Missouri Highway Patrol

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has put out a call for trooper applicants, while it acknowledges it has struggled to attract minority recruits. The agency's 99th recruit class graduated in December.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Public Safety, Flickr

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is trying some new tactics to attract more minority candidates as it opens the application process for its next recruit class.

Ray Howze / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle will retire on May 1, Gov. Jay Nixon announced  Wednesday.

The news came hours before the state legislature began its probe into the governor's handling of the unrest in Ferguson. The grand jury's decision not to indict former Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown touched off a violent night of rioting in Ferguson on Nov. 24.

But Nixon said the timing of the announcement and the hearing were not related.

From a march in Ferguson on Aug. 15
Durrie Bouscaren I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge in St. Louis has ruled that police in Ferguson cannot enforce what became known as the "five-second rule."  

The rule was a crowd-control strategy to respond to violence in Ferguson developed by the St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, along with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Officers had noticed that whenever marchers paused, crowds would spread into the streets, blocking vehicle and foot traffic.

Stephanie Lecci

A federal judge in St. Louis said Monday she will rule "as soon as possible" on whether it was constitutional for police officers to prevent protesters in Ferguson from stopping and lingering on public sidewalks in August.  

Judge Catherine Perry heard more than seven hours of testimony Monday in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri against the St. Louis County Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After protests in Ferguson flared up overnight, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson says he’s ready to use the riot gear that became a staple of the August demonstrations over Michael Brown’s death.

But Johnson said he’s not willing to place automatically a larger police presence on West Florissant Avenue, adding that he’s monitoring the situation on a “day-by-day” basis.

Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Councilman Steve Stenger says St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley should have taken the county into a state of emergency at beginning of the unrest in Ferguson. 

Stenger, the Democratic nominee for county executive, said that move would have allowed Dooley to temporarily take control of the St. Louis County Police Department – which he said could have avoided a “leadership vacuum” throughout August.

(Willis Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio)

The sound of honking horns became a symbol Thursday night along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson.

It was the first night since Saturday -- the day Michael Brown was shot to death by a Ferguson police officer -- that traffic had been allowed to move freely along one of the main commercial strips in Ferguson. There was no line of police in riot gear and armored vehicles facing off against a crowd. The few officers spotted were in regular uniforms. The atmosphere felt more like a party than a protest.

(Credit: Flickr/Brad Tutterow)

The St. Patrick's Day Parade marked the first time the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department relied on a single, statewide radio network to communicate with each other. And, according to all parties, the experience was a success.

(via Flickr/DeusXFlorida)

Updated September 3 with arrest data.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police say 47 bikers were arrested over the four-day ride, most for reckless driving and other traffic charges. Fifty-eight motorcycles were towed. The busiest day was August 29, when 23 bikers were arrested and 24 motorcycles towed. There were no arrests or bikes towed on August 31.

Our original story:

More than 3,000 street bikes are expected to descend on the St. Louis region this weekend as part of the annual Streetfighterz Ride of the Century.

(via Flickr/Be.Futureproof)

It was a deadly holiday weekend for motorists in Missouri.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 17 people were killed between 6 p.m. Wednesday and just before midnight today. An additional 157 people were injured, and state troopers arrested nearly 200 people in for driving while intoxicated. 

Both those numbers are significantly higher than last year's totals, but troopers only tallied 30 hours worth of data last year. This year's count was nearly three times as long.

(Courtesy Hawker Beechcraft)

A state audit released today sharply criticizes the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) for spending $5.6 million on a new airplane.

According to the audit, the state of Missouri operated 23 aircraft prior to the purchase of the King Air 250.  State Auditor Tom Schweich (R) says that included five passenger airplanes. 

"There were 113 days in which none of the five existing planes flew, and there were no days in which all five of them flew," Schweich said.  "So that leads to the question about why do you need to spend $5.6 million on a new plane?"

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate turned their attention today Thursday to the Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety as they continue to question why the state’s list of conceal-carry weapons holders was given to the federal government.

Colonel Ron Replogle testified that the Patrol received a request for the list in November of 2011 from the Social Security Administration, which was conducting a fraud investigation.

“And our employees felt this was a legitimate criminal investigation, so therefore they released the information," Replogle said.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Last updated at 11:57 a.m. 2/22. Will be updated as more information becomes available.

Quick links: 

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers in the Missouri House and Senate continue to grill members of Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) administration as to why it was necessary to spend $5.6 million on a new airplane.

Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol told Senate budget writers on Wednesday that he made the call to buy the King Air 250.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri senators have confirmed Gov. Jay Nixon's appointee to a key administrative post, despite concerns about his role in approving the purchase of a new $5.6 million airplane.

The Senate on Monday signed off on the appointment of Doug Nelson as Commissioner of Administration.

Nelson had been scheduled for confirmation last week. But that was delayed after lawmakers learned Nelson — as Acting Administration Commissioner — had approved the purchase of the plane by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is defending the agency’s purchase of a new airplane.

