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THP Accepting Applications for Spring Citizens’ Trooper Academy

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; January 26, 2015:

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Highway Patrol is now accepting applications for the 2015 Citizens’ Trooper Academy in the spring. Classes will be held in both Nashville and Knoxville during the spring sessions.

The Nashville session is scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 10, while the Knoxville class will start on Thursday, March 12. Both sessions will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time weekly.

The academy, which consists of approximately 30 hours of training, is designed to develop a better understanding and awareness of the Tennessee Highway Patrol as well as its parent agency, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in the community through a hands-on approach. Topics covered include investigations, special operations, homeland security and many other areas of the patrol.

Participants must be at least 21 years old, available to attend weekly three-hour sessions with no more than one absence, sign required waivers and agreements, and have no criminal history.

Applications are available on the departmental website at www.tn.gov/safety or you may request an application by emailing email.safety@tn.gov. Please be sure to indicate on your application whether you wish to attend the Nashville or Knoxville sessions.

Deadline for registration is February 11, 2015.  Applications must be returned by that date for processing.

For more information, call Sergeant Stan Hollandsworth at 615-251-6321 or Shannon Hall at 615-251-5170.

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Trooper Resigns from THP Following Domestic Assault Charge

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security; September 19, 2014:

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott announced Friday that a Tennessee state trooper in the Fall Branch District resigned from the department in lieu of termination following an internal investigation into an arrest on domestic assault charges.

The Johnson City Police Department charged Trooper Russel Holtsclaw, 28, with aggravated domestic assault on August 10 following a reported incident at his residence. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) placed Holtsclaw on administrative leave that same day. The department’s Investigative Services Bureau opened an internal investigation into the incident. All departmental equipment including weapons, badges and commission card were secured pending the investigation.

The department’s internal investigation resulted in the decision to terminate Holtsclaw. However, on Friday Holtsclaw resigned employment in lieu of termination. He has been assigned as a trooper to the Fall Branch District in east Tennessee since joining the department in January 2012.

The criminal case against Holtsclaw is pending.

“Allegations of domestic violence are absolutely not tolerated in the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” Colonel Trott said. “Regardless of the outcome of the pending criminal case, our investigation concludes that this trooper clearly violated policies of the department and his behavior is unacceptable for anyone who wears the THP badge,” Trott stated.

“We will continue to act quickly to respond to any allegations of domestic assault, conduct thorough investigations, and swiftly discipline employees of this department who commit such acts of violence,” Commissioner Gibbons said. “The actions of this one trooper do not reflect those of the men and women of the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” he added.

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THP Announces Labor Day ‘No Refusal’ DUI Enforcement

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; August 24, 2014:

NASHVILLE— The Tennessee Highway Patrol will conduct a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign during this year’s Labor Day holiday period. This special enforcement effort will begin at midnight on Friday, August 29 and conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Monday September 1.

The “No Refusal” legislation allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.

“Law enforcement officials have another tool to utilize to deter impaired driving and reduce fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways by conducting ‘No Refusal’ enforcements,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said. “We have chosen to implement this enforcement in each of the eight highway patrol districts, and with the help of various local law enforcement agencies across the state. The ultimate goal is remove drunk drivers from our roadways and to save lives,” he added.

State troopers will conduct “No Refusal” enforcement in the following counties: Union (Knoxville District); Hamilton and Marion (Chattanooga District); Montgomery (Nashville District); Shelby (Memphis District); Hawkins (Fall Branch District); Smith (Cookeville); Maury (Lawrenceburg); and Hardin County (Jackson District).

In addition to “No Refusal” enforcement, highway patrol personnel will also conduct driver’s license, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, as well as saturation patrols and bar and tavern checks.

“Our district captains have created enforcement plans specific to their regions. So, there will be a variety of specialized enforcement during Labor Day, including distracted driving, commercial vehicle safety, and Move Over enforcement, for example. However, the priority is always on impaired driving and seat belt enforcement,” Trott said.

During the 2013 Labor Day holiday, 16 people were killed in 15 fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. That’s up from the 13 vehicular fatalities in 2012. Last year, alcohol was involved in six (38%) of the fatal incidents, and six of the ten (60%) vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints. Four motorcyclists, one all-terrain vehicle rider and one pedestrian were also killed.

Preliminary figures indicate there have been 3,981 crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in Tennessee from January 1 through August 15, 2014. That is 339 fewer (7.8% decrease) than the 4,320 crashes during those same dates in 2013.

Seat belt usage is another contributing factor in crashes across the state. To date this year, 50 percent of vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing safety restraints.

