Each year IACP and Motorola Solutions recognize state troopers and provincial police who have demonstrated bravery, courage, leadership, and professionalism. Last week, at the annual Division Midyear meeting, the IACP and Motorola Solutions honored four regional finalists, and announced the IACP/Motorola Solutions Trooper of the Year.
“IACP is proud to honor those law enforcement officers who go above and beyond to serve their communities, putting their lives at risk each day.” Said IACP President Cynthia Renaud. “Congratulations to our finalists Trooper Curry, Trooper Fletcher, Detective Hershey, and Trooper Saget. We appreciate the selfless courage, commitment, and professionalism displayed by all the finalists. They are exceptional examples of the heroism displayed by law enforcement officers across the globe. On behalf of the entire association, congratulations and thank you for your public service.”
“State troopers and provincial police exhibit leadership, courage and commitment to community each and every day,” said Jim Mears, senior vice president, North America Sales, Motorola Solutions. “It is our privilege to partner with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to recognize select troopers for their extraordinary acts of heroism. Our finalists demonstrated bravery and professionalism in the face of danger, and they prioritized the safety and well-being of others above their own. Motorola Solutions salutes their actions, honors their sacrifices and deeply appreciates their service.’
There were many submissions detailing the courageous, dedicated acts of troopers in state and provincial agencies that exemplify what it means to serve and protect their communities. This year’s regional finalists are:
MOUNTAIN PACIFIC REGION FINALIST – Trooper Lance Curry
Colorado State Patrol
ON JULY 11, 2020, the Colorado State Patrol Denver Communications Center received multiple REDDI (Report Every Dangerous/ Drunk Driver Immediately) reports concerning a stolen Jeep traveling on Interstate 25, with an occupant involved in a felony menacing incident with a firearm an hour earlier. Trooper Lance Curry, in addition to Trooper Victor Sargenti and Trooper Michael Carlton, responded, located, and developed a plan to stop and apprehend the driver. Trooper Curry created a roadblock to slow oncoming traffic, while Troopers Sargenti and Carlton initiated a traffic stop. The suspect made evasive maneuvers and fled until he was met by Trooper Acuna from Colorado Springs. At this point, the suspect crashed and exited the Jeep. As Trooper Curry approached in his patrol car, the suspect circled around and brandished a 9mm handgun at Trooper Curry. He then ran and attempted to carjack a stopped vehicle.
Trooper Curry intervened and the suspect pointed his weapon again. To end the threat, Trooper Curry struck the suspect with his vehicle, knocking him down an embankment. The suspect got up and ran across a large field, entering a residence’s backyard with 10 people outside. The family fled inside as he tried to enter the home. Meanwhile, Trooper Curry pursued the suspect going to the front of the home. He quickly evacuated the people inside and then entered. Fellow troopers and officers from the Palmer Lake Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff’s Office remained outside commanding the suspect to drop his gun. The suspect climbed up on the back deck and again tried to enter the home. Then he fired a shot through a dining window, broke the glass, and entered the home through a window. Trooper Curry, who was inside and one of the supporting officers outside the home engaged the suspect, striking him with several rounds, and immediately administered aid.
The suspect succumbed to his injuries. Trooper Curry’s actions throughout the incident were instrumental in confronting and controlling the imminent threat posed by the suspect. His timely threat assessment and decisive action exemplify the highest levels of courage and professionalism.
NORTH ATLANTIC REGION FINALIST – Detective Richard Hershey
New Jersey State Police
ON SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020, a violent home invasion occurred at the Harding Woods Trailer Park in Pittsgrove Township, New Jersey. During the incident, five suspects forced entry into a residence where they assaulted a female victim by kicking, punching, and striking her with objects, causing severe injuries. After the assault, the suspects stole the victim’s cell phone and departed the scene. Detective Richard Hershey, from the Troop “A” Criminal Investigation Office, responded to the Harding Woods Trailer Park to investigate the crime. After processing the scene, Detective Hershey responded to Inspira Medical Center to interview the victim, who provided the names of her assailants. As he was conducting the interview, several of the victim’s family members were engaged in a series of retaliatory attacks in Bridgeton City against those they believed were involved in the assault. Detective Hershey returned to the trailer park to conduct witness interviews. As he was speaking to the witnesses, a caravan of 5 vehicles carrying 15 occupants returned to exact revenge against the victim’s family members. Several armed individuals exited the vehicles and confronted Detective Hershey. Despite identifying himself as a New Jersey State Trooper, the suspects continued to advance towards him. At that point, he drew his weapon to defend himself and the witnesses.
