Mary Beth Sallee
Jobe Publishing, Inc.
The Kentucky State Police (KSP) abides by several core values and principles to uphold its commitment to the citizens of the state.
One of those values can be found within the first line of the Code of Ethics: “As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind.”
What many may not know is that KSP’s service to the community goes far beyond patrolling highways, responding to collisions, and investigating crimes. KSP Troopers uphold their values and principles by also giving back to the community through various outreach programs.
Trooper Daniel Priddy, Public Affairs Officer for KSP Post 3, explained the outreach programs that are making a difference in the lives of Kentucky children and families.
Trooper Island Camp
Trooper Island itself is located at Dale Hollow Lake near the Clinton County and Cumberland County line. Each summer on the island, Trooper Island Camp is held.
Established as a public service for Kentucky youth, the camp provides children with a week-long adventure to forget the turmoil of everyday life.
According to Trooper Priddy, while on the island children participate in a variety of outdoor recreational activities.
“They take a ferry across the lake to the actual island,” Priddy said. “They learn outdoor safety, canoeing, swimming, fishing, just normal things you would learn.”
Each summer, approximately 40 children from the Post 3 area attend Trooper Island Camp. KSP Post 3 includes Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Simpson, and Warren Counties.
KSP works with schools to determine the children who are deserving of attending the summer camp.
“We’re trying to find children that probably wouldn’t be able to go to summer camp, some less fortunate children that probably wouldn’t be able to take a vacation, probably wouldn’t be able to do anything that summer,” Priddy said. “We provide the camp free of charge to them and their family.”
Trooper Island Camp is provided free of charge due to the support and donations from the community, as well as fundraisers. Absolutely no tax money is used.
“We do fundraisers throughout the year,” Priddy said. “We usually have a golf scramble and a car raffle.”
This year, raffle tickets are being sold for the chance to win a 2021 Chevrolet Camaro. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased through the KSP website or by contacting Post 3.
Trooper Priddy stated that overall, Trooper Island Camp is simply a great way for children to enjoy a week filled with learning, friendship, and a positive atmosphere.
“A lot of kids catch their first fish there, learn how to swim there, so it really is a great camp for kids,” Priddy said of Trooper Island. “It’s really an enjoyable time…Some of them may not have had much positive influence in their life. Not all of them are that way, but some of them, and while they’re there, you can tell they feel safe and can let loose…It’s very rewarding for us, and I think it’s a great time for the children.”
Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trooper Island Camp was held virtually with online activities that children could participate in while staying healthy at home.
Trooper Priddy has hope that perhaps this year Trooper Island Camp can be held in-person.
Cram the Cruiser
Each year, KSP Post 3 holds two Cram the Cruiser fundraisers.
The first is Cram the Cruiser for school supplies. According to Trooper Priddy, it is KSP Post 3 that holds the school supply fundraiser each year.
“We actually started the Cram the Cruiser at this post I think 14 years ago in Edmonson County for school supplies,” Priddy said. “The idea behind it is that we meet out usually at a Dollar General Store and let everyone know what we’re doing. People can go in and buy school supplies, and they bring the supplies out and put it in the cruiser.”
This is a successful event each year that provides local school systems and Family Resource Centers with the necessities that all children need for school, such as pencils, notebooks, folders, and so forth.
“You don’t want any kid starting school behind anybody else,” Priddy said. “You want them to have the supplies they need…We want to make sure we get everybody on the same page and make sure everybody starts out even.”
A Cram the Cruiser holiday food drive is also held each year as a way to gather non-perishable food items for families in need.
“This helps people with coming into winter and going into the holiday season,” Priddy said. “The goal is, especially during the holidays, that everybody can sit around and have a family dinner, a family meal around holiday time. We try to provide that to people who may be a little less fortunate.”
Trooper Priddy stated that KSP works closely with Family Resource Centers and local churches to spread the food items evenly throughout the area so that all families in need receive food.
Shop with a Trooper
Each year at Christmas time, KSP hosts Shop with a Trooper in an effort to give back to local communities by providing children with gifts at Christmas.
“We take children (shopping), and we usually buy them $150 worth of items,” Priddy said. “We try to buy them all toys, a coat especially if they need one, some shoes if they need it.”
“Every child should be able to open something up on Christmas,” Priddy added. “…Whatever they happen to want that Christmas, we try to get that.”
Many of the children chosen by KSP to benefit from the program are those that may have been involved in a house fire or may have been a victim of a crime.
“Throughout the year, if we come in contact with a child that’s been through a stressful situation or may have lost something in a house fire or something of that nature…We’ll reach out to those children come time for Christmas,” Priddy said. “We’ll try to help out those kids.”
