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Councilman: SPD, National Guard Partnership Raises Red Flags

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A partnership between the Springfield Police Department and the Missouri National Guard may have its advantages, but one city councilman says it raises red flags.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A partnership between the Springfield Police Department and the Missouri National Guard may have its advantages, but one city councilman says it raises red flags.

Through this partnership, the Missouri National Guard would pay for an analyst to work with the Springfield Police Department.

The department says they'll have the analyst digging into drug cases but, councilman Burlison says this could help the military become entrenched in Springfield.

Springfield Police Captain Dave Millsap says how the partnership between the Springfield Police Department and the Missouri National Guard would work is pretty straight forward.

“This will give us an opportunity to take an analyst and dedicate it do drug trafficking, drug distribution, our illegal gangs we have,” says Millsap. “Our gang problems we encounter that will be their concentrated effort.”

Millsap says the analyst will be able to focus on the drug trade in Springfield in a way street detectives cannot.

“Another thing we want this analyst to concentrate on is we have a lot of illegal distribution of prescription medication,” says Millsap. “They'll be able to take very vague information and delve into that and start mining that.”

Millsap says the partnership could help crack down on heroin, meth and cocaine and potentially have an affect on violent crime.

“What I want to be able to do with this particular analyst is have them focus on our heroin trade that we are starting to see more of here in the city,” says Millsap. “And I want them to continue to focus on methamphetamine and crack cocaine and the nexus of, the drug trade is often tied with our violent crime including our gang activity that we have in Springfield.”

Springfield City Councilman Doug Burlison says this is a way for the military to get their foot in the door in Springfield.

“This violates a time honored tradition of "posse comitatus" which is fancy wording for we don't want to see law enforcement and our military mix or work together especially in a domestic type situation,” says Burlison. “And that is because of the fear of tyranny.”

Burlsion says this concern needs to be taken seriously.
“Now I know people will laugh and scoff and they are going to go ‘how oppressed are you going to be with one National guardsmen doing some intelligence analysis?’” says Burlison. “That is not the point. The point is the precedent that it sets, that's a little blurry.”

Millsap says this analyst will be unarmed and will spend their time behind a desk.

“The analyst is completely support staff is not a commissioned police officer, will not be a commissioned police officer will not be working the streets,” says Burlison. “They'll simply be taking information generated by the Springfield Police Department, information we gather and analyzing that information.”

Millsap says this analyst is provided free of charge to the city. Burlison says the potential danger is simply not worth the work for the price.

The Missouri National Guard says this is a voluntary program currently taking place in twelve places in the state of Missouri at the federal, state and local, level.

Some of the programs in Missouri include Jefferson, Jackson and Franklin counties.

Major Tamara Spicer says this was made possible in the 1989 national defense authorization by congress.

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