Building on Our Team's 2022 Accomplishments in 2023
Missouri DPS: Committed to Strengthening Public Safety in 2023
- Financial assistance to attract Missourians to law enforcement careers
On Oct. 28, 2022, Governor Parson announced the launch of the $1 million Missouri Blue Scholarship fund to help attract more Missourians to law enforcement careers and address officer shortages in law enforcement agencies across Missouri. Through Feb. 3, 2023, DPS’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program had approved 217 Missouri Blue Scholarships. The maximum scholarship is $5,000. The Governor highlighted scholarship recipients Rachel Kelley and Samuel Altom in his Jan. 18, 2023 State of the State address.
- Assisting hundreds of victims of the Amtrak derailment in Mendon, Missouri
When an Amtrak train derailed in rural Chariton County, killing four people, almost 300 passengers and crew were trapped inside the train cars, which were turned on their side. The Missouri State Highway Patrol and State Emergency Management Agency responded and helped injured and traumatized victims evacuate the train and get needed assistance. Most of the passengers were not from Missouri, so SEMA worked with voluntary partners to assist stranded passengers, including at a family assistance center. MSHP Sgt. Timmy Shoop and SEMA State Voluntary Agency Liaison Melissa Friel were named State Team Members of the Month for their outstanding work.
- Highway Patrol wins state’s innovation award for faster, targeted alerts
In June, Governor Parson awarded the Missouri State Highway Patrol the Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity in the Innovation category for a streamlined, targeted system of sending alerts during emergencies. The Patrol’s enhanced MoAlerts system has dramatically improved the speed and effectiveness of wireless alerts. The time to send AMBER Alerts and Blue Alerts (for law enforcement officers) has been cut from up to 30 minutes to as little as two minutes. The improved system also allows Missourians to click on a link and receive full updated information about the alert. Alerts can be targeted to limited geographic areas, reducing alerting fatigue among the public. These technological improvements were completed entirely in-house.
- DPS launches Critical Incident Stress Management training for first responders
DPS launched a free Critical Incident Stress Management peer-support training program open to any first responder – law enforcement, fire service, EMS and dispatch personnel – in the state. The regional training is designed to assist individuals experiencing stress or trauma related to their first responder duties, help agencies build critical incident support teams, and strengthen supportive environments within responder agencies.
- Highway Patrol introduces accelerated training academy to recruit experienced officers
In 2022, the Patrol completed its first-ever accelerated training academy class for recruits with previous law enforcement experience. To attract more troopers in a highly competitive recruitment environment, the Patrol studied how to reduce its 25-week training academy curriculum to 15 weeks. This required maintaining the Patrol rigorous training standards as well as meeting the scheduling and logistical challenges of beginning the accelerated class concurrent with a regular recruit class. The first accelerated class graduated with 10 new troopers on April 29, 2022.
- Assigning 50,000th radio on Missouri’s interoperable public safety radio network
In October, DPS assigned 20 mobile and portable radio IDs in MOSWIN to the Moniteau County Sheriff’s Office, including the 50,000th radio ID for the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network. MOSWIN is a network of communications towers, base stations, mobile and portable radios and communications software that allows public safety agencies across the state to readily communicate during emergencies. Building out the MOSWIN infrastructure and linking more agencies is one of Missouri’s continuing homeland security priorities because it means more responsive and efficient communications.
- DPS Grants team administers over $200 million in grants to enhance public safety
DPS’s Grants Section has 13 full-time members yet they managed to redesign and dramatically increase efficiencies to administer over 40 grants that send over $200 million to recipients for boosting rural deputy sheriffs’ pay, supporting regional drug interdiction task forces, providing critical incident stress management training for first responders, terrorism preparedness and prevention, and more. This does not include new American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grants that the team now administers. More than 80 percent of grant dollars go to local recipients.
- SEMA support for Missourians in St. Louis area following record flooding
Following torrential rains and record flooding in the St. Louis area in July, the State Emergency Management Agency coordinated with voluntary and community organizations active in disasters to quickly organize Multi-Agency Resource Centers to bring vital recovery resources to thousands of people impacted by flooding. Over eight days the MARCs – one-stop-shops for assistance – served an unprecedented 7,479 people in over 2,700 households. SEMA worked with FEMA to obtain a federal disaster declaration that supplied over $44.5 million in FEMA Individual Assistance grants to over 13,600 renter and homeowner households. The National Flood Insurance Program paid policyholder over $40.1 million in claims. The U.S. Small Business Administration approved over $33.6 million in disaster loans for 1,080 homeowners, renters and businesses.
- Highway Patrol school violence hotline works to prevent schools threats
In 2022, the Highway Patrol provided over 1,000 tips about potential school safety risks to school districts across Missouri. The Patrol’s Courage2Report school violence hotline is now available online and through a mobile app. Courage2Report is staffed 24/7 so urgent threat information can quickly be delivered to school administrators and law enforcement to intervene. Staff promote Courage2Report at school conferences and events. Last year’s 1,044 tips represented a 75 percent increase compared to 2021. In addition, troopers conducted 1,192-school security “walk-throughs” in 2022.
