Showing posts with label state police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label state police. Show all posts



I first visited the Grand Canyon when I was about eight years old. Although our journey that summer to California was eerily similar to a Griswold family vacation, it provided much laughter and memories in the years that followed. Of all the sights that trip generated, none is more vivid in my mind than my first glimpse at the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. Even as a little boy, this world wonder left me spellbound and amazed. Although our trip was short because we had to get back on the road, (note Griswold likeness!) I remember gazing at the trails and river below through one of those telescopes that cost you a hard earned quarter. Climbing into my Dad's old Cadillac, I daydreamed about what it was like at the bottom of this incredible spectacle.

I have visited the Grand Canyon several times since that day and its beauty and grandeur continues to be magical. Created by millions of years of erosion, this mystical work of nature contains thirteen different ecosystems below the rim level. As the crow flies, it is over a mile down before reaching the Colorado River, equating to many miles when hiking the main trails. Of the 5 million people who visit the Grand Canyon each year, less than 3 percent ever venture below the lookouts on the rim.

Several months ago, Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miniard and I began formalizing a plan to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. Fascinated by the concept, we began a training regiment to check this childhood dream off of our bucket list. We decided early on that we would 'hike for a cause.' A few weeks ago we decided that our journey would be dedicated to those individuals in our agency that had given their life in the line of duty. Both of us will be carrying the photos and names of each trooper/officer who died defending the citizens of the Commonwealth when we embark in late August.

As you are aware, we are currently involved in a major fundraising effort for a 7 1/2 foot bronze sculpture of a trooper that will occupy a prominent place in our new academy courtyard. Handcrafted by world renowned sculptor Benjamin Victor, it will represent all who have fallen in the line of duty as well as those who have faithfully served under the Kentucky State Police flag since our inception. It will be a stunning piece of art that will represent the sacrifice, courage, and integrity that our agency was founded upon. The total cost of this project will be funded through private donations and fundraisers without the benefit of tax dollars. This is where I need your help and support.

Although the entire cost of the “Honor Hike” trip will be borne by us, we are asking supporters of our agency to donate one dollar for our fundraising efforts to help pay for this bronze sculpture. The entire trip will encompass nearly twenty-five miles of rugged terrain before completion. I suppose our trip will be representative of many things that we hold sacred in our agency psyche: preparation, struggle, perseverance, determination, victory and sacrifice.
The Kentucky State Police has been very blessed with strong community support since our inception in 1948. Would you help make this project a reality by taking the time to donate a dollar? Would you tell 3 of your friends about our efforts? Progress regarding our trip will be updated on our website and agency Facebook page. Checks can be made payable "The Trooper Project" and sent to:

The Trooper Project
919 Versailles Road
Frankfort, Kentucky. 40601

For additional information about the bronze sculpture and photographs of our upcoming trip, visit and click on the attached YouTube link. All contributions are tax deductible and donations can also be made through PayPal. Thanks in advance for your ongoing support of the men and women who make up the Kentucky State Police---past, present and future.


The Triple Filter Test

Did you ever hear the story of the wise Greek philosopher Socrates?

It goes something like this:
One day an acquaintance ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about Diogenes?" "Wait a moment," Socrates replied, "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?" asked the acquaintance.

"That's right," Socrates continued, "Before you talk to me about Diogenes let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?" "No," the man said, "Actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates, "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about Diogenes something good?" "No, on the contrary" the man responded.

"So," Socrates continued, "You want to tell me something about Diogenes that may be bad, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about Diogenes going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "If what you want to tell me is neither True, nor Good, nor even Useful, why tell it to me or anyone at all?" The man left bewildered and ashamed.

The story reminds me of some discussions that I had with my counterparts from across the country a few years ago as we wrapped up our training with the FBI National Executive Institute training in Gettysburg. One of our final speakers discussed character (the drive to achieve) and values (the capacity to care) in leadership development. These two traits are acquired in two different ways: innately and through acquired learning.

Innate traits include intelligence, self-confidence, perseverance, high energy, embracing change, and curiosity. Conversely, acquired traits encompass the areas of vision, expertise, teamwork, diversity, good communication skills, delegation, and innovation. All of these and more are essential for our development as effective and powerful leaders. Arguably, the cornerstone of all of these is integrity.

