Every year IACP and Motorola Solutions recognize state troopers and provincial police who have demonstrated bravery, courage, leadership, and professionalism. At the annual Division Midyear meeting, the IACP and Motorola Solutions honor four regional finalists, and announce the 2019 IACP/Motorola Solutions Trooper of the Year. This year, due to the unexpected circumstances of COVID-19, the Trooper of the Year Award will be presented at the October Annual IACP Conference in New Orleans.
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. Each month leading up to the IACP’s National Conference in October, Motorola Solutions and the IACP will recognize the 2019 Trooper of the Year finalists from each region.
The first finalist to highlight, from the IACP State and Provincial Police Mountain Pacific Region, is Trooper Ruben Correa of the Utah Highway Patrol. His courageous story exemplifies why he is the Mountain Pacific Region finalist for the 2019 Trooper of the Year Award.
On the morning of October 16, 2019, Trooper Ruben Correa was conducting a traffic stop when he heard of a vehicle that had left the interstate and became lodged on the railroad tracks – which are frequently used for passenger trains traveling upwards of 80 mph. Trooper Correa immediately left his traffic stop and traveled to the approximate location of the vehicle. He stopped his patrol car where the chain link fence was knocked over and observed the vehicle parked in a precarious position on the tracks. Trooper Correa ran over the downed fence and up the embankment towards the vehicle. Unbeknownst to him, as he initially approached, there was a train about a mile away heading in their direction. Trooper Correa made contact with the driver of the disabled vehicle, who remained unresponsive. Trooper Correa vigorously shook the driver in an attempt to wake them up and tried to unbuckle the seatbelt. As he was doing so, Trooper Correa noticed out of the corner of his eye the large headlight and could hear the train horn blaring as it rapidly approached their location.
The driver of the vehicle had somewhat regained consciousness and became combative with Trooper Correa. His attempts to coax the driver out of the vehicle were unsuccessful. Trooper Correa bear-hugged and pulled the driver to safety just before the train struck the vehicle, crushing it. It was later determined that the driver had suffered a medical emergency while driving, causing his vehicle to become stuck on the railroad tracks.
Trooper Correa’s calm demeanor and immediate action enabled him to rescue a disoriented motorist from what would have been a fatal train collision. Motorola Solutions thanks and congratulates Trooper Correa for his dedication, service and being a finalist for the 2019 Trooper of the Year Award.