Kentucky State Police Trooper Joey Vorbeck hushes.
Before he depresses a small switch on his cruiser console to broadcast he’s “10-8,” or evening shift begins, the amiable 27-year-old has his own devout rite. “I say little prayers,” he smiles proudly, understanding each workday brings stakes and vulnerability in darkness.
Crisscrossing country road ruts, he blacks out his headlights, with gunshot bangs 100 yards away. Two state police brothers are alongside Vorbeck. “We’re one foot out of the car and shots started firing. We didn’t know if they were intended for us or not,” he details, speaking of the chancy episode.
Although it’s just someone firing into an embankment, he calls upon KSP’s concerted mental and physical training, his three years protecting Madison County citizens as a deputy sheriff and his grandpa’s guidance for certitude in this risky business.
Rex Bunch was sworn into office the day Vorbeck was born and served three terms as Metcalfe County sheriff. He often piled his cadet grandson into his police car. There, Joey met a state trooper — a tough, unfaltering leader with a herculean aura and constant kindliness while backing up Vorbeck’s grandfather.
“I always knew I wanted to be a trooper since I was a little boy. It stuck with me until I became one,” he adds, saying those years as a ridealong helped him come to terms with odds of danger around the rural hollow bend. Raised on a farm, he’s in his element here.
“There are always butterflies in your stomach when you’re responding to an emergency. From training we go through, to calls you learn from, it all betters me on handling those situations,” he said. “But we’re trained to handle those situations, no matter how small or big.
“We go — no matter what the situation is. We’re not trained to survive. We’re trained to win.”
He’s privileged to wear the KSP uniform.
“This agency has heritage. People know when this gray car pulls up we’re gonna take care of them,” he said. “The job can be very stressful — from paperwork, to long hours to dealing with the most unimaginable calls the normal citizen wouldn’t think of. There are nights when you go home at midnight, get called back out and return home at 6 a.m. You never know what the day holds for you.”
Vorbeck’s paramount objective is coming home to his wife. Walking out tonight, he seals his love for her with a kiss and a heartfelt, “I love you.”
He learns safety from every complaint, from traffic stops to domestic violence calls, and advocates bulletproof vests.
“You wear it for yourself and you wear it for your family. It’s selfish to them to walk out the front door without it,” he yanks at his vest, and then speaks of commonplace highway traffic stops quickly turning bad. “Just because someone is nice doesn’t mean they don’t wanna kill you.
“Stress will always be part of being a Trooper. I deal with it by coming home and turning it off. I don’t think about what happened that night or day.”
After Christmas, he pulled over a mother with two children in the car. A nice guy, he imparted Tonka trucks and a princess dress-up set to the kids. He hopes first memories of a trooper were cheery and hospitable. He recommends the career to children and loves volunteering at the annual holiday Shop-with-a-Trooper charity campaign.
“If you have a goal you wish to accomplish, go for it, and don’t stop. I had support from my family. Since day one I said I wanted to be a Trooper — and now I am one.”
Kentucky State Police Trooper Joey Vorbeck hushes.
- Local News
A place for the community to come
Paul and Kristen Shively had no desire to create a “get in and get out” kind of place when they began setting up their new shop, Phoenix Vapors, in downtown Ashland.
Dressmaker to donate to girls in Africa
Morning Pointe Ridge Senior Living Volunteer Carolyn Adams has found another way to help others: She creates dresses from donated material to benefit girls in Africa, Brazil and Peru.
07/25/2014 — What's Happening
Kentucky pushing court records online
Kentucky is pushing to digitize court records and eventually make them more accessible to the public.
UAW backs Grimes in Senate race
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has picked up an endorsement from the United Auto Workers in her bid to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the November election.
Condemned Kentucky inmate seeks new trial
A death row inmate from eastern Kentucky has asked a federal judge to throw out is conviction and sentence, saying a judge erred in accepting his guilty plea.
Town stuck with school after court order
A southwestern Kentucky community is stuck with an unused school at the moment after a judge issued an order stopping its sale for the moment.
Lexington school finds crude bottle bombs on campus
A bottle bomb exploded at a Lexington school, chasing band members inside and bringing police to the scene.
News in brief, 07/24/14
A Fleming County man was arrested on sex charges Tuesday by the Kentucky State Police.
Boyd/Greenup backpack program turns 10
For 10 years, the Ashland Alliance Young Professionals Association has been helping children start their school year off right.
- More Local News Headlines
- A place for the community to come