Colonel Ron Replogle told House budget writers that it was his idea to buy the $5.6 million aircraft.  More than one committee member asked him about the quick timetable on the plane’s purchase, as the bid went out around December 6th and was awarded on the 17th.  Replogle says Beechcraft was offering a discount on that particular King Air 250 because it was a year-old model.

(Courtesy Hawker Beechcraft)

Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) choice to head up his Office of Administration will have to wait a bit longer before permanently taking over.

Acting Commissioner Doug Nelson’s confirmation is being delayed in the Missouri Senate after news broke that the State Highway Patrol spent around $5.6 million on a new airplane, which has been designated for use by the Governor and other statewide officials.  State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia), who sponsored Nelson’s nomination, first wants to know who made the decision to buy the plane, and why.

(Courtesy Hawker Beechcraft)

Updated at 7:07 p.m. with comments from State Sen. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City).

(via Flickr/ohhhbetty)

Two people were killed and another 91 injured on Missouri’s roads during the Christmas holiday.

The state Highway Patrol investigated 239 crashes between December 21st and Christmas Day, and arrested 130 people for driving while intoxicated. During the Christmas holiday last year, five people were killed and 67 injured, and state police arrested 56 for DWI.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A special committee of transportation officials is still reviewing the amount of money MoDOT workers and State Troopers pay for health insurance.

Most of the committee members are leaning towards a proposal from the Highway Patrol, which would have the state pay 60 percent of the cost and the individual employee or retiree 40 percent.  Rudy Farber is chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.  He says under the current system, the amount of coverage a worker pays varies based on numerous factors.

Mo. Dept. of Public Safety

An instructor with the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s training academy has filed a lawsuit accusing the law enforcement agency of violating its pay plan.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Mo. traffic fatalities continue climbing

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says traffic deaths are taking a troubling turn upward this year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says through Sept. 4, 554 people had died on Missouri roads, compared to 498 over the same period in 2011. Fatalities in 2011 reached their lowest total since the 1940s.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri transportation officials are considering a proposal to restructure how much MoDOT workers and State Troopers pay for their life and health insurance.

Currently, the cost percentage varies, based on several individual factors.  Rudolph Farber chairs the state Highways and Transportation Commission.  He says the proposal they’re considering would have all employees pay the same percentage.

(via Flickr/Viernest)

Troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Illinois State Police are urging motorists to keep their eyes on the road this holiday week.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Traffic fatalities spike in Mo. after six years of decline

Traffic fatalities in Missouri climbed nearly 20 percent through the first six months of this year, the first increase after six years of decline.

The state recorded 375 deaths this year, compared to 313 in 2011. The biggest increases came in southern and central Missouri, while the St. Louis area saw a small drop in fatal accidents.

(Bill Raack/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Highway Patrol and the Illinois State Police are urging drivers to slow down, buckle up and eliminate possible distractions in their cars as they return home from the Memorial Day weekend.

"Inattentive driving is a big problem. We see not only texting on cell phones; we also see reading books and newspapers, putting on makeup, eating full meals in cars," said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

(via Flickr/MrJasonWeaver)

A proposed compromise to expand Missouri's texting-while-driving law appears to have fallen flat in a Senate committee.

The Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill by that would prohibit all drivers - not just those 21 and younger - from texting while driving. Because similar bills have failed in the past, Democratic Sen. Robin Wright-Jones of St. Louis proposed making texting a secondary offense - meaning police would have to pull motorists over for something else before they could write a ticket for texting.

(Missouri Department of Transportation/Facebook)

Snow makes morning drive difficult

The Missouri Department of Transportation says as the snow continues to blow, the conditions on the roads continue to deteriorate.

Kara Price with MoDOT, says interstates are partly to mostly covered throughout the region and snow bursts are making it difficult for drivers to see.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory in effect until six 'clock this evening.

Missouri Highway Patrol helicopter low on fuel when it crashed last year

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Fatalities and drunken driving arrests were up this Christmas season, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

From 6 p.m. Friday until just before midnight on Sunday, state troopers investigated 213 crashes, which included two of the three fatalities and 67 injuries. Fifty-six people were arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Last year, troopers investigated 487 crashes, including one of two fatalities and 122 injuries, and arrested 51 people for impaired driving.

This year's fatalities were:

Bill Greenblatt | UPI | 2011

Cards win Game 6 at Busch

The St. Louis Cardinals twice were down to their final strike but rallied to beat the Texas Rangers 10-9 on an 11th inning homer by David Freese. That ended a four-hour, 33-minute classic Game 6 that began with a rash of errors but will be remembered as the game in which the Cardinals refused to go away.

As a result of Freese's heroics, the baseball season will go to a Game 7 tonight. It's the first time since 2002 that the World Series will go the distance, ending the longest gap in baseball history.

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