Workers of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office come together to remember the life of Sergeant Scott Arner, who died on duty 15 years ago this week.
Marinda and Scott Arner were married for 19 years. Sergeant Scott Arner was a 13-year veteran of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
Marinda says, "He would go down the road, and if there was a cow running loose, he would help the farmer get the cow back in the field. One time, he helped someone deliver some puppies!"
Scott Arner was a sniper, a K-9 handler and trainer. Kids knew him through various presentations at school. Deputies looked-up to Arner.
"He was somewhat of a legend," says Chief Deputy Derek Walrod with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
"Whenever they would go in...knock on the door and go in and do something, Scott would always go first, because he wanted to protect the people behind him," says Marinda.
He cared for the law breakers, too.
"He would have them in the car and he would talk to them about their lives and what they were doing, all the way to the station, to try to make them change so their lives would change for the better," says Marinda.
January 4, 2002. Arner, a diver, was helping the Missouri State Highway Patrol search a mine pit lake near Joplin, an area called "Snowball."
"His flashlight stopped moving," says Walrod.
Walrod was watching Arner swim under some ice.
"Pretty short after that, the bubbles quit coming up, and then we went in after him," says Walrod.
Officials speculate a malfunction with Arner's diving equipment caused him to drown. Arner's wife, at home, saw deputies come to her front door.
"They said they tried to get there fast enough to get me to the hospital in time to say goodbye to him. But I didn't get a chance to do that," says Marinda.
Today, you'll see and hear about Arner's strong legacy. Chief Deputy Walrod, only deputy at the time of this tragedy, often asks himself, 'What would Arner do?"
"People will still mention Scott. When somebody does something with K-9, 'Well, Sergeant Arner taught me this.' And that has been 15 years ago," says Walrod.
There's a treehouse Arner built for his daughter, and a dog named Lizzy Arner gave to his daughter for Christmas just a few days before his death. Lizzy, now old in dog years, has a few special memories of her own with Arner, as pictures show.
"It was important to Scott to make a difference," says Marinda.
...and he did. Arner was 44-years-old.
Officials never found a homicide victim's body believed to be in the old mine pit lake. Since Arner's death, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office relies more on the Missouri State Highway Patrol for divers.
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