FRANKFORT – House Speaker Greg Stumbo and the father of Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, who was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 13, joined with other state legislators on Tuesday to pledge their support for increased safety measures for front-line KSP officers.
“We are asking KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer to give us suggestions that his agency thinks would work best and that could be implemented quickly,” Speaker Stumbo said during the press conference. “We want to make sure we are taking the right steps to make sure something like Cameron’s death never happens again.”
One suggestion that Speaker Stumbo, Joe Ponder and the other legislators backed during the press conference was the use of a bullet-resistant laminate, which could be applied quickly to KSP cruisers. Speaker Stumbo said the cost-per-vehicle could be as low as $5,000, and an early estimate put the number of affected vehicles at 600. He said he supported efforts to extend similar programs to the state’s other law enforcement agencies.
During his remarks, Joe Ponder said he thought this type of feature “could have made a difference” in saving his son’s life. Trooper Ponder was shot and killed while chasing a suspect on Interstate 24.
In remarks to the media, KSP Commissioner Brewer said his agency will review additional safety measures that could be implemented, which could also include changes in training or the purchase of other equipment.
State Rep. Will Coursey, who chairs the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee, said during the press conference that his committee would review potential legislative changes in the weeks ahead and during the 2016 Regular Session, which begins in January.
House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins said he wanted “to make sure this tragedy never happens again,” while state Rep. Tim Moore of Hardin County, where Trooper Ponder had grown up, added, “I assure you we will honor Cameron and the life he lived.”
Joe Ponder vowed to work on behalf of any legislative proposal that would increase officer safety. “My son is behind me all the way,” he said.