JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Highway Patrol started its Community Alliance Program Thursday. The program will give 20 people the opportunity to have personal interactions with troopers and hands-on experience into what goes into their job.
Sergeant Scott White said the purpose of the Community Alliance Program is for people to learn about the role Highway Patrol troopers play in the state of Missouri. The first session is about the history of the Highway Patrol. The sessions will also cover traffic stops, firearms, marine operations, policies and procedures. Participants also get to use a simulator, and they will have to determine how to react in various scenarios.
“Whether it’s shoot or don’t shoot or do I continue talking to this person,” White said. “And the reason we allow the public to go through stuff like that is because those are real things that officers encounter day in and day out.”
White said people attend the class for different reasons.
“Whatever the reason, by the end of the program, by the end of those six weeks, I think they have a newfound respect for law enforcement to the decision making that goes into day in and day out activities,” White said. “But also our training and our policies and procedures when it comes to being in law enforcement in 2017.”
Scott said people often question the decisions that law enforcement officers make.
“This community alliance program gives them a behind the scenes look on why law enforcement makes the decisions that they do, how difficult it can be and the training that goes into that process to make sure that an officer does make the correct decision,” White said.
One participant Caryn Giarratano said she is ready for the program.
"I understand we get to ride in a car that goes really fast. I like to go fast," Giarratano said. "We get to go to the gun range and I like doing that. I think that would be fun. Whatever they have to show me and teach me, I'm all ready. I'm in."
Another participant Brad Peters said he wants to get a better idea of the patrol in the community.
Missouri State Highway Patrol will have a Student Alliance Program for high school juniors and seniors in spring 2018.
Scott said they used to have town hall meetings with community members, but they thought there needed to be more so they started the Community Alliance Program. They have been hosting the program for over 15 years.