La Monte has gained a new deputy and Green Ridge will be getting a new part-time deputy after a Pettis County Commission meeting.
The Commission approved hiring two deputies during its meeting in late May, one of which will serve La Monte and Green Ridge. The other will fill a vacancy after a retirement. During the meeting, Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said the additional personnel will “strengthen our presence in the Western side of the county tremendously.”
The Pettis County Sheriff’s Office has had contract deputies in La Monte for three years. Contract deputies work under the sheriff’s office but the city that contracts them pays their salaries and for equipment. Contract deputies can also have further responsibilities like enforcing city ordinances.
“When they stop people for traffic violations, they can do city assault charges rather than going through state. Then that all runs through their municipal court…” Bond said.
“The deputies report to me. So it would be like, while I’m not the police chief by any means, I kind of act in that position in cooperation with the city mayor as well as the city council.”
Bond was contacted in April by Green Ridge Mayor Ronnie Ollison, who was having trouble finding people to work the part-time varied hours in the city’s police department. Bond connected them with the city of La Monte. The two cities and the Pettis County Commission ultimately decided on a cooperative agreement.
The commission agreed to add one full-time contract deputy position, which would have 28 hours in Green Ridge and 12 hours in La Monte.
“I essentially just hired an additional person for La Monte, so now we have three full-time deputies in La Monte and then the hours that they work in Green Ridge will be spread across all three of those deputies,” Bond explained. “So they work hours in La Monte but on the times when they need to work Green Ridge they work transfer from La Monte to Green Ridge work their shift...”
“While this is a little modification to it (La Monte contract work), it’s really just an extension to what we’ve been doing there,” Bond continued. “It provides one additional deputy that is essentially serving the citizens of Pettis County.”
According to Bond, they have seen many smaller towns across the state switch over to county contract work. In Henry County, all of the municipalities with the exception of Clinton have law enforcement done on a contract basis.
Bond said he believes La Monte has been getting better service since switching to contract deputies and believes it will be the same with Green Ridge.
“They are getting a continuity of service that they did not have earlier,” he said. “They are drawing on the larger entity, a larger agency. So it’s much more stable and the huge benefit is when there’s a need for additional resources then I can flood the city with additional resources that they did not have before when it was just them.”
Bond said during the La Monte contract the city experienced a shooting and a couple of armed robberies. He said he believes the sheriff’s office was able to give the city a better help due to the contract deputies.
“We can quickly send plenty of extra units. We send detectives in, so the detectives start doing the investigation where before, front line officers were responsible for doing all of that,” Bond said. “Now we can do the same thing with Green Ridge even though it’s just a part-time contract. If we have a major crime that occurs in there then they’re going to get the full impact of the sheriff's office.”
Bond also said the cities will benefit when it comes to drug investigations. The Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force operates out of Pettis County and will now be able to do additional investigations.
Bond has been careful with the transitions, saying “you don’t want big brother taking over all of it,” because people want to be able to talk to the law enforcement authority. Bond said he believes they have found a good solution with the current contracts. He also tries to make himself available for people to talk to him.
“I try to maintain enough of a public presence where people see me,” he said. “I go to the city council meetings (in La Monte and Green Ridge). If someone needs to talk to me I’m always available after those city council meetings to be able to talk to people and things like that. It’s (the contracts) good while not getting too big either.”