By R. Scott Belzer
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Brian Maupin is one of the privileged few who can drive down any road in Rockcastle County and receive a smile, wave or similar common courtesy. He drives the roads often enough — five days a week for hours at a time — and his vehicle is easily distinguishable among others traversing the winding mountain roads.
That is because Maupin is a Kentucky State Police trooper.
Maupin, who is based out of Post 11 in London, has worked the curvy roads of Rockcastle County — where he and his family live — since February of this year.
“That’s one of the things about working for this agency: they’ll try to put you as close to home as possible,” Maupin said.
Before becoming a trooper in 2011, Maupin’s career, as a law-enforcement officer was already a decade old. He served and protected in cities and counties throughout the Commonwealth and even Ohio before donning the grey, gold and black of a Kentucky State trooper.
“I’ve seen just about anything you can think of,” Maupin said. “I’ve worked murders, rapes, domestic violence, fires — I had a vehicle pursuit about a month ago. Rockcastle County can be a little slower, but when it’s on, it’s on.”
Wednesday night proved to be quite typical for Maupin, whose shift begins at 6 p.m. and runs a couple of hours past midnight. He picked his usual parking spots to pick out local speeders, expired tags and enforce a statewide initiative for seat-belt use, all the while returning waves, nods and similar gestures of appreciation.
“Most know my name but it’s hard to remember theirs — I’m no good with names,” Maupin said.
Maupin’s night takes him through all three towns in Rockcastle County: Livingston, Mount Vernon, and Brodhead. He was quick
to mention how many changes he’s noticed in the latter — which annually hosts “The Little World’s Fair” — by the rerouting of Ky. 150 around the downtown area.
“This road used to be the main drag, but they’ve made this nice new road,” Maupin said. “And the town has just about died.”
Maupin did not expect much traffic on a Wednesday night shift due to everyone’s weekly commitment to a church.
Typically, Maupin said churchgoers tend to stay out of trouble, but there have been a few exceptions to the rule.
“You would think,” Maupin said. “But just the other day we arrested a woman at church. She got to yellin’ and hollerin’ and fighting with people when they tried to keep her quiet. But most of the people you run into are good, hardworking people; there’s only the occasional bad apple.”
Still, Maupin is careful not to waste too much time eating. He mentions how in this line of work, you never know how much time you’ll have to down whatever food you happen to come by and acts accordingly.
Maupin’s first stop of the night was a man driving a white Chevrolet Impala through downtown Brodhead. Maupin’s cruiser jolted to life in seeing the man cut across a parking lot and nearly hit an oncoming vehicle. Upon further investigation, Maupin discovered the man’s insurance was also expired.
The second stop of the night happened to be a truck filled with people.
The trooper asked the driver why he was not wearing a seat belt, to which the driver replied that he saw no point, as he was only going a short distance up the road.
Even while Maupin wrote his citation, the feeling of friendliness still permeated.
Maupin’s third stop of the night was someone the trooper knew well.
After seeing a truck’s taillights covered by what appeared to be black spray paint, Maupin’s cruiser once again jolted to life and sped down the offending vehicle.
Upon inspection, Maupin was greeted with a smile.
“I’ve just written up this guy the other day. We see him and his family quite a lot,” Maupin said. “He’s got about 14 or 15 brothers and sisters and I’ve arrested his daddy probably five or six times. It’s hard seeing them over and over again because they’re not bad people — they’re just not all there when it comes to the law.”
Maupin and the offender were on friendly enough terms to speak on a first name basis, and even let the driver use his cell phone for a ride, but that didn’t restrain the trooper from dutifully writing citations.
After writing up one more car for speeding, a torrential downpour took over Maupin’s shift, and his focus changed.
The usual hunt for speeders and expired tags turned into a pursuit of debris and anyone needing help.
On this night, however, both were minimal.
While Wednesday night did not consist of high-speed chases, wrestling with intoxicated individuals or busting a drug ring, Maupin’s night remained a dutiful night on the job.
That is because Brian Maupin is a Kentucky State Police trooper.