On that date, Lieutenant Larry W. Plunkett Jr., will be promoted to captain and designated director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division at the General Headquarters, located in Jefferson City, Mo.
Plunkett was born in Kennett in 1967 and grew up in the Friendship, Mo., community. He is the son of Larry Sr., and Linda Plunkett and one of four siblings. Plunkett is no stranger to the MSHP, his father is a retired MSHP Sergeant and a former Sheriff of Wayne County and his uncle, Carol Plunkett, who, now retired, served as a Captain over the budget for the patrol. "Basically, my first memory is my dad graduating from the Highway Patrol Academy when I was about two and a half or three years old, in 1969. I've basically wanted to be a trooper ever since." said Plunkett. He also spoke of the influence of the men that served during his father's time in the area, in the 1970's and 1980's with the MSHP Zone, such as Don Shelton, Bill Clayton, and Jim Pemberton. "All of those guys were like uncles to me," he said. His mother, Linda, is a Deputy Circuit Clerk for Dunklin County.
Plunkett, a 1985 Holcomb High School graduate, first joined the MSHP on July 1, 1989 as a member of the 61st Recruit Class, after receiving his bachelor's of science degree in criminal justice from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo., in 1988. When Plunkett graduated from the Patrol's Law Enforcement Academy, he was assigned to Troop I, Zone 4, in Pulaski County. On July 1, 1994, Plunkett was promoted to Corporal and was designated assistant zone commander of Troop E, Zone 9 in Portageville, Mo.
Following his work in Troop E, Zone 4, he was transferred to Troop E, Zone 3 in Wayne County in 1998. That same year, he was promoted to sergeant on September 1. Four years later, in 2002, Plunkett became the public information and education officer for Troop E. On January 8, 2006, he was then promoted to lieutenant and was transferred to the Troop F Headquarters, which serves the following 13 counties in Central Missouri: Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Gasconade, Howard, Miller, Moniteau, Montgomery, Morgan, and Osage.
During his time in the MSHP, Plunkett has experienced many different situations and encounters, he told of one of those encounters. "Recently, I was at the Academy complex and observed a sharply dressed young man walking out of the applicant oral boards. I couldn't help but think If he was like me, the applicant was obviously re-living his answers and probably thinking how much better he could have done given another chance. For whatever reason, no one else was around and I decided to engage the young man by blurting out, 'Well, did you impress them with your knowledge in there?' Obviously startled and unaware I was standing there, the applicant took a moment to gather his thoughts and responded, 'No, sir. To be honest with you, they used some vocabulary in there I don't think I've ever heard before.' Having been in the same situation nearly 24 years ago, I couldn't help but chuckle to myself and reassure the young man that I was confident he had done just fine in the interview.
Seeing the young man was obviously sincere in his interest in the Patrol, I went on to ask the applicant where he was from and he quickly responded, 'Sir, I'm from a little town just north of the Arkansas line you've probably never heard of called Kennett.' Given his response, and my recognition of the bootheel accent, I couldn't help but smile and proudly tell him that 'I just happen to be from Kennett myself.' The young man was undoubtedly surprised by my answer and that sparked a 20 minute conversation concerning people we knew and how he became interested in the Patrol. He told me he became interested through his college studies and the tremendous respect the Patrol has in the Kennett community. Knowing the impact my dad and the Kennett zone had on me (and several other current troopers) back in the 70's and 80's, I was extremely proud that Sergeant Rainey and his zone still maintain that presence today."
When asked about how he would want people to remember him, when he makes the decision to retire, Plunkett responded by saying, "I hope people will think I was fair and treated them with respect whenever possible. I think those qualities are important, primarily because it's the right thing to do, but also because there are always young people watching us as officers and developing opinions. Kids know if you are respecting their parents and treating them fairly, and if we want to enjoy public support in the future, we have to be mindful of the kids sitting in the backseat of a car or in the back room of the house. Overall, I hope folks will think I was well rounded, capable and worked hard to be a good trooper."
And he will now take on this new position. Plunkett said, "I was very honored that Colonel Ron Replogle chose me to move into this position."
With his new position, Plunkett will take on the new responsibilities. He will be working with criminal histories, supervising approximately 110 employees, working with new technology, working with the sheriffs, judges, and prosecutors, and many more tasks. "I'm going into it with a good attitude," said Plunkett, " It's a great opportunity to learn new skills and that's what I hope to achieve."
Plunkett, a father of two, attributes his success with his parents, his friends, teachers, professors, and his wife of 21 years, Angie Scoggins Plunkett. "We have moved for every promotion, but this one and she has made a lot of sacrifices over the years so that I can be successful in the Highway Patrol. She is an outstanding woman and I really appreciate all of her support, as well as the rest of my family's," said Plunkett.