State Rep. Ken Wilson wants sheriff’s departments throughout Missouri to be able to more easily work together to promote public safety. He recently filed legislation, HB 1936, to allow departments to assist each other even if they are not in adjoining counties.

“It can be a good thing,” Madison County Sheriff Bobby Spain said.

Wilson noted that current law allows only sheriffs and deputy sheriffs in adjoining counties to render assistance to one another. He said the law hasn’t changed since 1979 and needs to be updated so that law enforcement agents can assist one another in any county in the state.

“This is a common sense change that will help our sheriff’s departments to better promote public safety by assisting each other when necessary,” said Wilson, R-Smithville, who served with the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. “I am hopeful my colleagues will support this change and work with me this year to push it into law.”

 “Depending on the surrounding circumstances, it may be harder for the smaller counties to help with coverage,” Spain said. “There are considerations about covering their own needs in the smaller departments, such as hours, overtime, and sick leave.”

Wilson’s bill also would specify that, for purposes of liability, workers’ compensation, overtime, and expense reimbursement, any sheriff or deputy rendering assistance in another county will be deemed an employee of the responding county sheriff’s office.

“Liability is a consideration; however, I would not at all be opposed to it,” Spain said about the proposal.

The legislation awaits assignment to committee for further discussion. For more information call Christina Smith at 573-751-9760.

-Traci M. Black (via Democrat News)