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New community policing project in Jasper County - KOAM TV 7

New community policing project in Jasper County

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Some residents in Jasper County, Missouri are being told to expect regular visits from sheriff's deputies.  It's part of a new trial community policing program, something that's already around in many cities, but not necesarily out in the county itself.

The sheriff's deputies are spending some free time going to people's homes to talk.  This simple objective often times takes residents by surprise.

"This is the first time, that we're aware of, that we're trying to morph it into a county one, see how it works," says Captain Derek Walrod of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.

"Sheriff's office shows up at your house, a lot of times your immediate thought it is 'oh what did I do?  What happened?" says Corporal Matt Smith of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.  "The whole idea is to deter crime."

"Normally, you go to an area, you don't even know how to get a hold of somebody in say a non-emergency situation," says Jasper County resident Dalton Anderson.

The Jasper County Sheriff's Office is focusing on a section east of Joplin and Duenweg that is about 28 square miles but only has 230 residents.

Detectives say this target zone has a high number of burglaries and thefts.

"They don't have neighbors nearby and nobody is really watching," says Captain Walrod.

So deputies are starting a database, turning their job from a reactive position to a proactive position.

"We have two teenage kids that live at this house," Corporal Smith says about one location.  "So if we show up and there's a driveway full of cars and there's a party going on, we have a good idea of who's supposed to be here and who isn't."

Deputies also want to know if there's a problem with people speeding or any other issues of safety.

"Especially since they gave out email," says Anderson, the rural resident.  "It's something you can just leave them when they have the time and they're not busy with another work load."

The conversation isn't always about crime.

"Do they need food, do they need clothing, do they need help paying utilities, electricitiy, those types of things," says Corporal Smith.

Police hope to form relationships with residents, something based on the type of care that police say prevents problems from happening in the first place.

This trial program will last for a few months before the sheriff will look at how well it's helped.  Police say success depends on whether or not they see a decrease in crime.

If the program continues, deputies will move on to a different location but old target locations will still have irregular visits from deputies.

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