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Missouri lawmakers to review the merger of state highway and water patrols

lake of the ozarks

Missouri lawmakers plan to review the effects of a 2011 merger of the state Highway and Water patrols after a man drowned this year while in trooper custody.

House Speaker Tim Jones said Tuesday a committee will study management, trooper training and whether the merger actually saved the state an expected $3 million a year.

Twenty-year-old Iowa resident Brandon Ellingson was handcuffed when he drowned May 31 in the Lake of the Ozarks. A Highway Patrol trooper had arrested Ellingson on suspicion of drunken boating and was bringing him to shore when Ellingson went over the side of the trooper's patrol boat.

Republican Rep. Rocky Miller, of Lake Ozark, says he fears the merger made it difficult for troopers who are now double-trained in highway and water patrol duties to do their jobs.

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