Commercial Vehicle Enforcement trooper enjoys interaction with truckers

Safety is the main focus, says Sgt. Mike Fennewald

Jim Cunningham
April 23, 2018 - 6:59 am

It is not uncommon to see a big truck pulled over on the shoulder of the highway with a trooper's vehicle right behind it. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit is tasked with keeping an eye on all big vehicle traffic in the state.

It's not a job for which many state troopers want to sign up, but Sgt. Mike Fennewald likes trucks. A state trooper since, 2002, he took KMBZ reporter Jim Cunningham on a ridealong.

"January, 2007 I started in Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Troop A," Fennewald said. "I've been in that ever since then."

The CVEU handles everything commercial, whether it is towing or hauling. On his first traffic stop with Jim on I-435, Fennewald spotted a pickup truck pulling a trailer that had no license plate. After collecting the driver's information, an inspection revealed more.

"I checked his brakes and stuff, he's got an electric braking system on the trailer," Fennewald said. "They weren't working properly, so he's going to be placed out of service for the day."

The stop and inspection lasted about 30 minutes. 

Since there are so many federal regulations regarding commercial vehicles, members of the CVEU receive more specialized training than other troopers, Fennewald said. The compliance troopers don't want to be known for hassling truckers, but for working to make roadways safer.

"That's their livelihood, driving that truck," Fennewald said. "We try to work with them to get compliant, and that's our main focus."

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