trooper Clary attempted to build a rapport with the female subject and began discussing methods for obtaining help. Trooper Hunter arrived on scene at approximately 1:45 p.m. to assist Trooper Clary. While speaking to the female, Trooper Clary was able to position himself close enough to the subject to grab her in the event she decided to jump. Trooper Clary and Trooper Hunter then grabbed the female subject and secured her. The subject was transported to the Apalachee Center by Trooper Hunter for a mental health evaluation. Trooper Clary’s decisive decision making and quick actions to allowed him to remove the subject from possibly harming herself or anyone else.

February | Trooper John Schilling

Congratulations to Trooper John Schilling for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for February 2022.

On February 7, 2022, at approximately 3:00 PM, Trooper John Schilling was completing daily reports prior to finishing his shift when he overheard the Tallahassee Regional Communications Center (TRCC) dispatch a rollover crash just north of his location on Smith Creek Highway. Trooper Schilling immediately responded to the scene of the crash. Upon arrival, Trooper Schilling observed an overturned SUV with heavy damage. Trooper Schilling attempted to contact the motorist, but received no response. Because Trooper Schilling couldn’t make entry through the doors, he broke out the rear window of the vehicle and crawled through the back of the SUV. When Trooper Schilling entered the vehicle, he observed that the motorist had severe head wounds and displayed labored breathing. Trooper Schilling repositioned the driver’s head which allowed for respiration. Trooper Schilling continued evaluating and rendering aid until Wakulla EMS arrived on scene and took over primary care. Instead of logging himself off duty at the end of his shift, Trooper Schilling took exemplary action to render aid to this motorist.

March | Trooper Toni Schuck

Congratulations to Trooper Toni Schuck for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for March 2022.

While working near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge when it was closed from normal traffic for the Skyway 10K Run, Troopers were notified of a reckless motorist traveling toward the event area. The motorist had already navigated around multiple barricades blocking the road and evaded other law enforcement attempts to stop the vehicle when Trooper Schuck made a heroic and life-saving decision to strategically position her patrol car in front of the oncoming drunk driver. The reckless motorist struck Trooper Schuck head-on causing injuries to all occupants and totaling both vehicles. It was later determined that the motorist was operating the vehicle under the influence alcoholic beverages.

Trooper Schuck placed her own life in danger and sustained injuries while protecting more than 7,000 people who were running and volunteering on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Her act of heroism is the very definition of what it means to serve and protect.

April | Troopers Ryan MacFadden, Enrique Rodriguez

Congratulations to Trooper Ryan MacFadden and Sergeant Enrique Rodriguez for being selected as the recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for April 2022.

On April 14, 2022, the Lake Worth Regional Communications Center (LWRCC) received a call from a female victim, who was being sexually battered by a rideshare driver. The victim was able to provide her location to the LWRCC, and the two Troop K troopers, with the use of the RapidSOS, were able to locate the rideshare vehicle. Trooper MacFadden conducted a traffic stop and the victim quickly exited the vehicle.

Sergeant Rodriguez remained with the victim, who showed him a video of the driver committing the sexual battery. The victim stated she believed the driver would kill her. Sergeant Rodriguez contacted Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to assist the victim with medical issues. He then contacted the FHP Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence (BCII). BCII arrived for further investigation, which revealed a gun inside the rideshare vehicle. The driver was arrested and transported to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center for processing and booking.

Trooper MacFadden’s and Sergeant Rodriguez’s quick response and professionalism assisted this victim in receiving the treatment she needed, and removed a criminal from our community.

May | Sergeant Mario Alarcon

Congratulations to Trooper Sergeant Mario Alarcon for being selected as the recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for May 2022.

On May 27, 2022, while working off-duty, Sergeant Alarcon heard on his radio that a wrong-way vehicle was travelling on Interstate 95. He left his off-duty location and was able to quickly locate the vehicle. Sergeant Alarcon attempted a traffic stop by activating emergency lights and siren. When vehicle did not stop, he successfully utilized the PIT maneuver. The vehicle was stopped, and the driver was arrested for DUI.

Due to his quick actions, the wrong-way vehicle was stopped within one minute. Sergeant Alarcon is dedicated to the goals and objectives of the Florida Highway Patrol.

June | Trooper Konner Achors

Congratulations to Trooper Konner Achors for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for June 2022.