Colonel Trott also noted the number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers in 2014. Troopers have arrested 5,310 individuals for impaired driving from January 1 through August 15, 2014. In 2013, the number of arrests made during that time was 3,973. That’s a 34 percent increase during the same dates.

A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” and Labor Day enforcement checkpoints are HERE.

A 2013 Labor Day holiday statistical sheet is HERE.

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THP to Increase Patrols for Halloween

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; October 29, 2013:

NASHVILLE —The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott announced today that State Troopers will plan for increased patrols and conduct a variety of enforcement plans to help ensure a safe Halloween for citizens across the state.

Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate children are four times as likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween as any other day. NHTSA also noted that 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.

“We are urging motorists to pay attention to the road and don’t drive distracted or impaired. State Troopers will seek out and remove any aggressive or impaired drivers from our roadways to allow for a safe and happy Halloween,” Colonel Trott said.

Last year in Tennessee, three people were killed during the Halloween period between 6 p.m. on October 31 through 6 a.m., November 1. Two of those fatalities were alcohol-related. That compares to zero fatalities during the Halloween period in 2011.

As of October 28, there have been 66 pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee in 2013. That’s 15 more pedestrian deaths compared to this same time last year. The CDC reported that alcohol involvement – either for the driver or pedestrian – was reported in 47 percent of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities nationwide.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), 115 child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over a 21-year period (1990-2010). That is more than twice the average number of 2.6 fatalities on other days of the year. The study also concluded it was particularly dangerous between the hours of 6:00-7:00 p.m.

In 2012, state troopers issued 328 speeding citations and arrested 13 individuals on suspicion of drunk driving on October 31.

This Halloween, the THP will conduct bar and tavern checks, sobriety checkpoints, and seat belt saturations across the state. Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading this Halloween.

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

Tips for Motorists

  • Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
  • Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
  • Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited and may not be paying attention.
  • Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
  • If you are driving to a Halloween party, put your mask on after you park the car.
  • Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.

Tips for Parents

  • Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their “trick or treat” activities.
  • Teach children to “stop, look left-right-left, and listen” before they cross the street.
  • Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
  • Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
  • Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.
  • Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.

Tips for Pedestrians (children and adults)

  • Require children to wear retro-reflective materials and carry a flashlight at dawn and dusk and in other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.
  • Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.
  • Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.
  • Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
  • When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
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Press Releases

Tennessee State Trooper Terminated Following Internal Investigation

Press Release from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Oct. 21, 2013;

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott announced Monday that a Tennessee state trooper in the Lawrenceburg District has been terminated from the department.

The department dismissed Trooper Tommie Boleyn following an internal investigation into allegations that Boleyn violated THP policies and procedures during an on-duty incident on August 31 in Shelbyville.

The internal investigation revealed that during a DUI stop in Shelbyville, Boleyn did not follow stop and approach procedures; did not identify himself as a Tennessee state trooper; and engaged in two physical altercations with the DUI suspect, although the suspect was not physically aggressive. The suspect was charged with DUI, and a criminal case is pending.

A memorandum of disciplinary action was delivered to Boleyn today that states gross misconduct; conduct unbecoming of an employee in state service; and brutality in the performance of duties as reasons for the dismissal. The memo goes on to state that “Boleyn’s actions have seriously impaired his usefulness and efficiency as a public servant,” and that his actions “cast doubt upon his competency and ability to discharge his duties…”

“We expect more out of our state troopers, and this type of behavior will not be tolerated. We acted swiftly to thoroughly investigate the allegations and take the appropriate and necessary disciplinary action,” Commissioner Gibbons said.

“The actions of this trooper are not reflective of the hundreds of men and women who honorably wear the Tennessee Highway Patrol badge and put their lives on the line to protect citizens every day,” Colonel Trott said.

The department has referred this matter to the district attorney as possible criminal behavior. The department has previously disciplined Boleyn for unprofessional conduct and excessive force.

Per state law, Boleyn’s termination is effective October 31. Boleyn has been on discretionary leave with pay since September 9, when the investigation was initiated. All departmental equipment including weapons, badges and commission card were secured at that time.

Boleyn, 48, started his second term with the Tennessee Highway Patrol in November of 2009. Boleyn was initially hired in July of 2000; however, he resigned after nearly eight years with the agency before returning in 2009.

Boleyn was assigned to the THP Lawrenceburg District during both terms. He has worked in Bedford, Marshall and Lincoln County, where he is currently stationed.

It is the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s policy to warn, suspend, demote or dismiss any employee whenever just or legal cause exists. Employees shall not commit any act that would reflect discredit upon themselves or the Department while on or off duty.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.

