New Issue of “The Missouri Sheriff”
Now Available


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From Explorer Scout to Sheriff

If the editors of the Miriam Webster Dictionary ever need an example of the word “Change,” they should look no farther than Scott Lewis’ first term as sheriff of St. Charles County.
The day he was sworn into office — Jan. 1, 2015 — was also the day that the law enforcement side of the sheriff’s office split off to become the St. Charles County Police Department. That meant the sheriff’s office would no longer handle patrol, calls for service, investigations and support services. Instead, they would be responsible for civil process, the courts and prisoner transport — only…. Read More

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Welcome to the Missouri Sheriffs’ Assocation

The Missouri Sheriffs’ Association is a non-profit organization with a mission to support the Office of Sheriff and the Constitution through legislative efforts, training and technical assistance, in its efforts to make communities a safer, more enjoyable place to live, to work, and to raise a family. We value Honesty, Hard Work and Personal Responsibility.

Silver Dollar City Attractions’ Law Enforcement Week

During National Law Enforcement Recognition Week, June 7-16, 2019, law enforcement officers (active & retired), corrections officers and department employees with a valid ID receive a FREE one-day admission to Silver Dollar City and White Water and a FREE cruise on the Showboat Branson Belle!

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How to prepare for emergencies in your correctional facility ahead of time

by Mandy Johnson, C1 Contributor

The mass evacuations of several Texas prisons after catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey is a reminder of the necessity of emergency planning

No matter where you live or work, emergencies are inevitable. Whether facing a natural or man-made emergency, your preparedness level will directly impact your recoverability. Preparedness covers an array of critical mission areas.

Jails and prisons – state and federal, public and private – must maintain essential functions in the event of an emergency. The mission of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is “to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure.” During an emergency, the BOP, local jails, and prisons must still carry out the tenets of their respective missions.

In order to effectively operate in the event of an emergency, an agency can and should take some preparedness measures. The Department of Homeland Security’s Presidential Policy Directive 8 aims at strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for the threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the nation, including acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks, pandemics and catastrophic natural disasters.

The National Preparedness Goal for this directive describes how a nation can be more secure and resilient by focusing on the following five critical mission areas: Prevention: Necessary to avoid, prevent, or stop a threat or act of terrorism.

Protection: Necessary to secure the homeland against both terrorist acts and manmade or natural disasters.
Mitigation: Necessary to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.
Response: Necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred.
Recovery: Necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively.

FEMA defines success of the National Preparedness Goal is “A secure and resilient Nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”

Preparedness Planning

There are steps we – as individuals or agencies – can take to protect against, prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from emergency situations, regardless of the event’s origin. It is crucial that county jails and prisons have an emergency operations plan, also known as a continuity of operations plan or business continuity plan. Incorporating the five mission areas listed above into the emergency response plan can help an agency focus on what can be done in advance to prepare for any number of emergencies.

Let’s consider some ways prisons and jails can conduct emergency preparedness:

Reviewing and updating phone roster often
Creating and updating threat and hazard incident response assessments

Reinforcing building security
Ensuring proper staffing

Providing emergency preparedness and response training
Conducting fire, evacuation, and emergency medical response drills regularly
Participating in tabletop exercises and full-scale exercises

Guaranteeing adequate accessibility to technology (e.g., duplicative means of communication)
Having pre-existing mutual aid agreements or memorandums of understanding

Instituting employee assistance programs
Creating a Continuity of Operations Plans

Exercises – tabletop or full scale – help agencies informally utilize the incident command system and command post activation. Participants are given an opportunity to evaluate current emergency operations procedures, plans, and capabilities. Exercises also address various areas of concern within a facility: response time, medical necessity, and recovery efforts.

For example, a facility within a flood-prone area should address various aspects of concern if the facility is threatened with a flood. A flood exercise should help prepare a facility to answer such questions as:

At what point do we no longer shelter in place?
What is our back-up facility if we do need to evacuate?
How will we transport the inmates?
What measures do we have in place to provide medical care to staff and inmates during an evacuation?
If sheltering in place, do we have enough food to sustain ourselves for a period of time?

While a facility may not know what they need in the immediacy of an emergency, exercises bring to light what should be in place. Mutual aid agreements and memorandums of understanding are critical to have in place prior to any emergency. While neighboring agencies might be adversely affected during an earthquake or flood, an exercise helps executives and policymakers think beyond their own resources and hopefully put into effect procedures to ensure continuity of operations.

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