SENECA, Mo. — Like many law enforcement agencies across the country, the Seneca Police Department is dealing with financial strains.

Fuel prices are high for everyone, but an increase in arrests means an increase in transport trips for the police department to the county jail.

“I think most people don’t understand how it affects a small town, but when your jail is 18 miles east of you, one officer on the 15th of July made 4 trips to the Newton County Jail. All 4 trips were for warrants or drug-related crimes, so it’s 36 miles round trip not counting the time and everything at the Jail. When you add that up in fuel prices, it’s significant,” said James Altic, Police Chief, Seneca Police Department.

Chief Altic also says fuel and maintenance costs for patrol cars have tripled from last year.

“And everything else has went up as well, it’s just not just fuel. By the time the maintenance on the cars, the oil, everything that goes in, just parts, if you can get them. I have, you know, significant raises on those so, it’s tough on these little towns,” said Altic.

Currently, there is an outstanding debt in court fees for Newton County of over $430,000

“You add some of the covid-related issues from months and months of people not going to court, they’re not showing up for court dates or the court dates have been postponed, they just get used to not paying their fines or just not showing up in general. Victims, you know, victims have a right to their day in court as well,” said Altic.