Despite the pandemic canceling many events last year, it did not stop KSP from hosting its annual program.
“Because of COVID, we took a list of things that the child needed, that the child wanted, and purchased those items,” Priddy explained. “Then we had some local high schoolers and other volunteers that would wrap the presents for us. Then we would deliver those to the kids’ homes so they could actually open it up on Christmas.”
The Shop with a Trooper program is made possible through community donations.
Trooper Teddy Program
Often times when KSP Troopers encounter children, it’s usually because of a traumatic situation that the child has just experienced. This may include a car crash, cases of abuse, or even the arrest of a parent.
“The idea behind this is that we take a little Trooper Teddy, and we put them in the back of our cars, so if we come across a child that has been involved in a traumatic incident (we give them one).” Priddy said. “Obviously, a teddy bear doesn’t make that go away, but it allows them to sometimes have a little bit of peace, to have a little bit of distraction from the pain they may be suffering at that time.”
Trooper Teddy bears are also distributed to children who are terminally ill.
“Once or twice a year, we’ll go to a children’s hospital or a local hospital,” Priddy said. “We’ve been to Bowling Green Medical Center before and handed them out…A teddy bear that they can hold onto may be able to help them through a tough situation.”
In order to provide this service to children, KSP sells Trooper Teddy bears as a way to pay for the ones that are given away.
At this time, Trooper Teddy bears are sold out but should be available again near the Easter holiday for purchase.
According to the Kentucky State Police website, the Angel Initiative was established by KSP in 2016 with one goal in mind: to save lives.
The program is a pro-active approach that offers alternatives to those battling addiction.
“If somebody is addicted to drugs or affected by any sort of substance abuse, they can come to any Kentucky State Police Post throughout the state and tell us that they are here wanting help,” Priddy said. “We try to get them into a rehabilitation center…This is a volunteer program. We cannot force anybody to go to rehab. This is for individuals that want help.”
Individuals seeking help must present a valid ID and not have any active warrants, must not be on the sex offender registry list, and must not be a danger to others.,
“To my knowledge, we’ve never had anyone that we weren’t able to get them into a bed (rehab for treatment),” Priddy said. “And if you don’t have insurance, if you don’t have any way to pay for it, it doesn’t matter. Anybody that wants help can come there and get help.”
Trooper Priddy explained that the opioid crisis is certainly an issue in Kentucky, one that causes overdoses, destroys families, and brings harm to many.
“We’re trying to combat that by giving an option to people who want help but don’t know how to get it,” Priddy said. “Obviously when it comes to addiction, nothing is a hundred percent. However, there has been a lot of success stories throughout the state. There are people who this program have literally changed their lives, regained their lives from addiction.”
The Angel Initiative comes at no cost to KSP, thus no donations are needed for this program. Rather, it’s a way for KSP to partner with other agencies to connect those in need to treatment facilities.
All of the programs mentioned above, as well as other KSP programs, return full circle to the oath that a Trooper takes “to serve mankind.”
“I think that everybody that gets into law enforcement and all the Troopers that I know get into this because, in some way, they want to help,” Priddy said. “They want to help their communities. They want to be able to help other people, and these programs are just a different way to do that.”
While KSP responds to calls, works accidents, and investigates major crimes, programs like Shop with a Trooper and Cram the Cruiser allow Troopers to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
“There’s been times in these programs when we have a kid during Shop with a Trooper that asks if he can buy a blanket and a pillow for his younger sister or if they can spend some money and buy mom a present because he or she wants to give a present to their parent,” Priddy said. “That just goes to show you how there are people in need, and this is an opportunity for us to be a positive influence in their life.”
“That’s kind of what this is about, to help people who need it at that time,” Priddy added. “These programs are awesome, especially like Trooper Island. To see those kids’ faces light up, it’s as much for us as it is for them sometimes, just to see these kids have a good time and enjoy a week at a summer camp that they probably wouldn’t ever be able to experience. Those programs are dear to us, and we want to ensure that they continue.”
Although it is KSP that spearheads the outreach programs, Trooper Priddy said that none of them would be possible without the support of the community.
“It’s the community that makes this a success,” Priddy said. “…They are the ones that are able to allow us to help these kids, to help these families. We appreciate that.”
“Obviously, we’re here to do what we can to make the Commonwealth a safer place and to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth,” Priddy added. “But we really appreciate anytime that somebody comes up to us to help us do our job, that gives us information that we need on a crime, that helps us in an investigation, that donates money to one of these programs. It’s a continuous thing. It really is because of the community.”
For more information about KSP outreach programs or to make a donation, visit the KSP website at www.kentuckystatepolice.org. KSP Post 3 can also be reached at 270-782-2010.