Future of Scott County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center unknown; moving sheriff’s office on hold

The Scott County Sheriff says he is concerned he may lose his 911 Dispatch Center if proposed changes go into effect
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 10:47 PM CST
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BENTON, Mo. (KFVS) - Scott County Sheriff Wes Drury is expressing his concerns if proposed changes to the county’s 911 dispatch center go into effect.

County commissioners are considering consolidating the center after receiving a proposal from Scott City leaders.

Currently, if someone calls 911 in Scott County, the call goes to one of three different dispatch centers.

Scott City leaders presented a report to the county commissioners on January 12 detailing their desire to take over dispatch services for the county, except for the Sikeston Department of Public Safety (DPS) dispatch center.

This means 911 calls in the county would only be received by centers in Scott City and Sikeston, eliminating calls to the sheriff’s office center in Benton.

Since the proposal, records show commissioners have discussed the consolidation plan at least eight times.

Other discussions included the legal impact of the consolidation and the cost of keeping a center at the sheriff’s office.

“The county commission is trying to save money which I understand, I’m looking at it as a public safety issue,” said Sheriff Drury.

Scott County 911 Communications Director Angie Rodgers believes consolidating the centers would be a good idea, but she doesn’t agree with the plan being proposed.

Rodgers is concerned about the consolidation contract.

She says is does not include the employment of her staff.

“You may have to tell them in a few months or six months that I’m sorry we don’t have a job for you now, it makes it really hard to want to bring, to be able to bring people in,” said Rodgers.

She also explains the Scott County 911 Dispatch Center was recently renovated.

“It was hard to even to this day even deal with and accept that they are looking at tearing down what we just built here,” Rodgers said.

The consolidation proposal is not final. Stay with Heartland News for updates.

As for the future of moving the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, this plan appears to be on hold.

A legal agreement reached in January between Sheriff Drury and the Scott County Commissioners gave Drury 45 days to move out of the current office to a new location.

Commissioners had originally wanted the sheriff’s office to move above the jail in order to make a new courtroom.

Sheriff Drury said this move would have put his office into smaller quarters, which would not work.

This led to a legal battle ending in the agreement for Drury to find an alternative building to house the sheriff’s office.

The cost of making additional court space has now changed the minds of commissioners.

They don’t have the money to do it.

According to the minutes from the commissioners’ meeting on February 7, the work could cost up to $600,000.

County leaders say that price is out of reach and the sheriff’s office will remain for the time being.

Sheriff Drury has agreed to move the evidence room so the space could be used by the court.

Commissioners have agreed to give Drury 60 days notice if they decide to move his office again.