New challenges facing law enforcement, from criminal activity to funding, will affect Lawrence County according to Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay.
The recent cattle thefts have authorities in the surrounding areas discussing the possibility of doing "talk shows" on radio stations in an extended effort to crack down on these thefts.
According to DeLay, stockyards are keeping a close eye on cattle that are being brought there. Area stockyards are usually familiar with farmers who come there on a routine basis. Because of this, it is believed the stolen cattle are being taken out of state.
"If the subject(s) gets caught in this ring of cattle thefts, the stockyard where the cattle are sold would lose the money they had acquired by purchasing them," said DeLay.
"It's frustrating to protect an area then find out the cattle thieves had hit a different area," added DeLay.
The Barry/Lawrence Crime Stoppers is offering an award for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the cattle thefts.
DeLay also noted that he recently attended his first Missouri Sheriff's Association Conference (MSA). The MSA holds conferences annually in the winter and summer, providing various training for Missouri sheriffs. Missouri statute requires sheriffs to have 20 hours of training per year, equaling a total of 60 hours of training during their three-year term in office.
Turning attention to state funding, DeLay mentioned budget cuts could result in the closure of two state correctional facilities, thus releasing prisoners back into the public.
DeLay said he was very concerned because the Lawrence County Jail is already full, and he questions if some of the released prisoners are arrested again, where would they go.
When questioned about State Representative David Sater's filing of House Bill 33, DeLay said it would be a good thing and could create numerous possibilities.
House Bill 33 would require convicted methamphetamine dealers to register with law enforcement after being released from prison. The new law, if passed, would also include an on-line registry accessible to the public and maintained by the Missouri Highway Patrol. The registry would list the offender's name, date of birth and where the crime was committed. The crimes that would be in this category would include distribution or manufacturing of methamphetamine and/or selling near schools or public housing.
On a better note, DeLay was notified earlier this month that Lawrence County will be getting approximately $30,000 through a grant funded by the Missouri Sheriff's Methamphetamine Relief Team (MoSMART).
According to DeLay, Lawrence County was one of only five departments in the state that will be receiving a grant from MoSMART.