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Community Safety

New Critical Incident Team Announced in Southwest Missouri

Michele Skalicky

Three local sheriff’s departments have announced a new Critical Incident Team.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

The Greene County, Lawrence County and Webster County Sheriff’s Offices will deploy the team, comprised of deputy sheriffs from the three agencies, to conduct critical incident investigations.  The team’s services could be used when law enforcement personnel are shot or shot at or discharge a firearm.  The team also might be asked to investigate when there’s use of force, including the use of a vehicle as a weapon, by or against the counties’ law enforcement personnel that causes serious physical injury or death.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott hopes the creation of the team will increase transparency within the offices.

"We feel that teaming up with two different sheriffs--they're in adjoining counties--that we can show that transparency to our constituents and let people know in the day where questions about law enforcement actions are happening everyday, that we are trying to be as transparent as possible," he said.

Arnott said the recent police shootings and protests across the country led to the decision to form the team, which will start out as a pilot project.  He said the team will include two members from the agencies not involved in the critical incident being investigated.

When asked if diversity was considered when putting together the team, Arnott said:

"It will be who we have as an investigator, so there's no selection--we're gonna put the best investigators whether they're black or white or what on the team, so that doesn't really factor into our choice of who's on it," he said.

He said the team will replace the criminal investigations each office’s deputies would normally do.

According to Arnott, there have only been two or three incidents in the last two years where the Critical Incident Team’s services would have been used.