U.S. Marshals Arrest Fugitive in Laclede County

Lonnie G. Richardson, age 50, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service-Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force in Laclede County, Missouri on Monday, February 8. Richardson was charged in Wright County, Missouri with two counts of Tampering with a Judicial Officer, and 2nd Degree Terrorist Threat—both felonies under Missouri law. 

Richardson was charged after a February 4th incident in which he threatened to kill a Wright County judge, the ​sheriff and their families—prompting a multi-agency law enforcement effort to protect them. 

U.S. Marshals Service investigators tracked Richardson to a rural area near Lebanon. There, U.S. Marshals along with deputies from the Laclede County Sheriff’s Office found Richardson hiding in a small camping trailer. After a brief standoff, Richardson was arrested and taken to the Laclede County Jail pending his return to Wright County. 

The U.S. Marshals Service-Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force in Springfield led the multiagency search for Richardson. “Richardson threatened to kill public officials and their families,” said U.S. Marshal Mark James of the Western District of Missouri, “His reckless behavior threatened to tear the fabric of our criminal justice system. If you act in this lawless way, the U.S. Marshals will find you and bring you to justice.” 

The U.S. Marshals Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force—Springfield Division, partners with members of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, the Springfield Police Department, and the Joplin Police Department. 

The mission of the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive programs is to seek out and arrest fugitives charged with violent crimes, drug offenses, sex offenders, and other serious felonies. To accomplish this mission, the U.S. Marshals Service partners with local law enforcement agencies in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 8 regional task forces, as well as many foreign countries. 

Submit tips on fugitives directly and anonymously to the U.S. Marshals Service by downloading the USMS Tips app to your Apple or Android device, or online at: https://www.usmarshals.gov/tips/index.html

For more information about the U.S. Marshals Service, visit: www.usmarshals.gov

National Sheriffs’ Association Offering Free PPE to Sheriffs’ Offices

​The National Sheriffs’ Association is offering all sheriff’s offices PPE masks at no cost through a partnership with Ford Motor Company.

Last year, through similar partnerships with the REFORM Alliance, Motorola, SwabTek and Under Armour, the NSA delivered more than 2.5 million masks to 48 states.

Below is a description of the masks. There is no limit to the amount of masks​​ that offices can order.

Mask description:
Inner layer of 30GSM Spunbond polypropylene
Middle Layer 25GSM melt blown polypropylene semi-permeable
Outer layer of 30GSM Spunbond polypropylene
Side Seam 40GSM Spunbond polypropylene
Nose Piece, Plastic with steel insert
Ear loops are an Elastic Fabric (No Latex)

Please go www.ppe.ford.com to order.

If you have, any questions please contact Pat Royal at patrickroyal@sheriffs.org.

Former Miller County Sheriff Dies of COVID-19

Former Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott has died following a battle with COVID 19. According to a member of the family, the former Sheriff was placed on a ventilator on December 17th.

Though he made progress, he developed a second infection on the 28th. He passed away on Monday, January 4.

Sheriff Abbott spent more than 16 serving the residents of Miller County. He was first appointed to the office in April 1999 and retired in December 2016.

During his time as sheriff, he was instrumental in forming the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force and establishing policies and procedures for deputy conduct.

Before his election as sheriff, he served in the Missouri National Guard for 22 years. There he held a variety of positions, including a motor vehicle operator, materials handler, and armory sergeant for the 135th Maintenance Unit.

In 2019, Governor Mike Parson appointed Sheriff Abbott to to the Petroleum Storage Tank Insurance Fund Board of Trustees.

This is what current Sheriff Louie Gregoire had to say about the former Sheriff Abbott:

“It is with a heavy heart, that we regret to inform everyone of the passing of retired Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott. Bill was a wonderful man who loved his community and family. My staff and I will miss him, and our prayers are with his family.”

