BLOG: State Police Served and Protected During Winter’s Worst

By: Governor Tom Wolf

January 26, 2016

Just like the National Guard and so many others, the Pennsylvania State Police went above and beyond to keep fellow Pennsylvanians and people from across the country safe during one of Pennsylvania’s worst winter storms in years, especially between Somerset and Bedford on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Nearly 600 troopers worked statewide during the worst of the storm to keep Pennsylvanians, our communities and our roads safe.

At a backlog on the Turnpike, more than 40 state troopers helped and assisted at the interchanges and throughout the Somerset and Everett station’s patrol area.

There, Pennsylvania’s finest took charge of the scene, pushed vehicles, assisted checking on stranded motorists, passed out food and water, and stayed vigilant for any medical emergencies.

State Police leaders at the scene relayed some incredible stories of individual and collective bravery and service. From their perspective and mine, those troopers on the scene went above and beyond the call of duty – just like they have time and again.

Some troopers were outside of their vehicles for over 17 hours – even as the temperature dropped to well-below zero at times. One trooper took it upon himself to commandeer a front end loader and directed the operator to make a path through the backlog so they could get to passenger vehicles, work with the National Guard to dig them out and push them out and onto the road to exit.

Along the backlog, troopers carried pets and even a baby out of cars, through snow and over barriers, to get them into warm buses and to a shelter. Another trooper heard there was a driver with a diabetic condition in the backlog. The trooper gave them his lunch he packed earlier in the day before work. He then put a flare out and marked the driver’s location so they could be checked on throughout the incident.

The Captain of the local troop said that in his more than 26 years with the department, these were the worst conditions he ever witnessed his members having to work in, especially for so long. He said he never heard one complaint about the cold or long hours, and his troopers never slowed down.

I know he is proud of his troopers and I could not be more proud myself. The State Police’s Call to Honor, includes the promise:

“It is also my duty to be of service to anyone who may be in danger or distress, and at all times so conduct myself that the honor of the force may be upheld.”

In situations like we saw on the Turnpike and across Pennsylvania during this blizzard, this call was tested and our troopers passed that test with the highest marks and I thank them for their selflessness and commitment to service.

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