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Analysis Shows Lack of Accountability, Low Morale at Christian County Sheriff’s Office

Scott Harvey

An operational analysis of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office calls on the soon-to-be-elected sheriff to create an environment of openness and transparency.

Ron Hartman was hired earlier this summer to review the department’s administrative, patrol and criminal investigative divisions in the wake of former sheriff Joey Kyle’s resignation and federal conviction.

Hartman is a former major within the Springfield Police Department.

In the report, he says that while the current policy manual establishes personal responsibility and accountability; Hartman cites deputy interviews in which he learned that these polices are not consistently followed and accountability is lacking at all levels.

“This lack of fairness and consistency, or perception of same, is a negative blow to agency morale and ultimate service to the community,” he stated.

Four candidates are vying for Christian County sheriff in a special election on Tuesday.

Hartman says that the person elected must create an environment through which “policy/procedure is taught, learning is validated, and ALL members of the organization are held fairly to the same consistent standards.”

Hartman says he was provided a CD containing 81 policies pertaining to the Christian County Sheriff’s Office non-jail operations. That includes policies such as use of force, weapons and emergency operations. He says the manual was generally consistent with contemporary law enforcement practice.

“Overall, the Christian County Sheriff’s Office appears staffed with personnel that are intelligent, committed, and interested in serving their community,” Hartman wrote in his summary. “They are definitely experiencing low morale, but exhibited a positive attitude towards the future of a new Sheriff and leadership to provide them with consistency and stability.”

He listed four action steps or considerations for the next sheriff. They suggest that the elected candidate set goals, objectives, and benchmarks for agency performance; establish a process that gathers data to ensure shift structure and staffing; set guidance directing officers what to do on duty; and coordinating an in-house contingency assessment concerning various issues the offices are likely to face.

Hartman notes that the report should not be viewed as a comprehensive and all-inclusive analysis of the agency, as this would require several months of data collection and real time related assessment.

View the full report here.

Scott joined KSMU in November 2012. He had previously served five years as news director for KETR-FM, the public radio station in Commerce, Texas. A graduate of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Scott enjoys producing human-interest stories, among other pieces that educate and engage the community. When not at work, he’s often taking part in outdoor activities, exploring new areas and restaurants, or staying up-to-date with the latest news and information. Scott was born and raised in Shenandoah, Iowa.
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