It is dark outside when we arrive to the scene of a domestic call. A male is outside the residence applying pressure to his neck that appears to be bleeding. A woman immediately comes outside yelling at my partner and I to leave the property at once. She is waving a knife. We attempt to talk her down. She is non-compliant. She continues to yell and reaches for her back pocket. Is she reaching for a gun? Is she reaching for a cigarette? How do you know? As she whips the object around for our visibility, my finger is on the trigger of my Glock 22 ready to return fire if it comes to that point. The object? A flask the suspect immediately begins to take a pull from. My gun is lowered and the simulation is over.
This simulation was one part of the 10-week Community Alliance Program 19 Troop B area residents just completed.
"The Community Alliance Program is a unique opportunity for citizens to gain insight and understanding of the training and many duties of the Missouri State Highway Patrol," said Sergeant Brent Bernhardt. "It also offers an opportunity to meet and interact with several members and employees of the Patrol."
Each week participants learned a new aspect of the Missouri State Highway Patrol—firearms, traffic stops, traffic crashes, criminal investigations, polygraph examinations. Each class lead up to a ride along with a Highway Patrolman. And I believe every participant can agree on one thing—10 weeks seemed like a long time when going into the program, but was not enough once the program was nearing completion.
"The program is not about recruiting," said Bernhardt. "But about creating ambassadors for the Highway Patrol."
This was the ninth Community Alliance Program conducted in Troop B. Names of participants are above.