JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – The Memorial Day weekend drowning death of a handcuffed Iowa man is prompting a series of legislative hearings on the Missouri State Highway Patrol – Water Patrol. The first is set for today in Jefferson City.

Rep. Diane Franklin, who is chairing the three hearings, says she wants to know if the Water Patrol’s 2011 merger with the Missouri State Highway Patrol has contributed to a lack of experience and other problems on the state’s waterways.

During a coroner’s inquest into Brandon Ellingson’s death, the arresting trooper testified that as a highway patrolman, he was not properly trained to work on the water before his holiday weekend assignment.

It was determined, that among other mistakes, Anthony Piercy used the wrong type of life jacket on Ellingson, and he put it on after handcuffing him.

Franklin also wants to know if the merger is delivering the $3 million a year in savings that were promised.

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