Archive for January, 2010

Retired NYSP Breakfast Club honors oldest living state trooper

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

THE VILLAGES — When Howard Blanding first hit the road as a New York state trooper in 1936, he did it on a motorcycle.

It was only a few years earlier that Model T Fords or horses were the staples of the force’s transportation.

Blanding, 95, was recently honored by the Police Benevolent Association as the oldest of more than 2,500 retired New York state troopers. And on Wednesday, the Retired New York State Police Breakfast Club toasted him at El Santiago restaurant.

Blanding, who lives in Eustis, has been joining the retired troopers group for years. He enjoys swapping stories with them, as well as reminding them what it was like when he was on patrol from 1936 to 1946.

“Back in the old days, troopers made $900 a year. You’d get a $200 increase every five years, and you maxed out at $1,900,” he said. “Things were real tight; you’re talking about the days right after the Depression.”

The hours were extreme, as well, as Blanding and the other troopers worked

24 hours a day, 27 days a month.

“When you were young and single, it was great — you didn’t mind living out of a suitcase,” Blanding said.

But after serving in the Navy during World War II from 1942 to 1945, Blanding said he wanted a more comfortable life and started his own photography business.

People like Blanding make it easy to take pride in being a New York state trooper, Marty Hockey said. The Village of Glenbrook resident formed the group six years ago as a way to provide camaraderie for retired New York state troopers living in or near The Villages. There are now 32 members, 16 of them Villagers.

“We come from all different ranks from all different areas of (New York). We get together to tell old war stories,” said Hockey, who served 38 years as a New York state trooper. “There are no dues, just breakfast.”

Edward Brouse of the Village of Country Club Hills said the group is an easy sell.

“You say ‘coffee’ and you’ll get troopers from all over the world to come here,” he joked. Brouse, who comes from a law enforcement family, served 30 years as a New York state trooper.

“I couldn’t think of anything else I would have done in my life,” Brouse said. “There was no happy medium being a trooper; you were either in or you quickly discovered that you wanted to get out.”

Hockey agreed.

“I don’t think anyone here wouldn’t do it all over again,” he said.

In addition to the local organization of retired New York state troopers, there is a club on the state level.

Village of Winifred resident Fred Goldman is president of the Florida Association of Retired Troopers, which has 325 members and meets for a reunion every March in Maitland.

“We call ourselves old FARTs,” he laughed about the group’s acronym. But the connection the troopers have with one another is more serious.

“It’s something you can’t explain — it’s like your brothers, like your family,” Goldman said.

The retired New York State Police Breakfast Club meets at 8 a.m. the first Thursday of every month at El Santiago Club.

Parole denied for killer of State Police Investigator

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Albany, New York - The New York State Troopers PBA has reports that Larry Comfort, who is in prison as an accomplice to the murder of New York State Police Investigator Robert L. VanHall, Jr., has been denied parole. He will not be eligible for another parole hearing until July 2011.

This sends a clear message that murdering a New York State Trooper, or other law enforcement officer, will not be tolerated and will not be taken lightly.

Investigator VanHall, who dedicated his life to serving and protecting the public, worked undercover in the war against drugs and was on duty on December 5, 1980 when he was murdered.  He was shot in the back with a sawed-off, double barreled shotgun, and his aorta was severed by a deer slug. Larry Comfort was an accomplice to his trigger-pulling brother in this unconscionable murder.

In an effort to help keep Comfort in prison, the PBA wrote a letter of opposition to the New York State Parole Board and posted it on our web site for members and their families to sign and send to the Parole Board. We are proud to say that hundreds of individuals took the time to send a letter to the Parole Board through the PBA web site.

PBA President Thomas H. Mungeer and National Troopers Coalition Chairman Michael Edes are among the union leaders who also mailed personalized letters to the Parole Board.

The dedication and efforts of you, your friends and family, as well as our active and retired brothers and sisters in law enforcement across the country demonstrated to the Parole Board that the release of this felon would be detrimental to society.

We never forget the ultimate sacrifice made by our members, and one of the ways we can continue to honor these brave and selfless members is through actions like this. Thank you for your support.   

