The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office recently conducted a Patrol Staffing Analysis and is looking for public opinion from county citizens.
“We have a number of key issues we as a county will have to address in the near future,” said Sheriff John Cottle. “Our patrol deputies are running with fewer per squad than we did three and four years ago.”
Sheriff Cottle does not believe the currently low patrol staffing numbers is a county commissioner or even a sheriff’s office dilemma but the natural process of an expanding population. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center recently projected Christian and Lincoln Counties to grow the fastest in the state, more than doubling the population by 134 percent between 2000 and 2030.
“The county is looking at 20,000 more citizens by year 2030 and we as a community need to be prepared for that day,” said Cottle. “My office is fighting crime with fewer deputies and the number of calls for service is expanding, which means deputies are going call to call.”
Sheriff Cottle says the department is reacting to crime and responding to calls for service, which is affecting their proactive policing strategies. In 2012 the sheriff’s office responded to over 48,000 calls for service.
“While police departments in the county have the ability to refuse calls for service, the sheriff’s office does not have this option. The patrol division cannot refuse to answer calls, nor can they refuse to answer calls within other jurisdictions in the county,” said Cottle.
It is not uncommon for other law enforcement agencies within Lincoln County to rely on the sheriff to fill the gaps in their service as they move from full-time to part-time police agencies.
Lincoln County citizens are asked to review the Patrol Staffing Analysis and post their thoughts and comments at www.Facebook.com/LCSOMO.
“I want to engage the community in this process to achieve the best possible result since it affects everyone in Lincoln County,” said Cottle.