Trooper Douglas Cropper
Maine State Police
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Trooper Douglas Cropper of the Maine State Police as its Officer of the Month for November 2012.
About five months ago, Trooper Cropper was conducting a traffic stop along the southbound lanes of I-295 in Portland, widely considered one of the most congested roads in the entire state of Maine. And on Friday, June 29—the weekend before the 4th of July holiday—traffic was especially heavy.
At approximately 4:00 pm, Trooper Cropper received a call from the State Police Dispatch Center alerting him that a vehicle was traveling in the wrong direction on the interstate in his patrol area. The 12-year veteran knew the outcome of this incident could result in serious injuries—and even death—if the automobile in question could not be turned around quickly.
Immediately after receiving the call, Trooper Cropper saw the vehicle approaching him. He exited his cruiser and stepped into the busy Friday evening traffic, attempting to flag the vehicle. Despite his best efforts, the vehicle drove past him and continued on toward Tukey’s Bridge, a location with several s-curve turns and limited visibility. If this vehicle were to breach the bridge, a fatal accident was almost a certainty.
Trooper Cropper realized that his only option was to intentionally hit the rogue vehicle to disable it and bring the car to a halt. Due to construction on the interstate, he was forced onto side streets, racing through with his lights on and sirens blaring. As he re-entered the highway, the speeding vehicle flew past him. With seconds to spare, Trooper Cropper raced to beat the vehicle to the next median crossing a short distance away.
By the narrowest of margins, Trooper Cropper swung his patrol cruiser across the median and into the path of the wrong-way vehicle. The impact of the other vehicle ripped the front end off of his patrol car, but the collision successfully stopped the speeding vehicle.
Trooper Cropper crawled out of his wrecked cruiser and went over to render aid to the other driver, an 88-year-old man who was significantly disoriented. Miraculously—even though both vehicles were totaled—no one was hurt in the collision. Still, Trooper Cropper called for an emergency medical team to come and examine the elderly man. He then contacted the man’s family to let them know about the accident and that their father was not seriously hurt. Trooper Cropper summed up the incident by saying, “You become a cop to help other people and to protect the innocent. I have no words of wisdom, I’m just grateful that no one was hurt.”
In 2008, Trooper Cropper received the Maine State Police Bravery Award for his involvement in an “officer involved” shooting after a suspect murdered a woman and engaged in a standoff with police. In 2011, Trooper Cropper received his department’s Meritorious Service Award for trying to rescue the victims of a double homicide. He is the Vice President of the Maine State Troopers Association and a member of the National Troopers Coalition.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Trooper Cropper, along with the other Officers of the Month for 2012, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC in May 2013 during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.
- # # # -