Three suspects fired from a vehicle at Detective Hershey, striking him in his abdomen. Despite being critically wounded, he was able to strike the fleeing vehicle with his handgun to leave a distinguishing mark to assist with later identifying the vehicle. Unable to walk and bleeding profusely, Detective Hershey crawled to cover and calmly called 911 to request assistance and emergency services. During the exchange of gunfire, the suspects fired 13 rounds at Detective Hershey, with many of the bullets striking nearby residences that were occupied at the time.
Three men were ultimately charged in the shooting of Detective Hershey, while 18 have been charged overall in connection with the investigation, which included the home invasion.
Detective Hershey demonstrated ultimate dedication and commitment to protecting the lives of others while placing himself in danger. His actions prevented injury and loss of life to others and are the embodiment of the New Jersey State Police core values: honor, duty, and fidelity.
SOUTHERN REGION FINALIST – Trooper Horlkins Saget
Florida Highway Patrol
ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2020, dispatch notified Trooper Horlkins Saget that Trooper Megan Stiles was in an active pursuit on I-95 just north of Atlantic Avenue in Palm Beach County, Florida. Being in the area, Trooper Saget joined the pursuit. The suspect vehicle made an abrupt exit from I-95 onto Atlantic Avenue, and at the intersection, it crashed into another vehicle. The suspect drove approximately one-half mile before abandoning the heavily damaged vehicle and fled on foot into a nearby neighborhood while carrying a military style rifle and a semi-automatic handgun. As Trooper Saget and Trooper Stiles continued the pursuit, the suspect turned and discharged his rifle at them. The suspect then continued to flee on foot between houses.
By this time, Troopers Saget and Stiles had exited their vehicles and began pursuing the suspect on foot. The suspect ran between two houses, stopped, and waited to ambush the pursuing troopers. Maintaining their situational awareness, Troopers Saget and Stiles slowed their pace as they passed between the houses. As Trooper Saget turned the corner, he encountered the suspect who immediately fired his handgun, missing Trooper Saget. Trooper Saget returned fire, striking the suspect, and ending the attack.
Trooper Saget then retrieved first aid equipment and returned to assist Trooper Stiles who had begun performing CPR. The suspect succumbed to his injuries. This incident occurred during the first two months that Troopers Saget and Stiles had been released to solo patrol and their teamwork is testament to their training and professionalism. The immediate action of Trooper Saget confronting and neutralizing the threat of the suspect while under fire demonstrates his selfless service to the community and the Florida Highway Patrol.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION FINALIST & WINNER – Trooper Mark Fletcher
Michigan State Police
ON DECEMBER 1, 2019, a dispatch call went out regarding a home invasion in which one of the residents had been taken hostage by the intruder. Trooper Mark Fletcher, with the Michigan State Police Paw Paw Post, drove to the scene to provide backup to the responding deputies and officers. The officers determined the home was occupied by an adult male and female and their daughter. While the two females were able to flee to an upstairs room, the male occupant was taken hostage by the armed intruder in a downstairs bedroom. As Trooper Fletcher and his colleagues planned a course of action, they heard a gunshot from inside the home, causing them to immediately make entry into the home in an attempt to rescue the hostages.
Once inside, they were able to contain the suspect and male hostage in the downstairs bedroom, establish direct communications with the suspect, determine that the male hostage was unharmed, and safely extract the two female hostages. The suspect continued to fire multiple rounds intermittently during negotiations. Some of the rounds were fired through the floor and walls into adjacent rooms striking three of the responding officers, including Trooper Fletcher. After the injured officers were assisted out of the residence, Trooper Fletcher immediately rendered first aid to one of the officers by applying pressure to the gunshot wound. Trooper Fletcher then realized he had also been shot below the knee; at which time he utilized his tourniquet on his own leg. Trooper Fletcher continued administering first aid to one of the injured officers as he and the other two officers were transported to the hospital.
The suspect ultimately broke a window and exited the residence where officers on the perimeter arrested him. It was later determined that the suspect killed the male hostage prior to exiting the window.
The wounded officers recovered from their injuries. Trooper Fletcher recovered from his injury and returned to duty a few weeks later.
Trooper Fletcher’s selfless and timely actions helped to contain a violent suspect, rescue hostages, and provide immediate care to his fellow officers while placing himself in imminent physical danger.
During the online awards ceremony, State and Provincial Police Division General Chair Colonel Matthew Langer announced Michigan State Patrol Trooper Mark Fletcher as the 2020 Trooper of the Year.
“Congratulations to our 2020 Trooper of the Year Trooper Mark Fletcher. The IACP is proud to honor your courage, professionalism, and dedication to your community. We are grateful to be able to recognize these heroic four finalists that represent law enforcement professionals across the globe. On behalf of the entire association, congratulations and thank you for your service,” said IACP President Cynthia Renaud.