Mo. Highway Patrol adding troopers to improve school security -

Mo. Highway Patrol adding troopers to improve school security

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2 Missouri Highway Patrol officers at a school. Credit: KMOV 2 Missouri Highway Patrol officers at a school. Credit: KMOV

Missouri Highway Patrol troopers are using more downtime as volunteer time.

This month, Troop C will be contacting schools to see if they want to opt into a school walk-through initiative. If a district opts in, troopers will stop by schools at random during their shifts to walk the hallways, greet and interact with students and staff, and be there in case an emergency happens.

This initiative does not replace or kick out school resource officer programs that are already in place. It simply adds to school's security and the troopers are helping out as a volunteer. This initiative does not cost schools or patrol anything.

"It's just trooper's out doing their job and randomly coming through the school," said Capt. John Hotz, with Missouri Highway Patrol.

Capt. Hotz says this is not a new coWalkthroughshroughs have been in place in other parts of Missouri for the last three years, but this is the first time it's happening in Eastern Missouri. Troop C adopted the initiative after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

"Anything we can do to potentially make our schools safer, that's our goal," said Hotz.

Troop C is starting in rural districts, like Potosi R-III, where there are less school resource officers and law enforcement. Eventually, they will make their way to bigger districts closer to the Metro area.

"We're looking forward to this," said Shawn McCue, the superintendent of Potosi R-III school district.

He says they already have a SRO program, but welcome the additional security and a chance to get to know law enforcement better.

"They're in our communities, they do great stuff for us, and we want to instill that in our children all the way up from kindergarten to high school," said McCue. 

While roaming the halls, state troopers will learn the lay out of the schools, get to know students by name, and build relationships. 

The Missouri Highway Patrol hopes a strong bond will make students and staff more open to sharing concerns with troopers.

"If something is going on that they don't think is right, they'll feel comfortable coming up to that trooper," said Capt. Hotz.

School district can opt out from this program. 

Troop C covers zones and, ultimately, school districts from Bowling Green to Perryville. 

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