House committee hears Missouri State Highway Patrol merger case

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OSAGE BEACH - The Interim House Committee on the 2011 Missouri Water Patrol Division is hearing the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division's updates following 2014 recommendations.

The hearing came 18 months after the drowning of Brandon Ellingson who was handcuffed and in police custody at the time of his death.   

State Representative Diane Franklin of Camdenton said safety is her concern. "It is important for us to make sure people on the water are still safe and feeling safe," Franklin said.

Franklin said nine recommendations were given to the MSHP Water Patrol Division in 2014. There were five meetings last year where public concerns were heard. 

State Representative Rocky Miller of Lake Ozark said "The Lake of the Ozarks is out of control." 

MSHP Water Patrol said it has completed documented water training to meet the requirement of all officers on the water working self sufficiently. 

Representative Don Phillips of Kimberling City said he wants to see more personnel out on the water, with more decals to make the patrol more recognizable to those on the water. 

Representative Franklin said she wants to see more upward mobility in the career path within the MSHP Water Patrol Division. 

MSHP Water Division said it is working on developing a timetable to meeting all the recommendations, but that it is a lengthy process. 

"The merger was seen as an easy move, but we didn't look into how different it is to enforce the law on the water than on the road." Franklin said. 

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