KRMS 
Photo provided by the Abbott family

Marion County Sheriff Shares Consequences of Bearing Costs of State Prisoners

In this file photo a Marion County corrections serves supper to inmates through the pod door chuckholes. Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn said the Missouri Department of Correction owes the county more than $200,000 for housing state prisoners.  Courier-Post file photo.

 

Missouri counties paid approximately $41 million in incarceration costs for state prisoners last year, according to an audit released Wednesday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn, was not surprised by the audit results. Shinn said as of Dec. 11 the state owed Marion County $201,615 for housing state prisoners and then transporting them to prison.

“The problem is not getting any better,” Shinn said. “Sheriffs across the state fight this on a yearly basis. This makes it very difficult to budget revenues because we do not know when the state is going to pay or how much.”

The findings were discovered during an audit of the state’s County Reimbursement Program, which is administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. The program is responsible for the reimbursement of county governments for certain costs associated with the housing and transporting of state prisoners.

The audit found that a combination of delayed reimbursements due to a lack of state funding and increasing incarceration costs have delayed the reimbursement of counties.

“Local taxpayers are footing the bill because the state has not been keeping up its end of the deal and the cost of incarcerating state prisoners is increasing,” Galloway said in a media release. “This is an issue throughout Missouri, but is particularly concerning for smaller communities where revenue is especially limited.”

According to Shinn, the Department of Corrections reimburses counties at a rate of $21.58 per day for state inmates.

“That is nowhere close to what it costs to house them here. This rate is set by our state with no negotiation,” he said. “Our estimate is it costs us approximately $45 per day for housing, meals, staff, etc. to house an inmate at this facility.”

According to the audit’s findings the reimbursement rate paid by the state has kept up with inflation over the past 10 years, but it is essentially the same as the rate paid in 1998, despite the fact that incarceration costs have continued to increase. Based on actual costs a more realistic reimbursement fee would be $49 a day, auditors said in the report.

There are some state prisoners for which a county will never see a cent of reimbursement.

“If a subject is charged with a state crime they could sit in the Marion County’s jail for six months because they can’t post bond, then courts put them on probation. We do not get monies from the state for this,” Shinn said. “We only get monies from the state when a subject hits the Department of Corrections.”

According to the audit, as of June 30, 2020, the state owed about $31 million to counties that it did not have the appropriation authority to pay. In fiscal year 2021, the General Assembly approved $52 million for county reimbursements, which includes $9.75 million for unpaid reimbursements. Galloway said that amount would address only about one third of the outstanding claims still owed to counties.

The audit found that the Department of Corrections has not requested sufficient funds to pay the outstanding reimbursement claims and past budget requests haven’t included information about the previous years’ shortfalls. Auditors recommended that the department request the money necessary to pay all obligations and ensure the financial history of the program is included so the legislators have an understanding of how much is owed to county governments.

“I have tried to speak with our (state) representative and senator frequently and express our issues with this budget problem. I have done this for several years now. They both are well aware of this,” Shinn said.

Auditors surveyed counties to better understand the impact of low reimbursement rates and delayed payments. According to these local officials, issues with state reimbursements resulted in not having enough revenue to cover jail costs and, as a result, having to reduce other services or increase local tax rates. Additionally, lack of revenue leads to difficulty in hiring new sheriffs’ employees due to low salaries or lack of equipment.

Shinn said that overall, through 2020, the Marion County Jail has generated over $900,000 in prisoner board bills. This includes fees paid by neighboring counties that ​​house inmates in the Palmyra facility, the state reimbursements and through federal inmate housing reimbursements.

“We are hopeful and optimistic that these relationships continue as we know and understand that this affects the overall budget for Marion County,” the sheriff said.

​By ​Danny Henley​ | Hannibal Courier Post​

Auditor Galloway Says Jail Reimbursement Program Costing Missouri Counties Millions

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says a jail reimbursement program is costing counties millions.

