Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 3, 2013

Through good and bad, troopers are brothers

Tammie Hetzer-Womack
The Independent

GRAYSON — An Eastern Kentucky University Colonel, Tye Chavies was hopeful he might be picked to be a Kentucky State Police trooper — so he looked to his college buddies for a hand to make it happen.

A detective was on his way to interview Chavies at their apartment. His pals made sure their place was spick and span and ready for distinguished company, he remembers, with an easygoing chuckle.

“My family and friends played a significant role in helping me achieve my lifelong dream of becoming a state trooper. From childhood days playing cops and robbers, all the way through my direction in school, my family and friends knew my goals and dreams,” said the 24-year-old Queen City native.

“I wouldn’t have done it without the love, support and encouragement I received from them on both easy days and even the toughest of days. Because I work away I don’t always get to see them and speak with them, but, ultimately, they’re my rock.”

Chavies carries fraternal heart into every shift. He listens intently to his radio; hears a partner unit on a chancy call. “It’s always in the back of my head as I listen to him. If he’s in trouble, I head his way,” he said. “He’s my best friend.”

On a recent night he united with Carter County KSP troopers for help in an unstable meth lab takedown, wrenching the suspect from underneath a bed. He chronicles cases of Mississippi felon apprehensions and risky car chases. Priming in his home’s stillness shores and settles him for such nights. It takes Chavies more than an hour to put attire in order — buffing brass buttons, ironing gray woolen and shining patent shoes. Exactitude and attention to detail are a KSP tradition.

“I take pride in this uniform. I make sure it looks as good as the men and women who wore it years before me,” he said. “It’s an institution and legacy.”

Learning he was accepted into the academy he proudly told his parents he would soon pack up and head off — oblivious of stringency ahead. The 23 weeks were the “toughest of my life,” he said.

“Nonstop demand for discipline, academics and physical training takes a toll on any person. Many people say they want to become a trooper, but only a few understand the drive and dedication it takes to see that through,” Chavies said. “The training I received from the Kentucky State Police is like no other. I’m confident in my abilities and prepared to see whatever comes through that radio because of the people who trained me from Day 1 of the academy through my time in field training.

“Everything they do is for a reason. You don’t ask why — you just do it.”

Chavies doesn’t know what this night will hold. By hook or by crook, he lives up to his characterization of hero: “Someone willing to do what’s necessary to get the job done. You go completely, fearlessly. The people I work with are my biggest heroes,” said Chavies, who has a bachelor’s degree in police studies, coupled with minors in political science and homeland security. Being a trooper is taxing. It changed Chavies.

“Even when I’m not on the clock I’m always working. I wonder what my fellow troopers are doing at work and I think about important cases. I find myself quick to help others when they’re in need and skeptical of some people most wouldn’t even consider.

“It’s hard to describe the ways becoming a trooper changed me, but I’m yet to find one change I didn’t like. Every day of my life revolves around KSP. There’s just something special about being a trooper.”