For more information, please visit

First female trooper from New York killed in motor vehicle accident

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

On January 20, 2010, at approximately 2:50 p.m., the New York State Police responded to a fatal motor vehicle accident which occurred on State Route 23 in the Town of Morris, (Otsego County), New York. She is the first female New York State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty.

Preliminary investigation at the scene revealed that Trooper Jill E. Mattice, age 31, assigned to SP Oneonta, was travelling eastbound on State Route 23 when she became involved in a collision with a westbound tractor trailer being operated by F.M. Saggese, age 33, of West Oneonta, New York.

Trooper Mattice was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Trooper Mattice was a 6½ year veteran of the New York State Police. Trooper Mattice was last stationed at SP Oneonta where she was assigned as the School Resource Officer for the Unadilla Valley Central School and Franklin School Districts.

Trooper Mattice is survived by her husband, Troy Mattice, her parents, Jeffrey and Karen Farrar, her brother, Nathan Farrar and her maternal grandfather, George A. Wahl.

My Angels Wear Purple Ties

Thursday, January 28th, 2010



As publshed in the Daily Mail

January 8, 2010

To the editor:

On Nov. 4, 2009, my fiance, Trooper David J. Lane, was killed in an on-duty car accident. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the entire staff at Troop F of the New York State Police. All of these men and women deserve our respect and admiration; not only do they serve and protect us, but they go above and beyond.

They have all been a source of comfort to me and Dave would be so proud of the kindness and warmth shown to his family.

Dave enjoyed working with the officers of Troop F so much that he came back after transferring back home. It is easy to see why he would make such a decision. The sense of duty, brotherhood, and mutual understanding among these men and women is what made Dave return.

Even though they lost one of their own, they all continued to do their duty. They showed honor and integrity to their fallen brother and his families. To me they are all heroes.

I am so proud to be a part of the NYSP family. Thank you to all of your for your support, thoughts and prayers for Dave, myself and our families.

God Bless all of you and keep you safe.

Kelly Miller

P.S. If you would like to make a donation in honor of Trooper David J. Lane please go to; go to donate online, then in the area that reads, Signal 30 Fund or Specific Family insert, Trooper David J. Lane Memorial Fund.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010



Trooper David Lane, 30 years of age, and a 4-year member of the State Police who worked out of the State Police Catskill station was killed in an automobile collision.

Trooper Lane was traveling northbound in his patrol vehicle on State Route 32 in the Town of Catskill, when he attempted to pass another northbound vehicle. The vehicles made contact and Trooper Lane’s vehicle drove off the roadway and struck a telephone pole.

 Trooper Lane is survived by his father Stephen R. Lane and his mother Cheryl D. Lane and his fiance Kelly Miller.

Trooper Paul G. Richey, Troop E, Franklin Station – Killed in Line of Duty

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

January 13, 2010

Tpr. Paul G. Richey, 40, a 16-year-veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police, died Jan. 13 as the result of a gunshot wound suffered during an incident in Cranberry Twp., Venango County.

Tpr. Richey was assigned to the Patrol Unit at Troop E, Franklin.

Richey and Tpr. Jason Whitman responded to a call at approximately 11:34 a.m. regarding a domestic incident in the 100 block of Bredinsburg Road, Cranberry Twp., Venango County.

The troopers arrived at the scene at approximately 11:45 a.m.  After getting out of their vehicles, Tpr. Richey was hit with a shot fired from the residence.  Additional troopers responded and Tpr. Richey was removed from the scene.

“Tpr. Richey sacrificed his life rather than swerve from the path of duty,” said State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski.  “We will not forget his service or his sacrifice.

Tpr. Richey, of Franlkin, enlisted in the State Police on May 17, 1993.  He graduated from the State Police Academy in Hershey on Nov. 10, 1993, and was assigned to Troop F, Milton.  He transferred to Troop E, Corry, on Oct. 19, 1996, and to the Franklin station on May 17, 1997.

Among Tpr. Richey’s survivors are his widow, Carrie; a son, Connor, 9; and a daughter, Catherine, 6.

Tpr. Richey is the 93rd member of the department to die in the line of duty since the establishment of the State Police in 1905.  His death came slightly more than seven months after the shooting death of Tpr. Joshua D. Miller of Troop N, Swiftwater, who was killed during the rescue of a kidnapped child on June 7, 2009, in Monroe County.