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By Ed Thomason

Photo by Ed Thomason •





8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

457 Main Street • Free delivery

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Volume 151


New Madrid, Missouri Friday, September 02, 2016 Number 36

It's About You!








Celebrating 150 Years * USPS 672-980





Photo by Ed Thomason •



Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Brittany DeLaughter,


Branches located at:

• New Madrid

• Lilbourn

• Portageville

It is that time of the year again!

Relay Planning Season is underway. We are now accepting applications

for Volunteers that want to serve on our Event Planning Team. Applications are available by e-mailing

Kasie Jones-Holder, Community Manager at


. Interviews for positions will

start September 1, 2016.

Not really sure what the Event Planning Team is?

Well, Relay For Life Event Planning members help

plan and promote the event. They ensure everything is organized, from recruiting andmotivating teams and

sponsors to planning day-of-event ceremonies. Day-of-event volunteers help with logistics, information,

and many other important activities. Relay For Life team members and team leaders volunteer their time

toward participating in the event and fundraising. The event is an opportunity for communities to honor

cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too


Relay For Life of New Madrid County

will begin meeting September 29, 2016 at the New Madrid

Elementary School Library, at 5:30 p.m. For more information about Relay For Life of NewMadrid County,

please call our office at 573.334.9352.

Relay For Life of New Madrid County


ecently Sheriff Stevens unveiled a new

addition to the department’s fleet of

patrol vehicles. It is different only in three

ways. First, it’s obviously not a patrol car.

Second, it has “stealth” decals that do not

show up as easily in the day nor at night

until a light shines on it (or a camera flash

as seen in the photo above.) Otherwise it

has all the normal equipment of flashing

lights, radio, ballistics vests, etc., that the

other Sheriff ’s vehicles have. But the third

thing that is different is the name across the

back of the truck which says, “Ag Crime

Task Force.” That name best describes its

primary purpose.

Just two months ago New Madrid County

Sheriff Stevens and the County Director of

Special Services Division Jimmy Henderson

along with County Commissioner Bobby

Aycock and Presiding Commissioner

Mark Baker came up with the concept of

an “Ag Crime taskforce” that would utilize

the Sheriff ’s existing ALERT team reserve

unit members. The Sheriff ’s ALERT team

has proven itself as extremely useful over

the years. It virtually doubles the size of

manpower available to the Sheriff. For

example when Sheriff Stevens has an officer

who has taken off for vacation or another

issue, instead of paying another deputy

overtime he contacts one of the ALERT

team members and they will work the road

just like a normal deputy.

The ALERT team has actually been in

existence for 30 years, according to Sheriff

Stevens. “I believe it started in 1986, when

Jake Rone initially created or formed it.

“A-L-E-R-T” stands for “Auxiliary Law

Enforcement Response Team, an acronym

that Jake Rone came up with years ago,”

stated Stevens.

Currently there are 17 ALERT team

members being utilized for this work and

they are located all over the county. Not

just anyone can be on this prestigious team.

They must be trained and qualified and are

hand-picked by the Sheriff. They have all the

same training and credentials as full time

officers and possess the same authority as

any other road deputy. “They have the same

powers of arrest and the same amount of

training as my full time staff,” stated Sheriff

Stevens. “All of them are State Certified

thru the Department of Public Safety thru

the State of Missouri. Each one is a Deputy

Sheriff but they just don’t work full time at

law enforcement.” He continued.

The newly formed Ag Crime Taskforce

utilizes this existing and highly qualified

work force to patrol farms from one end

of the county to the other in order to help

stop crime. The taskforce primarily patrols

at night checking on farm equipment like

power units, pivots, shops, etc. The stealth

decals allow them to get close before the

criminals can flee.

Director Jimmy Henderson added, “We

do this during unconventional hours when

there would not be a deputy nor very many

people out. So if there are people out and

moving at that time, we are going to make

contact and determine their intentions.”

For a number of years the Sheriff ’s

Department has left pre-printed notes

on farm equipment or farm shop doors

indicating that a deputy had made a security

Ag Crime Task Force to receive funding

stop. That way it documents to the farmer

not only that patrolmen had come by but he

also knows when we they came.

