Trigg Co. sheriff proposes 'Cameron's Law' in honor of fallen KSP trooper

Published: May. 30, 2016 at 10:00 PM CDT|Updated: May. 31, 2016 at 12:38 AM CDT
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(Source: Trigg County Sheriff's Department)
(Source: Trigg County Sheriff's Department)

TRIGG COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - The Trigg County Sheriff's Department paid special tribute to a fallen KSP trooper at a Memorial Day service on Monday, May 30.

After a ceremony honoring all fallen veterans, including some from Trigg County, there was a tribute held in honor of KSP Trooper Cameron Ponder, who died in the line of duty on Sept. 13, 2015. He was also stationed in Trigg County.

A portrait of Ponder was unveiled by his mother Brenda Tiffany and his fiancé Chrystal Coleman.

It will be hung at the Trigg County Justice Center.

Trigg County Sheriff Ray Burnam II spoke at the event after receiving the blessing of Trooper Cameron Ponder's mother.

"What I am about to say is not directed at any one person," the sheriff said. "It is directed at a system. A system that is failing us. A system that fatally failed Trooper Cameron Ponder on Sep 13, 2015. I have said that I would stay out of politics. I'm not on this. This issue is politics. There are no other words for it. And I am diving in head first."

Sheriff Burnam II said that KSP Trooper Cameron Ponder "was murdered by a criminal that should have been in jail instead of on I-24 in Trigg County."

He said the criminal was out on probation at the time of Ponder's death.

"That criminal knew his situation and what he had done that night," Burnam said. "And may have been thinking 'I'm not going back to jail'. Whatever the case may be, the criminal murdered Trooper Ponder. My point - had the court that let him go held him accountable instead of granting him probation, both Trooper Ponder and the criminal would be here today."

He did say that he believes the court had good intentions by placing the criminal on probation, "but those good intentions were met with fatal consequences. Fatal consequences that we hear about over and over all across the country on a regular basis."

Sheriff Burnam also spoke about the passenger in the vehicle the night Trooper Ponder was killed.

"That woman was charged with a felony in connection with the murder of Trooper Ponder, convicted on a felony and sentenced to five years I think," he said. "But guess what? She walked out of the court room on - you guessed it - probation."

Her probation had terms and conditions, one of which included writing an apology letter.

"That is what teachers give to elementary kids that talk in class, make them write 100 times on the board 'I will not talk in class'," the sheriff said. "That is not appropriate in my opinion in how to handle a convicted felon."

He said that when she went back to court and was found in violation of her probation, she received an additional 10 days in jail, which was suspended.

"Again she walked out of the courtroom a free woman," he said. "Free to do what she wanted. After all there have been no consequences for her actions nor has she been held accountable. And while she is out walking free every night Trooper Cameron Ponder is lying in his grave."

Sheriff Burnam said we all know what the problem is, but wonders if there is a solution.

"I don't know that there is a "the solution" that can be implanted overnight. But I do believe there is "a solution" that can get us going in a positive direction."

That's when he proposed what he called "Cameron's Law", a law that would hold people accountable for their actions in a more appropriate sense.

"What if we had a law, a simple law, lets call it "Cameron's Law", written in a way that could not be interpreted in any other way but to hold people accountable that simply stated that anyone granted probation and violates any terms or conditions of that probation technical or otherwise shall serve out the imposed or agreed sentence," he said. "Make that mandatory and take away the discretion of the courts."

Burnam urged those in attendance to contact state and federal lawmakers, demanding that they address the issue with the courts.

"Remember they work for us. Just as I work for you."

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