Sheriff's Dispatch


Hello Benton County, first I want to thank you for your unwavering support! It has been my honor to meet many of you at community events, fish fries, pie auctions and HOA meetings. Now that it is campaign season, I continue to engage you at these events but now the questions are different, and the concerns are directed at the future rather than the present. I will share some of the questions and concerns here.

Over the past 7 and a half years my administration and I have done everything possible to build a sheriff’s office you can be proud of. Under my administration we brought about a bullet resistant vest program; a stop stick program, used to disable the tires on fleeing vehicles; a Taser program with state-of-the-art equipment that is used to save lives as an alternative to lethal force and to save deputies from physical altercations when suspects resist arrest. We have discharged our Tasers in the line of duty multiple times every year, saving the county untold amounts of potential liability since the program’s inception in 2018. We have upgraded your patrol vehicles with cages that were not present when I took office. We traded weapons seized from felons for rifles and shotguns to give deputies the means to defend you and protect themselves against the ever-increasing threats we face in this constantly changing environment where law enforcement is under attack, these weapons were nonexistent in 2017. This transaction did not cost the taxpayers, as the criminals who committed the crimes in our community essentially paid for our weapons. Through the Friends of the Benton County Sheriff’s office, we were able to start a lifesaving drone program and purchase a new K9. My administration designed and built a long overdue and much needed new jail which brought in over 2 million dollars in revenue last year. This increase helped us raise deputy wages up to the current $21.00 per hour from the $12.61 per hour in 2017 and added 26 new jobs to our community with an average wage of over $38,000 annually. We have nearly doubled our training budget and added mandatory trainings as well as new policy and procedures designed to make your sheriff’s office more professional in every way. All the programs and equipment I mentioned above had to have policy and procedure written as we never before had these opportunities. To sum this up, we as an administration have done everything within our budget constraints, to give you the best office possible.

I have been asked the question of why we have trouble keeping deputies, this is not just a local issue. My opponent will tell you it is my administration, I will tell you that it is a national crisis. Agencies across the nation are experiencing issues with hiring and retention. Just listen to news for that assurance or do a quick Google search of law enforcement shortages and it will be confirmed. I was advised that the Independence Police Department was 38 officers short, KC PD was over 280 officers short. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is so short on patrolman that they started a new program to take in prior law enforcement officers and run an abbreviated training program, just to name a few. I do have staff that took a pay cut to work for Benton County because they wanted to work for a great community who supports them and a Constitutional sheriff who backs them.

Over the course of the next four years I intend to continue to build, train and demand excellence of my deputies and staff. We have built back our numbers with top notch law enforcement officers. Currently we are only three short which still causes a strain on the current staff, but is manageable. There is no interruption in our response or our patrols in your area. I have started requiring staff to report into dispatch “extra patrol” in what ever location they are patrolling so I can track it and report to you how many patrols have come through, and what times we were in your neighborhood.

Now that the jail is built and running smooth and the office is operating at a professional standard, one of my goals over the next four years will be to build an animal shelter. You might say “why Sheriff? What does that have to do with the sheriff’s office?” We currently have no place to quarantine dogs who bite people. We have no place to house animals whose owners are arrested on the road. We have no place to house animals when we serve search warrants on homes with animals and no one to take care of them, not to mention all the animals that are rescued from abusive owners. For years my deputies and myself have used our personal time and money to take food to pets when these situations happen to make sure they stay fed and watered. All of this happens much more than you think and I view an animal shelter as a necessity for the community.

Another goal that I have been working on, I intend to start a citizens academy as well as an explorer program for kids. The Friends of the BCSO have been raising funds for a MILO system for a couple of years. This system is a virtual, real-life simulator we will use for training for our staff, scenario shooting, shoot don’t shoot exercises and it will be a safe alternative for our academies. Thanks to the Friends of the BCSO and the community, the MILO system will be purchased in the very near future!

In addition, I plan on creating a water patrol division of the sheriff’s office. We can receive the boat and equipment for no cost through a government excess equipment program and the training from our state water patrol partners. This new program would cost very little to the taxpayer apart from labor. A water division would cut our response time down to minutes for our waterfront calls and a strategically placed patrol vehicle would be accessible to the water division to cut down on response times to our waterfront neighborhoods.

I hope this helps those of you I have not been able to reach and I welcome your questions at future events, and as always, my door is open. Don’t forget to get out and vote! The sheriff’s race will be decided on August 6th since both candidates are republican. You can also vote early starting June 25th inside the Benton County courthouse.

Sheriff Knox