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Southeast Mo. agencies benefit from $1.8M state grant

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 9:13 PM CDT
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NEW MADRID, Mo. (KFVS) - Bringing justice to criminals who prey on children is the goal of a nearly $2 million state grant in Missouri.

A total of 19 agencies across the state received grant funding.

”We really need the resources to help these victims get justice,” Ryan Miller said.

Ryan Miller is an investigator with the St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

The county prosecutor and sheriff’s offices are awarded more than $173,000 in COVID-19 funding.

These funds will go toward solving sex crimes and investigating and prosecuting criminals who victimize children.

“We had applied for this grant to hire an additional prosecuting attorney and an investigator,” Miller said.

Miller reports he has seen a significant number of cases that deal with victimized children and sex offenses.

“25 percent of our case load set for trial are for crimes in that category which is pretty substantial compared to the rest of the cases that we receive from law enforcement,” explained Miller.

That’s why he believes this funding is so needed, especially during the pandemic.

“There are so many cases, there are not enough courtrooms, there’s not enough judges and trying to get all of this volume and also do it right its tough,” he said.

The New Madrid County Sheriff’s Office is getting $76,000.

Sheriff Bud Cooper said that money will be used to purchase a second piece of equipment to examine cell phones and get a second person trained to do that job.

“Cell phones are predominantly the method of sexual predators, where they keep their pictures, where they keep their conversation,” Bud Cooper said.

Both Cooper and Miller are confident this money will go a long way to prosecute criminals.

“I just want to express our gratitude, not just to the governor, but also the county commission for supporting our efforts to apply for these grants and also the citizens of the county,” Miller said.

Butler County’s Prosecuting Attorney also wants to hire a full time prosecutor and investigator with the $104,000 grant the office received.

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