IACP Names Justin T. Mahalik as Trooper of the Year

IACP Names Justin T. Mahalik as Trooper of the Year

Alexandria, VA – The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) named Trooper Justin T. Mahalik of the Virginia State Police as the IACP/Motorola 2008 Trooper of the Year. Trooper Mahalik was chosen from four finalists among state and provincial agencies of the United States and Canada for this honor.

“The IACP is pleased to honor those law enforcement officers who unselfishly serve their communities, sometimes at great risk to themselves.” said Russell B. Laine, Chief of the Algonquin, Illinois Police Department and President of the IACP. “I applaud Trooper Mahalik for his heroic actions and appreciate the sacrifices he and the other finalists made to make their communities safer places. On behalf of the IACP, I send my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to Trooper Mahalik.”

“We're very proud to honor Trooper Mahalik and the other three finalists," said Superintendent Mark Dunaski, General Chair of the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police. "The IACP believes that all four troopers exemplify the honor and dedication displayed by all state and provincial police officers everyday.”

“We recognize the awesome responsibility these troopers must shoulder each and every day to protect all of us,” said Jim Welch, Motorola Corporate Vice President, North America Government and Commercial Markets. “We also want to acknowledge all the brave men and women who serve as members of state and provincial police agencies. This recognition is  just one small way for Motorola to thank them.”

On April 30, 2008, at 12:45 am, during the course of a routine traffic stop of a pick-up truck on I-66 in northern Virginia, Trooper Mahalik’s police car was struck by another vehicle, violently launching the patrol vehicle into the back of the pickup truck. Trooper Mahalik’s vehicle instantly burst into flames and fire engulfed the floor of car. Despite receiving multiple spinal fractures and burns to his legs, Trooper Mahalik pulled himself and the unconscious passenger from the burning police vehicle. Had he delayed his actions, the flames would have reached the ammunition stored inside of the police vehicle and caused it to explode causing severe injury or death. Trooper Mahalik returned to active duty three months after the accident which required numerous hours of therapy and recovery.

The other finalists for the honor were: Trooper James T. Adkisson of the Illinois State Police, Trooper Charles A. Forsythe of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and Trooper Edward Collins of the Washington State Patrol.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s oldest and largest association of law enforcement executives. Founded in 1893, the IACP has more than 22,000 members in 100 countries.