“In fact,” stated Sheriff Stevens, “One of

the deputies recently was telling me about

a farmer who called and reported that a

battery had been stolen off one of his power

units. We asked him when he thought it

was taken and he said I know when it wasn’t

taken because you left a sticker there on a

certain day and time so it had to be after


But now of course, the new Ag Crime

Task Force broadens that effort by also

making checks at night.

Stevens noted that they were already

getting a real good response out of the

community and especially the farmers

within the county as a result of this newest

Task Force program. And it is making the

department more high profile and more


"Hopefully it will make a better deterrent

against criminal activity as they become

aware that there is someone else out there

other than the regular road deputies,"

stated Stevens.

ALERT TeamDirector Jimmy Henderson

said, “I tried to get some numbers from

our investigators yesterday, to know how

many thefts we had before the program

started and now. Due to the nature of this

kind of crime, it is sporadic. You may get 5

this weekend and not any for a month and

then 20. But I can tell you from experience

that the night we first went out we stopped

several people. The remainder of the time

we have been out, there have been fewer

and fewer vehicles on the road at that time

of morning or night.”

Commissioner Bobby Aycock added that

the commissioners want the bad guys to

know that if they are out at night and they

see a truck like this, it will most likely be

the law. And the Ag Crime Task Force is

traveling from Portageville to Morehouse,

and fromCanalou to Parma and Risco. They

have been all over the county. In fact, the

first night they went out, they took 3 people

to jail for warrants and drug possession. We

want criminals to know these officers are

not just out looking for stolen batteries. If

someone is doing something wrong they

will get a free ride to jail.

One thing I want to make sure that the

public is aware of is that these officers are

not “rent-a-cops” they are as well trained

as any other officer and they can make an

arrest just like the Sheriff can. If they pull

you over they can take you to jail.”

Director Henderson added, “Yes, some of

us have been doing this for years. And we

have worked for different municipalities,

as well as the Sheriff ’s department. For the

most part we have just as much experience

and training as a full time road deputy.”

There is one other

important addition to the

new program that is truly

a game changer going


Up until this year, the ALERT team

members have always worked with no

compensation. They always provided

their own transportation, uniforms, and


"The only thing that we did was basically

provide them with a commission,” noted

Sheriff Stevens. “The New Madrid County

Commissioners decided that those days are

over with and the county will start footing

the bill to compensate these men who put

their lives on the line for the community.

They will be paid for the hours they work.

“It is still part time but we are going to start

buying uniforms and compensating them

for their time. There is a lot of activity at

night and some are even working during the

day. Now there is more incentive to come

in and transport a prisoner to Pemiscot

County or take a deputy’s spot while he is

on vacation,” continued Stevens.

Sheriff Stevens noted that crime has

definitely gotten worse in the last few years.

The county currently has between 70-80

inmates in the Pemiscot County jail. The

Sheriff accounts this primarily to drugs.

“Meth primarily but Heroin is making

a big comeback right now and abuse of

prescription medication is just rampant,”

stated Sheriff Stevens.

Many who are being arrested by the Ag

Crime Taskforce are individuals that don’t

have a job and are hooked on drugs so they

go out at night to steal to try to pay for their

drug habits.

Commissioner Aycock added, “Farmers,

like home owners have an insurance

deductable. For example when you have a

$5000 deductible and someone steals $1,500

of property that hurts! You think there goes

Christmas this year.

Hopefully this addition to the Sheriff ’s

department will help slow down and

prevent some of the Ag crime going on

in New Madrid County. If so, that will be

money well spent."

If you see or suspicion criminal activity

report it to the

New Madrid County Sheriff 's Department


New Madrid County Ag Crime Task Force

has its own patrol vehicle with stealth decals. Pictured are Sheriff Terry Stevens,

Commissioner Bobby Aycock and ALERT team director Jimmy Henderson. (Note: Camera flash made the decals show up.)




This reflects

the spirit of

what a


and its

school is