Governor Nixon promises nearly three million dollars a year in savings as he signs into law a bill combining the State Water Patrol with the State Highway Patrol.
Nixon has held a signing ceremony of HB 1868 at the Lake of the Ozarks this morning.
Nixon says the merging of the two law enforcement agencies will be seamless. The Water Patrol is much smaller than the Highway Patrol, with 90 officers. The Highway Patrol has more than 1,000 troopers and officers.
The merger takes effect January 1, 2011. On that date, the State Water Patrol will no longer be a separate independent agency, but will become the Division of the Water Patrol within the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Both will be under the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Administrative savings have been estimated at $2.8 million. No officers will be laid off.
The State Water Patrol was created in 1959 as the Missouri Boat Commission. Its name changed to the Division of Water Safety in 1974, finally becoming the Missouri State Water Patrol in 1989.
AUDIO: Gov Nixon news conference at Lake of the Ozarks [10 min MP3]