2-30 Monett Police offered commissions
By MURRAY BISHOFF
At last week's monthly meeting of the Monett City Council, Police Chief Tim Schweder reported Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay has offered commissions to Monett officers as deputies.
County commissions had been a common practice up until around 15 years ago. At the present time, officers are not authorized to act outside of the city limits by either the Barry or Lawrence County sheriffs.
Schweder said at the present time, officers pursuing someone lose jurisdiction at the city limits and would have to call for a county officer to make an arrest. State law allows city officers to assist county officers in case of an emergency, but in non-emergency scenarios, officers lack the authorization a commission would provide. City insurance would cover officers' additional activity.
"I think [commissioning Monett officers] would be a fine thing. Lawrence County doesn't have too many," City Commissioner Jerry Dierker said.
Dierker recalled an incident where it would take a county deputy about four hours to get to a scene to make a report. Council members authorized Schweder to proceed with DeLay in completing arrangements.
Schweder said Monett officers would limit their response to emergency situations. He got permission to approach Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly about getting commissions from that county as well.
Authorization was also given to Schweder for the city to join the Southwest Driving While Intoxicated Task Force, made up of departments in the Seventh Congressional District. Schweder explained the task force receives grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation's Division of Highway Safety for running checkpoints seeking DWI offenders. Grant money pays overtime for the officers involved.
In joining the task force, the city could receive assistance from area officers in case of a big DWI sweep. Monett in turn would make officers available for similar operations in other towns. When outside the city, Schweder said officers would limit their actions to initial contacts, directing possible offenders to more local officers. Thus Monett officers would not be directly involved in making arrests or prolonged court appearances.
Information about the persons breaking flower pots on Broadway last week would be appreciated, the chief added.