Integrity means respecting your colleagues and agency even when times are rocky. It is not about covering up wrong-doing or unethical behavior. It is about giving people the benefit of the doubt until you are sure of the behavior or motive in question. And even if true, always applying the three filter test previously mentioned. It’s interesting in this social media age we live in how quick people are to spread anonymous venom about a person or an agency. Although the wisdom of Socrates dates back over 1600 years ago, I think he was way ahead of his time.


Leading from the Heart

We’ve all heard the old adage that you should lead by example, but what does that really mean? Sergeant Jill Henderson, the Army’s first female Drill Sergeant of the Year routinely works seventeen hours a day. Even in the rain and mud, she usually can be found in a crisp uniform and spit-shined shoes. She aligns her actions with her values. “I lead from the heart” she says. “The more I take care of people, the more they take care of me. If you stay in the Army you will become a leader. It’s very important that you never forget where you came from.”
Arguably nothing is more powerful than a leader’s example. A study performed by UCLA found that the behavior most related to employee productivity was ‘modeling the way’ by their leadership. Kouzes and Posner tell us in their book, “The Leadership Challenge”, that there are five essential aspects to their behavior and actions that leaders need to be conscious about in their efforts to align shared values:
• Calendars---how you spend your time is a clear indicator as to where your priorities are. When I used to teach at the college level, I asked my students to list two of the most important things in their life. It could be relationships, activities, hobbies, etc. The second part of the exercise involved them telling me how much time that they spent each day towards these endeavors. As you might imagine, their actions did not always align with their values. What you do speaks loudly as to what you really value.
• Critical Incidents---as leaders, critical incidents provide us an opportunity to teach and impart valuable knowledge. I often hear commentary at retirement receptions about how a field training officer, senior detective or supervisor took the time to teach rather than to chastise a unit early in their career. Although these learning moments can’t be planned, they are moments in time that offer a leader the chance to improvise if they are on the look out for such opportunities.
• Stories, analogies, and metaphors---if done correctly, leadership examples are passed down through stories and organizational metaphors over time. Stories are easily understood and often long remembered. Our agency is infamous regarding stories that are passed down, whether it is from post to post or generation to generation. Research tells us that information is more quickly and accurately remembered when first presented in story form.
• Language---leaders understand and are attentive to language. They know the power of words. Questions are equally powerful and help focus attention on important issues. They illustrate where the agency is headed and what is important to the leader. From customer service to integrity to innovation, questions can provide the platform for daily organizational direction.
• Measurements---we’ve all heard that what gets measured is what gets done and it’s true. However, I believe it is one of the hardest transitions for a new supervisor to make. For whatever reason, there is a natural resistance by many leaders to hold those under their command accountable. Research has shown time and again that measurement and honest feedback are essential to increased performance and overall improvement.

History has demonstrated that there are three central themes in the values of highly successful, strong cultured organizations:
1. High standards of performance
2. A caring attitude towards people
3. A sense of uniqueness and pride

Sound familiar? As Kentucky State Police enters into its 65th year of service to the Commonwealth, we continue to work diligently towards practicing what we preach.


Kentucky is a 'HERO' State

By all accounts, John Elliott was no ordinary kid. He was senior class president and graduated fourth in his class at Egg Harbor Township High School. He played offensive tackle on the football team and also lettered in tennis. He was the kind of student that teachers and parents knew was going to make a difference in the world. John went on to the United States Naval Academy and graduated with a degree in systems engineering with a merit honor and the rank of ensign in May 2000. He was slated to attend Naval Flight Officer School in Pensacola, Florida. John Elliott was on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream. Those dreams vanished on July 22, 2000, when John and his girlfriend were hit head-on by an intoxicated driver. John’s girlfriend was in a coma for several days and the intoxicated driver of the other vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. John was travelling home to celebrate his mother’s birthday when the collision occurred. A copy of a Faith Hill CD intended as a present for his mom was found in the wreckage. As tragic as this story is, the nightmare for the Elliott’s was just beginning. It seems that Michael Pangle, the intoxicated driver, had been arrested earlier in the evening by the New Jersey State Police for driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .21. But less than three hours later, after being bailed out of jail by a friend, Michael Pangle was back behind the wheel again in his SUV. The head-on collision with John’s Nissan Altima happened a short time later.

