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Missouri lawmaker files bill to re-establish Water Patrol

A Missouri lawmaker Monday filed a bill to reverse the 2011 Water Patrol Merger with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

State Representative Diane Franklin of Camdenton said House Bill 1960 would remove the Water Patrol Division from the Highway Patrol and establish it under the Department of Public Safety.

Franklin said the bill would allow the Water Patrol to be more devoted to law enforcement on the water, including better training and more resources on the state’s marine areas.

HB 1960 would relieve the Highway Patrol from its administrative functions over the Water Patrol.

Franklin said the “separation is about restoring the public’s trust and bolstering public safety on waterways.”

The Highway Patrol faced scrutiny from the public and from at least one of its own after a 20-year-old man drowned while in Highway Patrol custody at the Lake of the Ozarks in May 2014.

Several hearings were held regarding the Highway Patrol-Water Patrol merger over the past year, where the lack of water training was touched upon.

The Highway Patrol trooper who arrested Brandon Ellingson for BWI that day in 2014 was charged in the case last month.

You can read the bill in its entirety here.

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