Missouri is no stranger to state of emergencies and natural disasters. And a new bill on the governor’s desk could help law enforcement come up with extra manpower for those instances.
“When we have a disaster, it’s all hands on deck,” says Sgt. Tim Williams.
When it comes to a disaster, Sergeant Tim Williams with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office says there is no such thing as too much law enforcement. But with budgets the way they are, it’s tough to have enough manpower on a regular basis. However Missouri House Bill 1355 could change that. Williams says if lawman can still do the job, it gives the agencies a lot of flexibility.
“We pull as many people as we have to use, so would be very handy to have an extra pool to pull from, but as far as our detention officers, we use them when we have a disaster but we still have to make sure we have enough to keep the jail functioning safely as well,” says Williams.
But this bill wouldn’t just help out when there are local disasters or states of emergency. Williams says Jasper County has sent officers as far away as Ferguson during the unrest there, and to Branson after a tornado in 2012. The bill would allow retired law enforcement officers and deputies to go back on the job on a temporary basis with their old department when that department enters into a mutual aid situation with another jurisdiction.
“As we discovered from the Joplin tornado there are times when you simply don’t have enough people and to be able to call on those that are retired and have a world of experience is very helpful,” says Keith Stammer.
The bill requires officers and deputies to keep current with firearms training and other qualification standards.