Scott County Sheriff faces new challenge: Where to move his department
BENTON, Mo. (KFVS) - The Scott County Sheriff is facing a new challenge. Where can he move his deputies, support staff and equipment and what is it going to cost?
Those questions came after a legal agreement reached Friday, January 6 which gives Wes Drury 45 days to move out of the building built for the sheriff’s office more than 20 years ago.
Sheriff Wes Drury hasn’t spoken out publicly about this whole legal mess until late Friday morning. Just minutes after the judge signed off on the agreement that gives him until late February to find a new place for his department to call home.
”I’m very disappointed. I’ll put it that way,” said Sheriff Drury.
Drury calls the legal agreement reached a win for his department. Instead of having to move out of this building immediately, he now has 45 days.
Drury hasn’t spoken out since his issues with the county commission surfaced publicly last month, but he claims the public has.
“Stand your ground. That’s what they’ve been telling me. Stand your ground,” said Drury. “That’s what we put you in here for.”
Part of standing his ground involved not agreeing to move into this much smaller space above the county jail, which commissioners offered when they decided they needed his office space to expand the judicial building.
“And I told them from the beginning it was not going to work. And my staff told them that repeatedly,” he explained.
Attorney Danny Moore represented Sheriff Drury. He says me he’s never seen a county commission basically evict a sheriff in nearly 50 years of practicing law.
“But just to take the sheriff who’s the chief law enforcement officer in the county, with evidently no regard for the safety of the people in the community in Scott County--and just tell him, you know, hit the road Jack, is just....I can’t believe that’s actually happened,” said Moore. “As to where he’s going to be relocated, we’re not exactly sure.”
Former Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Oesch served as special counsel for the Commission.
“I think that we’re all just really happy that this is over,” said Oesch. “That we can kind of close the door and move forward. And hopefully begin to put the animosity between the Sheriff’s Department and the Commission behind themselves and start working together.”
Sheriff Drury is now at work on a new budget, since the cost of the move and a new building will come out of the money he uses to operate.
“We’ll see when the budget’s approved. Because we’re going to have some expenditures that we’re going to have to put in there to help to survive,” Drury said.
Sheriff Drury also says he has no idea what renting a building will cost or how long it will take to find one.
Drury also still has an outstanding issue with the commission, involving his former K-9 officer Rex. Last month, the commission overruled the sheriff by retiring Rex and giving him to his former handler, after more than 12000 people signed an online position. Sheriff Drury says he believes Rex can still serve the county and he is still looking at their options.
”Rex had three handlers. And there were several people interested. One previous handler and two current deputies that were interested in him being retired to,” Drury said. “I had no idea the Commission was going to do what they did with that. But that, too, will be reflected in our budget. If they’re going to claim responsibility for the dog then we’ll put a dog in our budget, too.”
But right now, he’s focused on finding a building. Drury’s asking for the public’s help. If you know of a suitable space in Scott County, the sheriff wants to hear from you.
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