In April of 1988, at the age of five, my friends and I were high tailing it on what we thought were the best BMX bikes you could find. We raced down 100 North in Wellsville toward Center Street without a care in the world.
Following behind a couple of friends , who had already crossed Center Street, and without checking both ways like my parents had taught, I blew the stop sign and began to cross the street. The next thing I remember I was lying in the roadway. I had been struck by a pickup truck and Trooper Kyle Bushnell was on scene. My injuries included road rash and a broken arm, leaving me extremely lucky to not be hurt worse or even killed. The thing I remember most about that day was Trooper Bushnell with his fro-like curly hair and his Ford Mustang patrol car. I have two uncles who work for the Highway Patrol, Kevin Bradshaw (Pee Wee) and Lt. Doug Rawlinson. Both of whom have been much of the influence on me, along with Former Trooper Bushnell, to be a Utah Highway Patrolman.
I am an easy trooper to spot. I have red hair and ears that will block your view if you stand behind me. Let’s put it this way, I pretty much aced the hearing test when I tested with the patrol. I started my career in 2005 at the age of 22. I have worked in Section 1, Cache County for my entire eight years. In my opinion, which is biased of course, Section 1 is the best place to work. I have enjoyed the work I do as well as the guys I work with here. I started on the board with the UHPA about six years ago and have enjoyed the benefits that come from being a member. Prior presidents have paved the way for us as troopers to have the tools we need to do the job that we do. As I have attended many conferences around the country with other state troopers, I marvel at how well we do in our state. This year I had the opportunity to attend the Western and National Trooper Conferences. I learned some surprising things concerning many other states, especially when compared to the great state of Utah. For instance, Montana just barely implemented their first K-9, California Highway Patrol is driving cars that have nearly 200,000 miles on them. Many of the states back east are losing pensions and Alaska has lost theirs. We also have the lowest dues of any association in the entire country at $23 per month. As I gave the report for Utah, the western states were flabbergasted at how we accomplish what we do as an association. They were shocked to know that our commissioner and colonel are members of the Utah Highway Patrol Association as well as our captains and majors. In most states the troopers and administrators don’t communicate well with each other and when they do it is typically adversarial. They were surprised that we get to know our legislators and actually talk to and work with them. Many trooper associations across the country are unionized and are struggling in that regard. In our state, we are lucky that our most in our administration are members of our association and so their concerns become ours and ours become theirs as we work together to make things better for troopers and their families. I recently attended a meeting with our honorary colonels. These are prominent and well known members of the community that just simply like the highway patrol. They don’t get paid and they spend and volunteer much of their own time and money to participate as honorary colonels. They are a huge asset to our association and can often times be more of an influence on change than the association by itself. I was amazed at the energy and desire they have to help us.
We often times ask, what does the association do for me? What am I getting for my dues? I personally can assure you that they go to good use and the funds are well cared for. The check we receive upon retiring is a huge benefit while we wait for our retirement checks to start coming in. This year at our banquet, we gave out 28 scholarships to troopers’ children who were close to graduating high school. If you have a child that is close to graduating, get the application process started so you can get that $1000 scholarship for them. The board of directors meets each month and makes decisions on your behalf and to bring up your concerns. We make changes and implement different things to better the association and we are very progressive in doing so. Everyone is welcome to come to the meetings. We have implemented the ‘Trooper of the Month’ program in which we will recognize a trooper each month for something great and give them a nice gift certificate and letter for their file. My favorite part of the association is that when members need help, we mobilize immediately and take care of them whether it is monetarily or otherwise. This is what the association exists for. We also became part of Professional Law Enforcement Association who takes care of our legal needs and lets us call our preferred attorney to take care of us when we are involved in a critical incident such as a shooting. They cover us in criminal on-duty events, civil, administrative, and off duty when it is duty related. They cover our costs so we can focus on the things we need to. These are just a few things the association does.
Contact your region representative when you have questions or concerns. Take your issues to them so they can be brought up to the board. Please feel free to contact me anytime by my personal or UHPA phone. Thank you for being a member and being involved in the process of taking care of members and bettering the association.