Kennett discusses possibility of switching to DPS - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Kennett discusses possibility of switching to DPS

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Kennett, Missouri city council members scheduled a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the possibility of switching to a Department of Public Safety, which would combine both the fire and police departments.

The first thing mentioned in the meeting was the budget, and according to the numbers presented Tuesday, they are $220,000 over budget. They are looking for ways to trim that and one idea that they discussed was creating a Department of Public Safety.

Police officers at the meeting were not in favor of it and the ordinance was tabled so they could discuss the issue further.

We knew this was going to an issue brought up at the meeting, so we wanted to look into what exactly a DPS looks like. We went to Sikeston, where it was created in 1975.

Chief Drew Juden said he was one of the first public safety officers. He said there was definitely some growing pains, but overall, it was a good switch for Sikeston.

"We did a cost analysis and we figure the DPS model saves us approximately a million dollars a year in our budget," Chief Juden said.

All of the officers are cross-trained, meaning they are trained to do both but are assigned to specific divisions in the specialty.

"If it's a real big fire or real big incident, I've got all my gear here," said Officer Adam Eftink. "I can take this off and throw that on. I can be an extra man that's needed at the fire."

Chief Juden was quick to point out every DPS he's seen is a little different. He said what works at one place, may not work at another.

In Kennett, the issue will be brought back up at their next meeting. As of now, the ordinance has still not been introduced to the council.

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