Editor's note: Reporter Olivia Ingle is participating in the Missouri State Highway Patrol's six-week Community Alliance Program. The program helps inform people of the functions of the Highway Patrol.
The highlight of Thursday's Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Community Alliance course wasn't the handful of troopers who presented, it was Rocky, the 5-year-old Troop F canine.
Rocky and his handler, Cpl. Matt Morice, are on call 24/7 for MSHP. The German shepherd's main function is to uncover drugs and to track humans.
"Tracking is by far the hardest thing we do," Morice said. "Mainly because we don't know where that dog is going."
Another highlight of Thursday's course was the Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) presentation, which included tools used by the division.
Cpl. Scott Ballard, a member of the S.W.A.T. team, said some of the tools include a Kevlar helmet, goggles, a Glock/pistol, gloves, entry vest, all-weather boots and an M-4 rifle.
He said the team steps in in hostage situations, barricades, high-risk warrants, dignitary protection, manhunts and riots, or crowd control.
"We generally come in when there's more high-risk and more dangerous situations," Ballard said.
Cpl. John Sellers presented the Water Patrol Division to the Community Alliance attendees.
The division of MSHP used to be a separate entity, the Missouri State Water Patrol, before it merged with MSHP in January 2011.
Water Patrol patrols Missouri's lakes and rivers, writing tickets for similar things a road trooper would, such as leaving the scene of an
accident or driving while intoxicated.
Sellers said the division also has a dive team and regulates and patrols all water events.
Sgt. Mike Hargus and Trooper Dustin Metzner explained the aircraft division of MSHP, which has six pilots stationed in Jefferson City and six other pilots stationed statewide.
The pilots provide transport for dignitaries and staff, enforce speeds on Missouri highways and conduct search and rescues.
They also now have the capability of fighting fires.
A tool, called a Bambi Bucket, can be carried beneath a helicopter and filled with 140 gallons of water. The pilots can then fly over a fire and work to extinguish the blaze.