Twists and choices in Chris Parr's career path have taken the Missouri Highway Patrol employee to unexpected places.
Parr — born out of state, raised in Eldon and now living in Jefferson City — went to college for an education degree, but as he was finishing his studies, he realized classroom teaching was probably not for him.
Having worked in radio on and off since he was a teenager, Parr got a job at a radio station's news department in Springfield, which exposed him to the work of emergency services.
That was the beginning of what led Parr to what he's done since 2016 — work as a program manager in the Highway Patrol's Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
Parr manages a group of seven trainers who provide certification training for access to the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System, or MULES.
The group certifies officers to access information in the database such as whether a person has a warrant or has been reported missing, or whether a vehicle is stolen — the type of information that shows up on dashboards in officers' vehicles.
Law enforcement officers need certification to access MULES because the database also connects into the federally maintained National Crime Information Center.
Parr noted the division he works in also is a repository for fingerprint records and other biometric data.
As well as managing the trainers, he handles the technical aspects of maintaining databases and policies involved with information access.
He used to be a trainer on the same system since 2010, and before that, he was a Highway Patrol dispatcher since 2003.
Parr said he went to the Highway Patrol from several years of radio broadcasting after he answered an ad from Troop F looking for radio operators. He met the requirements, he was looking to make more money and the position let him serve in law enforcement without being an officer.
Being a trooper is something he has considered, but he said he's realized he's "probably not the right type of person to do that job."
Parr has been selected to be in this fall's class of the Missouri Leadership Academy — a program for state workers that develops leaders in the state's 16 executive departments and something he's honored to be part of.
Outside of work, he's a drummer involved in the Mid-Missouri music scene, playing with The Megan Boyer Band and The Harms Brothers and previously with the Late Night Benedictions.
He and his wife, Katy, recently hosted an international exchange student from France, and once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, their intent is to go visit him and his family. The couple has also been to Germany, Austria and Italy together.
He said they also love northern California: "We're both kind of interested in wine, and so we love — our favorite spot is Sonoma, but really anywhere where there are wineries and sun, we like to go."
They also have three cats.