New sales tax to boost law enforcement funding in Newton County

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NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — A new sales tax is taking effect in Southwest Missouri, new funding that will give law enforcement a big boost. The Newton County sheriff will be seeing a long list of changes in the coming year, starting with more deputies.

Newton Co. Sheriff Chris Jennings, said, “Four new positions is what we have in mind.”

A new public safety sales tax will fund those new hires, according to Newton Co. Sheriff Chris Jennings, positions that will mean more deputies on the road. But many of the new projects will focus on headquarters itself.

“I’d like to see a new state of the art evidence building – we’re hoping to include a public use building in that room.”

Discussions are underway to look for architects to design the project, with some very specific features.

“Like drying rooms for homicide evidence. Um, people don’t think about things like that, that’s something we have to look at uh in order not only to just dry the items to be stored but, to, for the employees’ safety.”

There’s also technology to buy.

“We’re in the process of getting bids for new body cameras and car cameras.”

And in the building itself.

“Trying to get more and newer cameras in the jail.”

The sheriff is expecting to see about $750,000 a year from the tax – the total is even higher for Newton County emergency dispatch, where they plan to hire new employees and update equipment. The new tax takes effect on October 1st.

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