(St. Joseph, Mo.)-It may look like at first a usual traffic stop for a Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper. The trooper is simply pulling someone over for speeding on I-29. The driver is asked to give his driver's license and registration. Him and his passenger seem to be a bit odd and the trooper is trying to read the situation quickly, when suddenly a big argument occurs and gun shots go off.
No worries. This was just a stimulated traffic stop. This is the big event for the Troop H's Community Alliance Program. It may be just make believe here but unfortunately, this is the reality these troopers may have to face while they are out on the road.
"Some of these stops don't happen on a daily basis type thing but they do happen and occur," said Sgt. Corey Root of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Every participant had a different case scenario, ranging from intoxication to confrontation. It was all to see how we would have handled the situation if this was the real deal. Some were right on target in their traffic stop and got out of it alive. Some weren't so lucky or found out they were way too deep into the situation way too late.
"We put you in a situation that you are probably not going to win," said Sgt. Travis Williams of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. "Especially without the proper training, you get a brief synopsis of what we are doing and no formal training. It's kind of difficult to go through it."
One by one we all watched and cheered on each participant. I was the last one in line to play the part. I will admit i was nervous deep down inside after every scenario, wondering what the "bad guys" would have up their sleeves. I just had to remember to remain in control and have a plan for both the easy or hard way out.
Here's how it went down for me. I stopped the driver for speeding. As I was examining the car with my flashlight, I noticed that they had guns on the floor on the passenger side so I knew from the get go my safety was at risk. I had to take control of the situation and fast before they could try and shoot me.
"You sensed something was wrong, you drew your gun and took control of the situation. That was good," said Sgt. Jake Angle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Once it was all said and done and we were all back into our regular everyday roles. The troopers overall were very impressed with how this class did.
"Everyone started with good intentions. There were things we saw people did right. There were people who came up there confidently," Sgt. Root said.
"Everyone did pretty well. We want to see these instincts. Instincts usually take over and for most people it did," Sgt. Williams said.
Next week on the final part of her series, Vanessa and the team graduates from the program. You'll also get to hear from a few participants about what they took away from the experience.