Missouri troopers step up truck enforcement

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The Missouri Highway Patrol has a new commercial enforcement program with eight full-time troopers and another 12 possible in the fall. Col. James Keathley, patrol superintendent, said the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Troopers Pilot Program will improve truck enforcement and homeland security.

In 2006, the State Legislature transferred 20 vacant full-time positions from the state Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and reassigned them as sworn troopers.

The initial program consists of eight troopers divided into two teams, each team including a sergeant, corporal and two troopers. One team will work the Springfield area, which includes the Interstate 44 corridor, and the other will cover the Jefferson City area, which includes the Interstate 70 corridor. An additional 12 troopers may be assigned to such units in the fall.

These specially assigned troopers will retain all the normal duties of a state trooper, as well as commercial vehicle enforcement. They also will assist the Major Crash Investigation Units in investigating wrecks involving commercial vehicles, including motor coaches and school buses. They also will be trained to inspect for radioactive shipments using specialized equipment.

The troopers will drive fully marked Chevrolet Tahoe police SUVs. Their daily attire will be blue military-style field uniforms with patrol shoulder patches.