City of De Soto approves temporary contract with JeffCo Sheriff' - KMOV.com

City of De Soto approves temporary contract with JeffCo Sheriff's Department during officer shortage

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The City of De Soto on Tuesday turned to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department for help after staffing levels dropped critically low.. (Credit: KMOV) The City of De Soto on Tuesday turned to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department for help after staffing levels dropped critically low.. (Credit: KMOV)

DE SOTO, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The De Soto City Council approved a contract Tuesday night to pay for assistance from Jefferson County Sheriff's Department during an officer shortage. 

News 4 was the first to report the De Soto Police Department has seen an exodus of officers since May, including their recently hired police chief. With just 18 staff members, that meant nearly half of the department had left. To assist with leadership in the meantime, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is providing a lieutenant to serve as interim chief and supervisors to oversee patrols. 

But it's a move that worries many residents in De Soto. Dozens packed the bleachers of Vineland Elementary Tuesday night to express their concerns about losing the De Soto Police Department. 

"We have a lot of issues in De Soto, constant problems with domestic violence and there's a drug problem. What will happen without our officers?" asked resident Lisa Garibaldi.

City Attorney Mark Bishop said the only vote that happened Tuesday was to sign off on the agreement to pay Jefferson County for the services they're providing. 

"The city has to come up with a plan to hire a new chief or contract out with the Sheriff's office," explained Bishop, who wouldn't say how long the current agreement could last. The current cost to pay the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is around $7,800 a month. 

Mayor Larry Sanders spoke to the crowd and said funding is a big issue. Many of the officers have left because of low pay, and Sanders said that is one of the reasons it is also tough to recruit more officers. 

Residents like Garibaldi said they would like to see a restructuring of the city's funding to ensure the community can keep their police officers. 

Another thing the mayor said could be looked at is outsourcing the police dispatch. 

the city council will meet again on July 16. 

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