'I may not make it home' thought Trooper of the Year

By: Capitol News Service
December 7, 2018

Trooper Nicholas Dolan

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- A five-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol is this year’s Trooper of the Year, in part because of his heroism caught on dash cam video.

Trooper Nicholas Dolan smiled as Governor Rick Scott presented him with the Trooper of the Year award, but last February, Dolan was in fear of his life. Marion County Deputies were chasing an active shooter, and asked for help, explains FHP Director Col. Gene Spaulding.

“Gentleman was shooting a .50 caliber rifle at construction equipment at a known protest location at one of the pipelines,” Spaulding told the governor.

The suspect crossed into Citrus County, where deputies there picked up the chase.

“This was an active shooter situation. He hears the Lieutenant with the sheriff’s office tell the deputies to pull over and put on their ballistic rifle vests before they engage the subject,” Col. Spaulding recalls.

Dolan was driving toward the fleeing suspect.

“February 26th last year changed my life forever,” says Dolan.

As the suspect passed, the report says he pointed a handgun at Dolan, but didn’t fire.

In hot pursuit, Dolan is about to execute what is called a pursuit termination maneuver, or PIT, then momentarily backs off. Director Spaulding explained why.

“These two motorcycles coming in the opposite direction. He has the presence of mind to hold off until they get in a safe location. He immediately engages the suspect in a PIT maneuver.”

The car slides into the ditch, the police cruiser running into it.

The suspect then slides out of the truck holding a handgun and wearing bulletproof equipment. He refuses to drop it. Shots are fired.

“I may not have made it home, but I wanted to make sure everybody else is okay,” Dolan told the governor.

But go home he did. Trooper Dolan says he regrets having to take a life that day, but says he would do it again.

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