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Tennessee Highway Patrol to Receive Top Honor for Impaired Driving Enforcement

Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Safety, Oct. 15, 2013;

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Highway Patrol has been recognized among the country’s top state police and highway patrol agencies by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

The THP earned second place in the national organization’s 2012 law enforcement challenge and won the special category award for impaired driving. Colonel Tracy Trott will accept the awards on behalf of the state’s highway patrol at the IACP annual conference in Philadelphia, Pa., next week.

The THP took top honors in the impaired driving category based on its year-round efforts to detect and apprehend drunk drivers and to address this traffic safety issue through policies, officer training and public information and education.

“DUI enforcement continues to be one of the most important duties of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. In 2012, state troopers increased the number of impaired driving arrests by over 25 percent from 2011. We are proud of the steps we have implemented to make our state safer, and more will be implemented as we move forward,” Trott said.

The THP has earned second in the overall National Law Enforcement Challenge for three consecutive years.

The National Law Enforcement Challenge is a competition between law enforcement agencies of similar sizes and types. The THP competed in the State Police/Highway Patrol category for agencies with 501-1,000 officers. As part of the challenge, the state’s Highway Patrol submitted an application documenting its efforts and effectiveness in traffic safety enforcement.

“This is a tremendous honor for the Tennessee Highway Patrol and every Tennessee State Trooper. This honor would not be possible without their commitment to traffic enforcement and public safety. They are truly Tennessee’s finest,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.  Commissioner Gibbons heads the state’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

The IACP is the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization of police executive with more than 20,000 members in some 200 countries.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.

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THP Announces ‘No Refusal’ Enforcement for Labor Day Weekend

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security; August 27, 2013:

NASHVILLE-— Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott today announced plans for a “No Refusal” enforcement campaign during the Labor Day holiday weekend. This special enforcement will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 30 and conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 2.

The “No Refusal” enforcement will be conducted in 11 counties across the state, and is aimed at deterring impaired driving and reducing fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. The “No Refusal” legislation allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.

“The ultimate goal is to save lives on Tennessee roadways. This targeted ‘No Refusal’ enforcement gives law enforcement and prosecutors another tool to hold drunk drivers accountable,” Commissioner Gibbons said.

The participating “No Refusal” counties include Roane (Knoxville District); Marion, McMinn, Meigs and Sequatchie (Chattanooga District); Rutherford (Nashville District); Fayette (Memphis District); Carter (Fall Branch District); Putnam (Cookeville District); Giles (Lawrenceburg District); and Henry County (Jackson District).

During the 2012 Labor Day holiday, 12 people were killed in 11 fatal crashes on Tennessee roadways. That’s the same as the 11 vehicular fatalities in 2010. Last year, alcohol was involved in two of the fatalities, and 64 percent of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety restraints.

“DUI is one of the categories targeted throughout the year and especially during the holidays,” Colonel Trott said. “During this ‘No Refusal’ campaign, we will focus our resources on specific areas and high-crash corridors across the state. Our high-visibility enforcement effort, which includes saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks and sobriety checkpoints, will help remove impaired drivers from the Tennessee roadways.”

Colonel Trott also noted the number of DUI arrests made by State Troopers in 2013. Troopers have arrested 3,728 individuals for impaired driving from January 1 through August 24, 2013. In 2012, the number of arrests made during that time was 3,414. That’s a nine percent increase during the same dates.

In Tennessee, the preliminary number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased 9.2 percent through the first seven months of 2013, compared to that same time period last year. From January through July of 2013, there have been 3,904 crashes involving impaired drivers. That is 361 fewer than the 4,265 crashes during those same dates in 2012.

Seat belt usage is another contributing factor in crashes across the state. To date this year, 49 percent of vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing safety restraints.

Overall, as of August 27, 2013, preliminary statistics indicate 630 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of nearly eight percent compared to the 684 fatalities at this same time last year.

A list of the scheduled “No Refusal” and Labor Day enforcement checkpoints are attached. A 2013 Labor Day holiday statistical sheet also accompanies this release.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.

Labor Day Weekend “No Refusal” checkpoints.
Labor Day 2012 Statistical FatalityReport.

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THP Taking Applications for Fall Citizens’ Trooper Academy

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; July 9, 2013:

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is now accepting applications for the fall session of its Citizens’ Trooper Academy. The 10-week academies will be held in both Nashville and Knoxville. The upcoming session will mark the first academy held in Knoxville.