On June 18, 2022, Trooper Achors received information that a juvenile from Virginia was traveling to Orlando in a stolen vehicle to carry out a death threat he had made against an Orlando Police Detective. The juvenile also threatened to kidnap his 13-year-old girlfriend, who was a victim in this case related to Child Sexual Abuse Material. In addition, the juvenile had a felony arrest warrant for Attempted Homicide of a Law Enforcement Officer. Trooper Achors surveilled I-95 and observed the vehicle traveling south. When Trooper Achors activated his emergency equipment, the juvenile rapidly accelerated and drove recklessly, reaching speeds of 100 MPH. As traffic began to slow, the juvenile was forced to slow his vehicle. This allowed Trooper Achors to safely perform a PIT maneuver, resulting in the juvenile’s vehicle coming to rest in the median. When given loud, verbal commands to exit the vehicle at gunpoint, the juvenile complied and was placed under arrest and transported to the Saint John’s County Jail. It was later discovered the juvenile also intended to detonate a homemade bomb in Orlando.

July | Troopers Eric Kjekstad and Frank Melillo

Congratulations to Troopers Eric Kjekstad and Frank Melillo for being selected as the recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for July 2022.

On July 21, 2022, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) requested the assistance of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) in apprehending an armed bank robbery suspect. Troopers Kjekstad and Melillo responded to a checkpoint set up by CCSO at Fort Island. The suspect vehicle approached the checkpoint and stopped. A CCSO Deputy observed an AR-15 style rifle in the vehicle. When Deputies ordered the suspect out of the vehicle, he fled, attempting to strike Trooper Melillo. Troopers Melillo and Kjekstad initiated a pursuit of the suspect. Trooper Kjekstad conducted a successful Pursuit Immobilization Technique, ending the vehicle pursuit. The suspect exited the vehicle, removed the AR-15 style rifle and fled on foot, heading toward a crowded RV Park. Fearing for the safety of innocent bystanders, Trooper Kjekstad engaged the armed suspect by discharging his agency-issued firearm, immediately stopping the threat. Troopers Kjekstad and Melillo rendered aid to the suspect until EMS arrived. The subject was transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center. Once released from the hospital, the subject was transported to the Citrus County Jail and charged with several felonies from FHP and CCSO and processed for outstanding federal warrants from the U.S. Marshals Service.

Troopers Kjekstad and Melillo performed their duties fearlessly while apprehending a dangerous armed robbery suspect.

August | Trooper Aaron Godwin

Congratulations to Trooper Aaron Godwin for being selected as the recipient for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for August 2022.

On August 19, 2022, while Trooper Godwin was dining with his family, he observed a female who started showing signs of distress. He noticed that she began drooling excessively and was waving to her husband for help. As the husband attempted to help, Trooper Godwin approached the couple and identified himself as a first responder.

Trooper Godwin quickly realized that the female was no longer breathing. He calmly took control of the situation, informing the staff to call 911. He removed the female from the booth and started to perform the rear abdominal thrust until the obstruction was dislodged. Once dislodged, the female was able to breath normally. He monitored her vital signs until EMS arrived and she was medically cleared.

In addition to this life-saving action, during the month of August, Trooper Godwin conducted 210 CMV inspections, placing 65 vehicles Out-of-Service and 29 drivers Out-of-Service; weighed 77 CMV’s; issued 37 weight citations, 9 Over-Dimensional citations, 25 IFTA/IRP permits, 66 UTC’s, 8 warning, 22 arrests and 98 safety penalties.

September | Corporal Jacob Moore and Trooper Matthew Kale Davis

Congratulations to Corporal Jacob Moore and Trooper Matthew Kale Davis for being selected as the recipients for the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper of the Month for September 2022.

On September 29, 2022, Trooper Michael Downing was traveling on State Road 64 approaching the Peace River to assist two other troopers on a call of people in the water. The bridge over the water had collapsed due to the massive amount of water flowing. Unaware that the bridge had collapsed, Trooper Downing’s patrol car was swept away by the swift waters. The patrol car floated down river for a distance and Trooper Downing was able to escape from the open car window and grab onto a tree. The swift current prevented Trooper Downing from being able to swim back to shore. Trooper Colby Bethea was able to locate Trooper Downing and relay to responding units the exact location of Trooper Downing. Corporal Jacob Moore, Trooper Kale Davis, Trooper Dwayne Davis, Trooper Colby Bethea, Trooper Carlos Lopez, Lieutenant Daniel Wagner and Chief John Gourley all arrived to assist Trooper Downing. Trooper Davis and Corporal Moore unselfishly entered the water, secured with a rope and tow straps. Corporal Moore was able to fight the current until he reached Trooper Downing. Trooper Downing was secured, and the assisting members were able to pull everyone back to the riverbank.

Corporal Moore and Trooper Davis are to be commended for their selfless actions in saving Trooper Downing. Their actions reflect the highest standards of the Florida Highway Patrol and demonstrates the epitome of what it means to serve and protect.