She released an audit of the County Reimbursement Program on Wednesday. The program reimburses county governments for certain costs for housing and transporting state prisoners. The program is administered by the Missouri Department of Corrections. The audit found a combination of delayed reimbursements due to lack of state funding and increasing incarceration costs has resulted in the necessity for counties to rely on local resources.

“Local taxpayers are left footing the bill because the state has not been keeping up its end of the deal and the cost of incarcerating state prisoners is increasing,” Auditor Galloway said. “This is an issue throughout Missouri, but is particularly concerning for smaller communities where revenue is especially limited. Our audit clearly outlines the facts and details the problems with this program so that the legislature can evaluate the information and make changes.”

Under state law, counties can be reimbursed for criminal costs, prisoner transportation and extradition costs for state prisoners. Counties submit claims throughout the year for these expenses and the Department of Corrections processes these payments on a first come, first served basis. However, state appropriations have not been sufficient to cover reimbursement claims.

As of June 30, the state owed about $31 million to counties it did not have the appropriation authority to pay. In fiscal year 2021, the General Assembly approved $52 million for county reimbursements, which includes $9.75 million for unpaid reimbursements. This addresses about a third of the outstanding claims still owed to counties.

The audit reported the Department of Corrections has not requested sufficient funds to pay the outstanding reimbursement claims and past budget requests haven’t included information about the previous years’ shortfalls. The audit recommended that the department request the money necessary to pay all obligations and ensure the financial history of the program is included so that legislators have an understanding of how much is owed to county governments.

Additionally, while the reimbursement rate paid by the state has kept up with inflation over the last 10 years, it is essentially the same as the rate paid in 1998. During this time incarceration costs have continued to increase. The state provides a reimbursement of $22.58 per day, but actual costs average closer to $49 a day. The increasing difference means counties have to subsidize the cost of housing these prisoners. The audit found that counties subsidized an estimated $41 million in incarceration costs for state prisoners during the 2020 fiscal year.

Auditors surveyed counties to better understand the impact of low reimbursement rates and delayed payments. According to these local officials, issues with state reimbursements resulted in not having enough revenue to cover jail costs and, as a result, having to reduce other services or increase local tax rates. Additionally, lack of revenue leads to difficulty in hiring new sheriffs’ employees due to low salaries or lack of equipment.

The audit also found inconsistencies in the law related to reimbursements. Under the law, the state reimbursement rate can go up to $37.50 a day, but is subject to appropriations. However, there are varying interpretations of the statute because this language is not consistent with how reimbursements are set (on a per day basis) and how state funds are appropriated (by year). The audit recommended that the legislature amend the statute to clarify the intent of the law so local officials can better understand what to expect from the state reimbursements.

The complete audit report is available here.

By KY3 staff | KY3.com

Sheriff Looks Back on Decades in Law Enforcement

After more than three and a half decades in law enforcement, Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell is retiring at the end of this month.

Reflecting upon his career and his start in law enforcement, Russell said that, even before becoming an officer of the law, he had been working in a similar, but different, line of work with the Taney County Ambulance District.

“From April 1, of ‘82 I was an EMT and paramedic until June 1, ‘85. During that time, our office was in the basement of the old sheriff’s office, and I got to hang out with a lot of the deputies and stuff back then,” said Russell. “I got interested in the law enforcement side and decided to leave the medical side and go into law enforcement.”

Russell said, from being an EMT, he made his career transition by first becoming an officer with the Branson Police Department.

“In June 1, of ‘85 I started with the Branson Police Department and I worked there at Branson Police until Feb. 1 of ‘92 when I went to the (Taney County) sheriff’s office. I worked at the sheriff’s office for eight years as a deputy,” Russell said. “I started under Sheriff Chuck Keithley and worked a year under him, then Theron Jenkins took over for him when Chuck retired. I worked eight years for Theron. When he decided he was going to retire, then in 2000, I ran for sheriff and won the election and was fortunate enough to become sheriff for 20 years.”

As a life-long resident of the area, Russell said he’s seen a lot of changes in Taney County.

