It’s Christmas. Holidays aren’t conventional for Kentucky State Police. Trooper Shane Copley looks to his cruiser backseat at a toy collection stacked high as a chimney Santa climbed down.
Out in the country, a tot might see a parent land in trouble today. He prepared in case. If there’s a domestic violence complaint or deadly crash, Copley plans to convey a present to a forlorn child.
It’s just Trooper Copley.
He talks continuously, full of pride for his prince charming of a 5-year-old son — daddy’s double. This blonde, spike-haired, lively look-a-like dreams of becoming a state trooper like his father.
He might. After all, Copley, 37, and his brother follow in West Virginia police force footsteps. Their dad is a veteran officer. The Marshall University criminal justice graduate, an outstanding football and baseball player, imagined becoming a teacher and high school coach. He learned about KSP at a job fair and enrolled.
Keeping watch for 12 years, Copley patrols Ashland’s Post 14 guard of Boyd, Greenup, Carter and Lawrence counties.
Copley alludes to a recent rural call — father and son in a furious fight, some 100 miles from the U.S. 60 barracks. With screams, the phone line went dead while dispatchers spoke to the alleged suspects. The father said law enforcement wasn’t welcome up their hollow.
He took a risk — went where everyone else might fear to go.
“There was a 12-gauge shotgun propped in the window when we arrived,” said Copley, illustrating danger in the wee hours, a possible ambush to waylay and trap troopers. “These are times you’re anxious.”
Countryside whittled Copley into a heedful trooper.
“Being alone out here shaped me. It’s what we do. We learn to function alone and be ready for anything.”