New bill could increase police presence in Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri House bill could make it easier for military personnel to transition into police officers is making headway through the Missouri General assembly.

The bill, proposed in early January, requires Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, or POST, to "implement a system that gives members of the National Guard and active duty or reserve members of the Armed Forces credit for completing basic training when applying for peace officer licensure."

This point system will be paired with a minimized training program for military members, which will expedite the process in giving them police licensing.

Members of the military will receive advanced credit when applying to become an officer through POST, and will quickly receive the extra training required to become civilian police officers.

According to Representative Cheri Reisch, R - Hallsville, who originally sponsored the bill, the condensed training program could take anywhere from one-to-two weeks to complete.

The purpose of the bill is to potentially relieve communities in Missouri with police departments staff shortages, and give some veterans job security upon returning home from duty.

Public opinion of the bill has been overall supportive. Critics of the bill, however; comment on individualized training a police officer would have over a member of the military, such as with stun or radar guns.