“I grew up here in Taneyville. Went to Taneyville grade school and all through grade school there and then graduated from Forsyth High School. I’ve lived around here all my life. Actually grew up within three miles of where I live now,” said Russell. “When I first started at Branson Police Department in ‘85 our city limits ended just before the Walmart store on 76 highway out there, just east of that is where the city limits ended. There were a few businesses out past there, but not many.”

Russell added that getting into the law enforcement field back when he got started is a lot different than what you have to go through these days.

“Back then, you had to go through a law enforcement academy within the first year of being hired. You didn’t have to before you were hired,” Russell said. “You could actually work on the road and everything before you went to the law enforcement academy. I think it was just an (120) hour academy back then. Of course, now it’s 700 hours.”

Compared to now, Russell explained, there were no requirements for continued eduction; however, he took as many of the courses as he could when he was first starting out.

“Back then, the Highway Patrol academy, they had a lot of classes up there, and the city of Branson was really good about sending us to training. I actually went through every class the highway patrol academy had to offer, with the exception of the photography class. I didn’t go through it,” said Russell. “The rest of them, all the supervision classes and all the advance accident investigation and accident reconstruction and the firearms instructions and everything. I went through all of that up there while I was with Branson.”

When it came to deciding to run for Taney County Sheriff, Russell said becoming sheriff had always been a goal of his.

“The first time I think I said that I would like to was during white bass season, and me and (Branson Police Chief) Steve Mefford, we were fishing down below Powersite Dam and Theron Jenkins and a bunch of them were up there fishing, also. They were talking then that Theron was going to be the next sheriff and I remember Steve said, ‘That wouldn’t be anything I would want to do’ and I said, ‘You know, I think one day I may want to do that.’ So it was even a goal from back then, back when I was with Branson. I had it in the back of my mind that is what I wanted to do. So when the opportunity came for me to move over to the sheriff’s office and learn it and everything, I took it.”

Russell added that when Jenkins announced his retirement as sheriff in 2000, he knew then he wanted to run for the position. Russell ran, won and was sworn-in as Taney County Sheriff in 2001. Since then, Russell explained, the job has continued to evolve.

“The first year I was sheriff in 2001 we had the 9/11 attacks, and that brought about a big change in law enforcement then and how we do things, how we looked at things and there was just a whole round of things we had to change and adjust to. Throughout the years, there have been continual adjustments,” Russell said. “My first year we had all that to adjust to, and then my last year we had COVID and the protests to adjust to.”    

As he was taking office in 2001, Russell said he also found himself having to bring the sheriff’s department into the 21st Century.

“When I walked into the sheriff’s office, we didn’t have any computers. It was all hand-written reports and everything done by hand. It was just the turn of the times when that needed to be done and just hadn’t been yet,” Russell said. “So we put in new computer systems and records management systems, jail management systems and everything, including computer-aided dispatch for them.”

In his time as sheriff, Russell said he’s had the chance to accomplish many things, but one of his proudest moments has been the creation and completion of the Taney County Judicial Center.

“Whenever I came into office, they had already taken and made plans for a new facility. Actually the county had spent $1 million on the plans and getting everything going, and it was going to be a 100 bed facility. At that point, whenever I took over, we were already at 120 inmates. I said, ‘You know this is supposed to be a long-term facility that you’re planning. This is not going to work. We’re already past the pool limit,’” said Russell. “Of course the plans then involved tearing down the old courthouse to build this one, which is not actually what the commission wanted. That’s the way the architects and everybody developed it. So long story short, we ended up scrapping a $1 million plan and starting all over and redesigning an all-different location and going through that. So in 2008, we finally got the current facility built.”

While in office, Russell said he was also proud of his time working with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

“I worked with them on the ‘Hand in Hand’ (event) in Branson and everything. That was a great highlight in my career, being able to work with those people,” he said. “I met a lot of very interesting people during that and made a lot of really good friends through that.”

