(St. Joseph, Mo.)- It has happened to many of people. They see those flashing lights pop up behind them and get pulled over.
People probably think the Missouri State Highway Patrol just likes to give tickets or to make money out of them, but it couldn't be further from the truth.
"We do not receive money from tickets issued. We're funded from the Highway Traffic Safety Fund in the state of Missouri. They go to the community, the courts, the schools. We try to be proactive. That's why we were formed in 1931 to enforce the highways in the state of Missouri," MSHP Sgt. Corey Root said.
Sgt. Root told the class that each traffic stop is different and present its own dangers. He said you must always maintain control and think of your safety, every time.
"We formulate a plan every traffic stop and you got to stick to that plan," Root said. "Taking control, that's where we need to make sure that people know that we are in charge of the traffic stop and not them."
Next, people met with the Patrol's Troop A S.W.A.T Team unit from Lee's Summit. This elite team is trained to help levitate the worst and sometimes most dangerous situations, such as a hostage takeover. This team always carries the most up to date equipment needed to get the job done. We had a chance to give them a try. We even got to take a look into their state of the art S.W.A.T. tanker.
After that people met with troopers who specialize in DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) detection. Corporal Jason Cross and his family were almost killed in a drinking & driving related crash when he was a teenager. It's been his goal to make sure no family has to go through that experience.
"It's a very serious crime. It can really ruin people's lives," Cpl. Cross said.
In Missouri, the limit is 0.08 or more, but Cross said don't focus on that number alone.
"It's actually based upon your intoxication levels. So someone may have a blood alcohol content level of a 0.05 but is not able to function properly, they can still be charged with a DWI," Cpl. Cross said. "Be cautious while driving. Know there's intoxicated drivers out there at all times and be vigilant."
People ended this week's session with remembering the 21 state troopers who did pay the ultimate price while serving and protecting us while out on the roads. This week was certainly a reminder that these brave men and women do have a dangerous job and do put their lives at risk out there every day.
You won't want to miss Part 3 of Vanessa's series next week. She and the team will be heading out to the patrol's shooting range and meets up with the troop's investigation & polygraph test team.