The first session for the Nashville class is scheduled to begin Tuesday, September 3, 2013. The Knoxville class is scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 5, 2013. Both sessions will run from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. weekly.

The Citizens’ Trooper Academy, which consists of approximately 24-30 hours of training, is designed to develop a better understanding and awareness of the Tennessee Highway Patrol as well as its parent agency, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in the community through a hands-on approach. Topics covered include investigations, special operations, homeland security and many other areas of the patrol.

Participants must be at least 21 years old, sign required waivers and agreements and have no criminal history. Also, citizens must be available to attend weekly three-hour sessions with no more than one absence.

Applications are available on the departmental website (www.tn.gov/safety), the THP Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tennesseehighwaypatrol), or citizens may request applications by sending an email message to email.safety@tn.gov. Applicants are asked to indicate whether they wish to attend the Nashville or Knoxville sessions.

Deadline for registration is August 2, 2013. Applications must be returned by that date for processing.

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THP Announces 14% Decline in Traffic Fatalities for 2013

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security; July 8, 2013:

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the preliminary number of traffic fatalities on state roadways have decreased by nearly 14 percent (13.8%) for the first six months of 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012. The THP reported 436 people died in traffic crashes in Tennessee from January 1 through June 30, 2013. That is 70 fewer than the 506 vehicular fatalities that occurred during the same dates in 2012. Please note these figures include vehicular fatalities reported by all law enforcement agencies across the state.

Colonel Trott also noted a 10.7 percent decline in alcohol-related crashes investigated by the THP. State Troopers worked 975 impaired driving accidents from January 1 through June 30, 2013, a drop from the 1,092 crashes involving alcohol the previous year during the same time frame.

“DUI enforcement has become one of our agency’s top priorities in the last few years. We have arrested 3,151 individuals on suspicion of impaired driving during the first six months of this year – a 9.8 percent increase from the 2,870 DUI arrests made the first half of 2012,” Colonel Trott said. “Each time we remove a drunk driver from our roadways, we reduce the chance of a serious injury or fatal crash occurring,” he added.

“The efforts of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is evident in the data produced on the roadways,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Bill Commissioner said. “We are encouraged by the reduction of crashes investigated, specifically injury and alcohol-related across the state. Our hope is to continue this trend and keep the motoring public safe in Tennessee.”

THP has also placed a greater emphasis on seat belt enforcement in 2013. As of June 30, 2013, State Troopers have issued 37,191 seat belt citations in Tennessee. That’s 14,000 more seat belt citations or a 62.3 percent increase than those issued during the first six months of 2012. Colonel Trott believes the seat belt enforcement has resulted in a 31.2 percent decline in the number of unrestrained fatalities across the state.

A summary of THP’s six month performance measures are listed below. Statistics for the recent Fourth of July holiday period will be released at a later date.

THP Statewide Six-Month Performance Measures

January 1 – June 30, 2013

Performance Measure                                                 2012            2013

All Crashes Investigated                                          12,381          12,013

Injury Crashes Investigated                                     4,841            4,370

Alcohol Impaired Crashes                                        1,092              975

Traffic Fatalities                                                             506              436

DUI Arrests                                                                     2,870            3,151

Total Citations                                                          179,259        196,716

Seat Belt Citations                                                      22,911           37,191

Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspections           41,286          44,462

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THP Accepting Applications for Citizens’ Training Academies

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Safety; January 14, 2013:

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is now accepting applications for the spring session of its Citizens’ Trooper Academy. For the first time, academies will be held in both Nashville and Memphis. The first session for the Nashville class is scheduled to begin Monday, March 11, 2013. Sessions will run from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. weekly. The Memphis class is scheduled to begin on Thursday, March 14, 2013. Sessions for this group will run from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. weekly.

The Citizens’ Trooper Academy, which consists of approximately 24-30 hours of training, is designed to develop a better understanding and awareness of the Tennessee Highway Patrol as well as its parent agency, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in the community through a hands-on approach. Topics covered include investigations, special operations, homeland security and many other areas of the patrol.

Participants must be at least 21 years old, available to attend weekly three-hour sessions with no more than one absence, sign required waivers and agreements and have no criminal history.

Applications are available on the departmental website (www.tn.gov/safety), the THP Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tennesseehighwaypatrol), or citizens may request applications by sending an email message to email.safety@tn.gov. Applicants are asked to indicate whether they wish to attend the Nashville or Memphis sessions.

Deadline for registration is February 11, 2013. Applications must be returned by that date for processing.

For more information, contact Sergeant Stan Hollandsworth at 615-251-6321, Trooper Chris Dye at 615-232-2901, or Shannon Hall at 615-251-5170.