- Coordinated investigative work after a quadruple fatal wrong-way crash
After a Jan. 3, 2022 head-on collision north of Columbia, in which an intoxicated wrong-way driver killed three innocent people, the Patrol and Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control expanded the crash investigation to determine where the 19-year-old driver had illegally purchased alcohol. The investigation showed the driver made multiple purchases at a Columbia convenience store. There was also evidence of other sales to minors in which proof of age had not been required. ATC brought nine regulatory charges against the store and sought liquor license revocation; the store later closed. MSHP Cpl. Nolan A. Bax and ATC Agent Joseph Matherne were named State Team Members of the Month for their tremendous work on the case.
- Strengthening Missouri’s AMBER Alert System to protect children
In 2022, the Highway Patrol developed and implemented a new, comprehensive training program to expand educational and networking opportunities and reach key audiences with specific training tailored to their individual roles in Missouri’s AMBER Alert System. More than 3,000 individuals received newly-created Missouri Alerts Training during the year. From Dec. 1, 2021 through Nov. 30, 2022, there were eight AMBER Alert broadcasts in Missouri and in five of those cases the AMBER Alerts led directly to the recovery of the endangered children.
- New award recognizes first responders seriously injured or killed in the line of duty
On Sept. 7, 2022, Governor Parson presented the first-ever Missouri Red, White and Blue Heart Awards to first responders killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. The Red, White and Blue Heart Award honorees were Independence Police Officer Blaize A. Madrid-Evans, St. Louis County Police Detective Antonio A. Valentine, Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Bryant E. Gladney, Springfield-Greene County Park Board Ranger Robert C. Bridges and Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Colton J. Beck. Officer Madrid-Evans, Detective Valentine and Assistant Chief Gladney were killed in the line of duty and their honors were awarded posthumously. The Governor had announced the state would begin honoring first responders with the new award on Jan. 5, 2022, saying, “our first responders courageously and selflessly risk their lives each day to apprehend criminals and protect their fellow Missourians, too often suffering serious injuries or even death because of their heroic actions.”
- Building resiliency among Highway Patrol and other first responders
In 2022, the Patrol’s DEFENSE (Defending Employees from the Effects of Negative Stressful Experiences) Program partnered with the Department of Mental Health to host three post-critical incident seminars for any Missouri first responders dealing with traumatic stress. These three-day focused therapeutic seminars assist first responders experiencing traumatic stress following officer-involved shootings or other critical incidents. Also, the Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control implemented a multi-layered mental health program to strengthen resiliency by providing preventive protocols and coping skills for investigative and civilian team members, who routinely encounter stressful events on the job. The program includes an eight-hour mental health resiliency-training program called “Show-Me Resiliency” that was completed by over 100 DDCC investigators and civilian team members. The program includes one-on-one visits with mental health professionals (as needed).
- Best in Class recognition for 6 Missouri Veterans Commission Homes
Six Missouri Veterans Commission Veterans Homes received “Best in Class” Customer Experience Awards from the Pinnacle Quality Insight for 2022. The Missouri Veterans Homes in Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Mexico, Mt. Vernon, St. James, and Warrensburg, have won this award for three consecutive years. In all seven Veterans Homes – these six and Missouri Veterans Home - St. Louis – MVC ranked highest with cleanliness, dignity and respect, and safety and security. The organization also received a 100 percent resident satisfaction rating. The Pinnacle national average is 76 percent in this category.
- SEMA leads New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake preparedness efforts
In November 2022, SEMA led a multi-day exercise focused on how to respond to a series of large New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquakes. The State Emergency Operations Center was active for three days for the exercise, which included members of Missouri Task Force 1, the state’s federal Urban Search and Rescue Team, participating in a full-scale exercise at a specialized training site in Georgia. SEMA’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team, MO DMAT-1, deployed a full team to and equipment to Georgia to participate in the specialized training.
- First state in nation to implement new crime data-sharing interface
In October 2022, Missouri became the first state in the nation to implement the new National Crime Information Center interface. The FBI’s NCIC requires that all states begin using the new web service interface to share criminal justice information at the state and local level. Since implementation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri criminal justice agencies have sent and/or received over 4.7 million transactions via this new interface.
- Planning for Missouri’s new State One Health Lab
On July 1, 2022, Department of Public Safety and Highway Patrol leaders joined Governor Parson and leaders from the departments of agriculture, conservation, natural resources and health and senior services to announce development of a new 260,000-square-foot centralized state laboratory campus. The Jefferson City facility will be known as the State One Health Lab and will provide the Patrol with expanded crime laboratory space, advanced equipment and workflow efficiencies. Patrol team members are working with the Office of Administration, architects and engineers on design, safety, chain of custody, and security requirements. The state-of-the-art lab will help attract and retain laboratory professionals. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026.
