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Greene County Sheriff's Department Plans for New Year

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- The Greene County Sheriff's Department is planning for the new year. The department continues to battle a crowded jail and recently faced budget cuts. Sheriff Arnott hopes for a peaceful 2014.
GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- We all have our New Year's resolutions and the Greene County Sheriff's Office is no different.

With a crowded jail and an increase in the county's crime rate, Sheriff Jim Arnott is hoping 2014 will be more peaceful for Greene County.

"The homicides are always difficult to deal with," says Sheriff Arnott.  "And child sexual assault is high, so I'm hoping to see a dip in crime stats."

Which would also help with Greene County's crowded jail.  There are currently 677 inmates there and only around 180 correctional officers.

"The biggest challenge in 2014 will be the hiring of additional correctional officers," says Sheriff Arnott.  "We're about 20-30 down and it's just tough to recruit people to work there.  We are going to focus on sending inmates out and keeping jail staff safe and with that comes the budget because it comes at a cost."

The Sheriff's Office also recently faced budget cuts.  That's something Sheriff Arnott says will be a big challenge in the year ahead.

"We need to stay within the budget," Sheriff Arnott says.  "That's probably our biggest challenge this year.  It's going to be tough because we took a significant cut and funded some additional staff and things to keep our operations going."

Arnott says jail overcrowding seems to be the new normal.

"We used to panic when we had 550 inmates," says Sheriff Arnott.  "That was the highest we could get.  Now, we routinely have right around 600."

The most important thing for the Sheriff's Office this upcoming year is to continue protecting and serving Greene County.

"Property crime is up still in the county and the city," says Sheriff Arnott.  "So we really want to work on that.  We hope we don't have officer involved shootings and we are hopeful we will have a peaceful year."

Sheriff Arnott says the jail will be remodeled which will free up around 50 beds which will provide additional space.
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