Russell said one of the final things he was glad to see through during his final months in office was this year’s passing of the Law Enforcement Sales Tax increase. After serving the residents of Taney County for two decades as sheriff, Russell said he knew it was time to retire.

“They always say you know when it’s time, and it’s time. After 20 years, of course. My wife, she’s retired now, and we want to chase our grandkids around the rodeos and basketball games and all that and be a little freer to do that stuff,” said Russell. “I’m just ready to settle down and farm and not be called out in the middle of the night and everything else. I’ve been in law enforcement for 35-and-a-half years now, and that’s long enough for anybody.”

Russell added that it was also important to him that he and Chuck Keithley are now tied for the longest serving sheriffs in Taney County history, both serving 20 years in office.

Earlier this year, the voters of Taney County elected current Taney County Deputy Sheriff Brad Daniels to succeed Russell as sheriff. Russell said he’s the right man for the job.

“Anybody coming in. I don’t care who it is, me or Brad or anybody else coming into that position, there will be a lot that they realize they have to learn. He’s been going to school to learn, and it’s opened his eyes to what all there is. Even being chief deputy, he knew a lot of it, but there’s still stuff that he has to learn,” said Russell. “He’s very level-headed. He’s the right man for the job. He’ll do real well. He’s going to have Matt Wheeler as his chief deputy, and that’s an excellent choice. They’ll be a great team.”

When asked what he’s going to miss most about the job, Russell said, “The people. I’m going to miss the employees and the people.”

Russell said doing this job as long as he has wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his family.

“Having my family behind me, especially my wife. You know the family goes through a lot whenever you’re sheriff, too. It’s probably been harder on them than it’s been on me. But having them there to support me and be behind me with it, means a lot.”

Russell’s final day in office will be Dec. 31, 2020.

By Tim Church | Branson Tri-Lakes News

Fallen Missouri Sheriff’s Family Has Home Paid Off

The widow of a Missouri sheriff killed in the line of duty will no longer have a mortgage to pay.

DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Clark was killed in an on-duty crash that happened in June of 2020.

Clark was responding to assist a deputy when his car collided with another vehicle near the intersection of Missouri Highway 33 and U.S. Highway 36 just north of Osborn.

The man who Governor Mike Parson once said served the citizens of Dekalb County with, ”heart and with grit” died at a hospital in St. Joseph later that same day.

This holiday surprise is thanks to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation through its Fallen First Responder Home Program. The mortgage payoff is part of the Foundation’s 2020 Season of Hope.

Sheriff Clark left behind his wife, Jody, and four children.

Jody told Tunnel to Towers, “Andy and I planned to raise our children here, enjoy our grandchildren and spend our golden years right here in this home that he built for us with his own two hands. Now with the help of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, I don’t have to sell it or worry about anyone taking it away from us. I can continue t​​o raise our children here in the only home they’ve ever known. Words can’t express how grateful and thankful I am for this wonderful foundation.”  

Clark was a 22-year veteran of law enforcement and started his career with the Cameron Police Department.


By Micah J. Bray | KCTV 5

Police ‘Reform’ Survey

With all the talk in the media and in society about the need for “police reform,” it is obvious that many people have no idea what would work, wouldn’t work, is possible, affordable, etc. That recognized, we at the Officer Media Group thought it would be beneficial to get the opinions of people who actually do the job – law enforcement professionals.

To that end we built a VERY shot (four questions) survey that takes less than one minute to complete. If you’d be kind enough to give us that one minute of your time, we appreciate it. And when all of the answers have been compiled in a couple weeks, we’ll disseminate the information.

Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C23W5PT

By Lt. Frank Borelli (ret) | Officer.com

Former Sheriff Passes

Former Laclede County Sheriff Joel Richards died on Monday, November 10. He was sheriff in Laclede County from 1969 to 1972. After serving as sheriff, he took a job with the Lebanon Police Department, working up the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant and in 1984 he was promoted to chief. He retired as police chief in the mid-1990s.