Troopers Pull Double Duty
A program made possible by the Missouri legislature and designed by the Missouri Highway Patrol has some officers on double duty. The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Troopers Pilot Program, or C-Vet, sent its first students out on the roads Monday.
After six weeks of high stress, specialized training, four officers from Troop F that serves the Jefferson City area and four from Troop D which serves the Springfield area, will be able to crack down on commercial vehicles. And they'll do so in style.
Sergeant Roger Shikles is tracking speeding trucks in his new Chevy Tahoe. Six weeks ago Shikles could pull a vehicle over for a moving violation like speeding, but then he was stuck.
"We could stop them, give them the ticket for the moving violation but did not have the authority to inspect the truck and driver," Shikles said.
Under the C-Vet pilot program, Shikles has been trained to inspect commercial vehicles for everything from overworked drivers to drug trafficking.
"We've got a lot of it going up and down our highways right now. That's going to be one of our primary missions, drug intervention, along with homeland security," Shikles explained.
The new fleet of Tahoes allow the officers to inspect cars and trucks. It also allows them to hold equipment in the back, such as a 'creeper' which helps the officers to get under the truck to inspect the brakes and the frame.
Making sure larger vehicles abide by the law is a serious concern for every trooper.
"There's a greater chance if there's an accident for greater injury or death, so anything we can do to mitigate that is good," said Lt. Vernon Dougan of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Shikles says the C-Vet troopers will continue training so they can respond to homeland security issues. The training will also increase the range of vehicles they can inspect. Twelve more troopers are expected to undergo training this fall.