Lawmaker pushes to split highway and water patrol divisions
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri legislator has filed a bill to reverse the 2011 merger of the state's water patrol division and the Highway Patrol.
State Rep. Diane Franklin argues that separating the two divisions would restore the public's trust in the water patrol and improve public safety on Missouri waterways.
The Kansas City Star reports that the announcement comes two weeks after a patrol trooper was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the May 2014 drowning death of Brandon Ellingson. The Iowan was handcuffed when he fell from a patrol boat into the Lake of the Ozarks.
The patrol's marine operations have been under scrutiny since Ellingson's death. A special House committee released a report last January calling on the state to correct flaws created by the merger.
A patrol spokesman said the department doesn't comment on proposed legislation.