Before disconnecting his son from life support, Bill Elliott told his son that he loved him and that he was the best son a father could ever have. He vowed that he would do all that he could to prevent this from happening to someone else.

Bill Elliott was true to his word. In addition to getting tougher DUI laws passed in New Jersey, Bill and Muriel Elliott launched the “HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.” The campaign takes its name from the HERO of the Year award that John Elliott earned in his senior year at the Naval Academy that recognized his stellar character and leadership skills. The mission is a simple one: prevent drunken driving tragedies by promoting the use of safe and sober drivers.”

The goal of the Elliott’s is to have over one million people in America sign the pledge to be a designated driver. With successful launches in New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia they have already posted some impressive results.

This month we launched the “Be a HERO Campaign” in Kentucky. Bill and Muriel Elliott were present to help us in this endeavor. In addition to Governor Beshear signing a proclamation, we were joined by law enforcement officials, bar/restaurant owners, Alcohol Beverage Control, Office of Highway Safety and the malt beverage and distillers association.

This proactive approach is more than just another designated driver campaign. It is a long term, collaborative effort that combines a strong designated driver message with rigorous DUI enforcement across our state. The logo is easily recognizable and is applicable whether you work in a dry or wet county.

The Kentucky law enforcement community does an incredible job of reacting to impaired drivers. Last year we arrested 25,841 drunk or drugged drivers. Imagine our span of effectiveness if we can prevent those drivers from ever getting behind the wheel. I believe it is our sworn obligation to do everything in our power to prevent another nightmare from happening to a family like the Elliott’s. I hope you’ll join me in our efforts to elicit support from the business community and the motoring public to make this campaign a success.

To learn more about the Hero Campaign, check out our website or go to


KSP TV is Hitting the Airwaves

Do you recall experiencing something really neat as a child and the building anticipation until you could tell the story to your friends? The stories probably ranged from a silly dog trick to a solar eclipse.
It still happens to us as adults, albeit a bit less frequently. As human beings we are geared to share our stories with others. The age of social media has certainly changed the way that we share those stories. In today’s world, our tales can be told to thousands, perhaps millions of people within minutes. Nearly a dozen years ago I conceived a plan to tell the story of our agency that perhaps was a bit ahead of it’s time. Fascinated by the “Kentucky Afield” television show hosted by the Department of Fish And Wildlife, I decided that a television show about our agency hosted by Kentucky Educational Television (KET) would be entertaining and informative. It would profile and bring to life many of the programs and initiatives of the Kentucky State Police. The concept was simple, but difficult and expensive to implement. At an estimated cost of over $1 million dollars a year to get off the ground, the idea was eventually shelved. However, I kept the file that I had researched and knew that someday the story of our agency would be told. With the advancements in social media, that day is now.
I’m pleased to announce the creation of “KSP-TV”. This program will begin its monthly debut August 1, 2012, on YouTube. This info-newscast will feature the multitude of talent and programs inside the walls of KSP. Each show will be three to seven minutes in duration and will be linked to our website. Not only will the show generate an incredible amount of public interest, it will act as a catalyst for our recruitment efforts in every section of our agency.
The topics are endless: a day in the life of a cadet, what is DNA?, Trooper Island, commercial vehicle truck inspection process, Special Response Team, preparing for a murder case, prepping a state police cruiser, traffic crash reconstruction, capabilities of our canines, dynamics of the driver testing process, combating internet based crimes, marijuana eradication………. and on and on and on.
Each broadcast will conclude with a highway safety tip or crime prevention thought. If you have story ideas that you would like to share, contact Ms. Sherry Bray in Public Affairs at The time to tell our story is now because it’s just too good not to share with the world.

“In 6,000 years of storytelling, people have gone from depicting hunting on cave walls to depicting Shakespeare on Facebook walls.” — Joe Sabia