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Missouri 2023 Legislative Update

In this year’s session, the Missouri Legislature passed many laws relevant to law enforcement and the justice system. These laws go into effect on August 28, 2023. Officers are responsible for knowing and understanding the changes that relate to the execution of their duties.

Some of these laws relate to officer safety, well-being, and discipline. For example:

  • There are increased penalties if an officer or officer’s family member suffers bodily harm or death due to someone posting their personal information on the internet.

  • If a first responder, such as a law enforcement officer, experiences a qualifying traumatic event and suffers PTSD as a result, the first responder may be eligible for worker’s compensation.

  • An officer may be disciplined for a positive drug test, having a peace officer license suspended or revoked in another jurisdiction, or committing an act of gross misconduct.

Changes were made to the drug statutes, including ways to combat the spike in overdose deaths, especially those due to the synthetic opioid, fentanyl. For example:

  • It is now legal to manufacture, sell, possess, and use products designed to detect the presence of fentanyl (such as fentanyl test strips).

  • Any qualified first responder, including law enforcement officers, may obtain and administer not only naloxone, but also any FDA-approved drug or device that blocks the effect of an opioid overdose.

Other new laws help protect minors and crime victims. For example:

  • Within two hours of when a minor goes missing, the minor’s parents, guardians, custodial agencies, or placement providers must file a missing child complaint with law enforcement. Law enforcement must immediately submit identifying information and the last known contact with the child to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and institute a proper investigation.

  • Under certain circumstances, such as imminent danger to the child or during the course of an investigation, law enforcement officers are entitled to receive information about a minor from child care providers, Missouri’s child advocate program, and state agencies.

Other changes to the criminal code include:

  • Enhanced penalties for “porch pirates”: those who steal packages which have been delivered but not yet received, or which have been left to be collected for shipment by a common carrier.

  • A general ban on using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. Unlike the repealed law, this law applies to drivers of all ages.

Interested in learning more?

PLS offers police online self-study legal training link: on a wide variety of practical issues to help police officers make good decisions in challenging situations.

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