An agreement between the City of La Monte and the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office is official after the Pettis County Commission approved the contract Friday morning.
La Monte Mayor Ronnie McNeive signed the city’s half of the contract last week, and Friday’s unanimous vote from the commission made the agreement official. The Pettis County Sheriff’s Office will provide policing services to La Monte beginning Nov. 1. While the contract goes until Dec. 31, 2017, it will renew annually unless otherwise terminated by either party. Sheriff Kevin Bond spoke during a heated La Monte City Council meeting Tuesday evening and he again spoke during Friday’s commission meeting.
“I expect this to be a long-term relationship,” Bond told the commissioners. “I don’t want this to start and then end in six months or a year, although (the contract) has the ability to do that. I certainly walked into that stressing that to the city council and the mayor as well.”
“This won’t work unless you give it time to work,” Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick added.
“We’re having to invest some resources as well as hiring two people that obviously their jobs are dependent upon this contract so we want to make sure it’s a long-term arrangement,” Bond added. “The mayor and city council have agreed to that. I know you can’t make decisions beyond your term, but that’s the general expectation,” Bond said, speaking to La Monte City Councilwoman Terry Drum, who was present.
Bond previously told the Democrat that La Monte would be the first city the sheriff’s office would contract with.
The La Monte Police Department is comprised of Chief Mike Hughes plus two officers, although only one of those spots is filled at the moment. Council voted during its September meeting to authorize McNeive to negotiate with the sheriff’s office to provide policing for the city, which in turn means disbanding LMPD come Nov. 1.
Tuesday’s council meeting included roughly 50 unhappy citizens who say their elected city officials have not listened to their opinions concerning the decision to disband LMPD.
Bond told the commission he would be looking at service calls in La Monte to determine when to schedule the city’s new two full-time sheriff’s deputies, who will be permanently assigned to the city. The deputies will utilize the LMPD station and the La Monte Municipal Court will be utilized for those with municipal charges, with a deputy attending each session; county court will still be utilized for any state charges.
Bond added that the city and county have an additional agreement regarding housing individuals who are arrested in La Monte in the Pettis County Jail.
An oversight committee will be formed and meet at least twice a year to review the agreement and service provided.
La Monte’s fiscal year begins June 1, so the committee will annually meet before that date and again before the end of the year, as the county’s fiscal year begins Jan. 1.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.