Fair Grove, Mo. down to one full-time police officer, Greene County Sheriff steps in

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 5:58 PM CDT
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FAIR GROVE, Mo. (KY3) - The Fair Grove Police Department originally had six police officers and planned to drop down to five, but then it dropped to only one full-time police officer.

Fair Grove Mayor Steve Short said the city made an inter-government agreement with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in order to receive additional support while it works to fill the vacancies. In the meantime, Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott has stepped in as active police chief.

“What Sheriff Arnott is doing is helping us re-establish our police force,” Short said. “He’s streamlined it.”

Short said Arnott has provided several additional resources during the time-being.

“He’s allowed more of his county cars to be driving or patrolling through Fair Grove,” he said. “And also the Greene County citizens patrol has a presence in Fair Grove now.”

Short said the sheriff has also made suggestions about personnel and pay raises.

“Sheriff Arnott was very straightforward in saying were one of the lowest paying departments in Greene County,” Short said. “And to attract a better a candidate we need to increase our pay schedule.”

Short said the city is discussing increases in pay, but it will require council action. He said he feels confident the city will increase the pay for the police department.

Short and the city’s lone police officer, Patrick Williams, went around to several local businesses to explain the situation. Many of the businesses said they appreciated the two of them providing an update.

“I didn’t really know the full situation, so it was really nice that they came in like face to face and told us kind of what was going on, what the plan was and everything like that,” Fair Grove business owner Anna Sutherland said.

Sutherland said the visit was reaffirming and created a nice sense of transparency.

“I know that they definitely have a plan,” she said. “I mean I trust them. I think they will take care of it. I think they are on it, especially for them to come to the shop when they did not have to.”

Short said he wants the police department to have a bit more of a community focus to it once things are finalized.

“We want to see more of a community policing effort,” he said. “Especially one that works with the school and all the businesses.”

Right now the one police officer works during the day, the rest of calls are handled by the county. But Short said once things are settled, he expects the police department to return to its 24/7 policing efforts.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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