- Missouri Capitol Police prevents unstable man with assault pistol from entering Capitol
On May 10, 2022, Missouri Capitol Police Sgt. John Fisher and Officers Marcus Holmes and Anthony Bandy interceded when a man with an assault pistol attempted to enter the Capitol through a checkpoint. The man, a convicted felon, said he had an appointment to show the weapon, which was in a duffel bag, to Governor Parson. The man had also tried to enter the Capitol by following a state employee through a locked non-monitored door. When the man returned to the Capitol, the officers accompanied him to his vehicle and in addition to the assault pistol, found a large amount of ammunition and a Bowie-style knife. He was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
- Division of Fire Safety continues to create efficiencies by moving to digital forms
In 2022, the DFS team, working with the Office of Administration, developed an online system that has allowed the fireworks industry to submit permit applications and payments electronically. For the first time, DFS can now issue permits electronically. What previously took two weeks or more to accomplish with paper forms and the U.S. mail is now completed within minutes. Previously, about 1,300 fireworks permits had to be processed manually. Permits are also now immediately available to DFS inspectors in the field as they conduct inspections around the state. Time devoted to the process has been reduced by approximately 80 percent.
- Highway Patrol uses predictive analytics to reduce traffic crashes
In 2022, the Highway Patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center completed predictive analytics projects that utilized historical traffic crash data to predict future trends and/or events in specific locations. The analytics, presented in dashboard format, provide supervisors with a tool for planning special enforcement operations focused on preventable crashes, deterring DWI violations and assessing the effectiveness of previous enforcement efforts.
- Missouri Capitol Police launches program to hire officer recruits while enrolled in law enforcement academies
In August 2022, Missouri Capitol Police launched an officer recruitment program that sponsors recruits attending local law enforcement academies and pays the recruit a $36,880/year salary in return for a three-year commitment to serve with MCP. The salary increases to $44,000/year upon graduation. MCP’s first recruit in the program graduated from the University of Missouri Law Enforcement Training Institute in December 2022 with top academic honors.
- Missouri Veterans Commission recognition for excellence by U.S. Veterans Affairs
The Missouri Veterans Cemetery – Springfield received the Operational Excellence Award from the National Cemetery Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, in a presentation with Governor Parson held at the cemetery on Dec. 21, 2022. This prestigious award is presented to cemeteries that have met 100 percent of six critical priority measures, which include customer satisfaction, gravesite assessment review, and interment operations.
- Missouri Gaming Commission and Highway Patrol work in coordination to permit opening of Missouri’s first land-based casino
On Dec. 16, 2022, doors opened on Missouri first land-based casino. Century Casino in Caruthersville moved operations from a riverboat due to unprecedented low-water levels. After the Gaming Commission approved the move to an existing building, the transition had to meet all gaming regulations and security standards for cash and equipment. MGC staff and the Patrol Gaming Division worked with casino staff to verify compliance issues, maintain surveillance, counting room requirements, etc. Key to the move was anticipating logistical delays and planning to pivot to other tasks as delays arose. The move was accomplished with the casino closing for just a day and a half. Construction is underway on a permanent land-based casino.
- DPS Office of Homeland Security leads on cybersecurity and counter terrorism training
In 2022, DPS’ Office of Homeland Security conducted cybersecurity training and drills to help protect state agencies, county governments and colleges, universities and schools. OHS’ Homeland Security Counter Terrorism Officer Program presented 26 training sessions to law enforcement officers across Missouri. The advanced training program, established in 2020, focuses on counter terrorism preparedness and response, and has strengthened statewide partnerships and increased awareness and information sharing to counter evolving terrorist threats and prevent the spread of violent extremism.
- Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team maintain readiness through exercises and medical support to Veterans Homes, Missouri State Fair and special events
MO DMAT-1 maintained readiness by participating in a joint full-scale exercise with Missouri Task Force 1 at a specialized training site in Georgia, where response to a series of major earthquakes was simulated. MO DMAT-1 also provided medical support to Missouri Veterans Homes during staffing shortages and deployed to the 2022 Missouri State Fair (167 total patients assisted, 92 of whom required treatment beyond basic first aid) and Bass Pro World’s Fishing Fair, St. Louis’ Mardi Gras celebration, and large concerts featuring Kenny Chesney, Motley Crue, George Strait and Garth Brooks.
- Making major technology advances at the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
In 2022, ATC made major strides in an initiative launched in December 2021 to modernize completely the division’s Alcohol Licensing and Case Management System. Working with the Office of Administration and an enterprise software firm, ATC is building an online platform that will eliminate paper forms, manual processes and a computer system that dates to 1997. When launched in 2023, the new system will provide online access to apply for a liquor license, register brands, file excise reports, access public reports, file complaints, and more for ATC’s 17,400 licensees and other users.