New program offers more patrols, safer highways
By KIMBERLY LONG
The Fulton Sun
Motorists beware - big brother has a new set of eyes on the roadway.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol has launched a new pilot program that it says will improve the safety of Missouri roads and also increase officer presence.
For years, MSHP has operated a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division that was conducted by non-commissioned officers, who focused primarily on big rigs and tractor trailers.
Under the new plan, these officers now will have the authority to stop any type of vehicle in violation.
“What we've done is found a way to further enhance what the highway patrol is already doing,” MSHP Capt. Londell Jamerson told The Fulton Sun on Friday.
The program, he said, is the result of a 2006 legislative action that transferred 20 full-time positions from vacancies within the CVET division and reassigned them as sworn troopers.
In making this minor adjustment, Jamerson noted, the patrol now has the opportunity to expand their presence on the roadways, improve CVET capabilities, plus further engage in homeland security activities.
While CVET personnel generally monitor commercial vehicles and enforce safety laws regulating the movement of special hazardous mobile equipment, the unit also assists Major Crash Investigation Teams in traffic crashes involving school buses and passenger-carrying motor coaches.
Motorists traveling through Auxvasse and Kingdom City may recall seeing the CVET units parked along Highway 54 in white, cargo-like vans - but that too will change, Jamerson said.
One of the perks of the program, he noted, are the new fully marked, two-wheel drive Chevrolet Tahoe patrol SUVs the units will be driving.
“They're not only bigger, they're pursuit-ready and equipped with everything the officers need to do their job,” Jamerson said. “This includes equipment to do truck inspections, address weight or safety issues and assist in crash reconstructions.”
Michigan and New York City have already added the new Tahoes to their units, he said.
Missouri's new pilot program consists of eight troopers divided into two teams - one in the Troop D Springfield area and the other in the Troop F Jefferson City vicinity, which includes the Interstate 70 corridor and Callaway County.
Tentative plans, Jamerson said, include adding 12 additional members by the fall.