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Year-In-Review: PSP Takes Proactive Steps to Protect Citizens in 2016

HARRISBURG, PA - DECEMBER 19: A K-9 police officer walks up the stairs inside the Pennsylvania Capitol Building before electors cast their votes from the election at December 19, 2016 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Harrisburg, Pa. – State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker reviewed the department’s achievements and steps taken to keep the citizens of Pennsylvania safe in 2016.

“In 2016, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) has continued to carry the designation of the “First and Finest” state police agency in the country while advancing into the world of 21st century policing,” said Colonel Blocker. “We strive to deliver professional, first-class police services while embracing training and technology, the accomplishments of 2016 reflect that.”

An overview of some of the most noteworthy accomplishments includes:

Combatting the Opioid Epidemic: The approach to the opioid epidemic has been multi-faceted, with education and enforcement leading the way. In the first three quarters of 2016 alone, troopers seized more than $50 million in prohibited drugs, including over 50 pounds of heroin. By getting these drugs off the streets before they can be used, many lives may be saved.

Public education is also a key in combatting the epidemic. In 2016, over 300 drug awareness and prevention presentations were given by troopers to community members. Additionally, naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug, is now carried by all patrol personnel. The drug was administered to overdose victims nearly 60 times by troopers throughout the commonwealth. The department also participates in “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” which allows for the anonymous collection of unwanted and expired prescription drugs.

Training New Cadets: Funding provided by Governor Wolf allowed the department to continue a steady flow of new cadets through the training academy. In 2016, 271 new troopers graduated from the academy and were assigned to locations throughout the commonwealth. Efforts to recruit qualified individuals, especially minorities and women, continue as an advertising campaign was undertaken. Print and digital ads were released in various markets throughout the commonwealth to target interested applicants and support recruitment.

Maintaining Safety and Order at the Democratic National Convention: Hundreds of troopers from across the commonwealth worked hand-in-hand with federal, state, and local partners to assist with security at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25 to July 28. In the national, and even worldwide, spotlight of the event, department members assisted with crowd control, dignitary and building security, and interstate traffic. Troopers provided first-class police service to not only the citizens of Philadelphia but also to those visiting from around the world during the successful multi-day event.

Exemplifying Law Enforcement Excellence by Earning CALEA Re-Accreditation: The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in November awarded Certificate of Meritorious Accreditation status to the Pennsylvania State Police for exemplifying excellence in law enforcement and maintaining more than 15 years of accredited status. The department received initial accreditation in 1993 and has been consecutively reaccredited eight times since. The national accreditation of the PSP is an acknowledgement of the courage, leadership, collaboration, and innovation of the dedicated enlisted and civilian employees of the agency to provide high-quality services to the community.

Tracking Megan’s Law Offenders: The PSP Megan’s Law Section is responsible for maintaining the statewide registry of over 20,000 current offenders. Megan’s Law exists solely for the purpose of providing a means of protecting the public, especially our children, from victimization by sexual offenders. Through proactive efforts, the PSP Megan’s Law Section maintains one of the lowest offender non-compliance rates in the nation at 1.8 percent. Furthermore, the unit coordinates unannounced “spot checks” of offenders on a regular basis. In 2016, more than 3,500 addresses were checked, resulting in 24 criminal arrests for failing to comply with the requirements of the statute.

Making Pennsylvania’s Roadways Safer: Troopers conducted proactive traffic enforcement and education with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of crashes. Special “Operation Nighthawk” DUI enforcement initiatives were held throughout the commonwealth, netting a total of 132 DUI arrests and 81 felony arrests during those details. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Division conducted specialized details focused on identifying commercial vehicles with violations that likely could contribute to a potential traffic crash. A total of 2,485 inspections were conducted, resulting in 183 drivers and 186 commercial vehicles being placed out of service for critical violations. The six details also resulted in over 3,600 traffic citations.

Source: Pennsylvania State Police