Ohio state patrol’s top trooper comes from Hamilton post for second time in 3 years

By one measure — number of drivers arrested for operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs — 2020 was a “down” year for Trooper Tyler S. Ross of the Hamilton post.

He made 115 of them, below the 150 or so he had made in earlier years on the night shift before the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet, Ross’ dedication to his job, his number of arrests and his overall professionalism still earned him the honor of Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Trooper of the Year.

“He’s extremely dedicated and motivated toward apprehending impaired drivers, whether they’re alcohol- or drug-impaired,” said his post commander, Lt. Clint Arnold.

“I usually bring in right around 150, but last year, it was 115, with everything going on,” Ross said. That number still was enough to lead the district.

“I grew up in an environment that I saw what drugs and alcohol can do to a person,” Ross said. “I think that I understand the effect that can have long-term and short-term on families and friends, and just the consequences of driving, so I think that gives me an eagerness and a fire to look for that.”

“And then, just training and experience, doing something over and over again, you just get good at it, and have confidence in it,” Ross said. “That’s just something I take pride in.”

The Hamilton post has had two state troopers of the year in the past three years. The other, two years ago, was Trooper James Hutchinson.

“So we are two-for-three, which is pretty-much unheard of,” Arnold said.

Ross also led a coat drive for school-age children, getting dozens of new coats donated by family, friends and acquaintances.

Ross, 29, grew up in Belbrook, which is east of Kettering, and graduated from Belbrook High School. He received an associate of arts degree in psychology from Sinclair Community College in 2014 and joined the patrol in 2016. He credited Arnold, the post’s sergeants and his wife, Elise, for supporting his work.

His brother Michael Ross is a sergeant in the patrol’s Wilmington post.

“He’s a conversationalist, a pleasant person to talk to, and he has an upbeat, very positive demeanor,” Arnold said. “He wholeheartedly believes in what he does and he’s extremely committed to his job.”

The nomination process for trooper of the year begins at the post level, where peers and supervisors nominate candidates. From there, nominees from Southwest Ohio’s seven posts are interviewed by a panel at district headquarters. The district command staff then votes, and each of the 10 district troopers of the year is considered for the statewide honor. Ross also was district trooper of the year last year.

In a non-pandemic year, there would be a banquet in Columbus for the recipients. But this year, there was a virtual announcement last week. On Friday, he will go to Columbus to receive his trophy and a cruiser that will be designated as his own for the rest of his career.

“It’s been a blessing, for sure, the last couple of days,” Ross said. “I’m very humbled and honored to receive it, for sure”

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