DONIPHAN, MO (KAIT) – Law enforcement agencies in Ripley County says they're joining forces to establish the Current River Major Case Squad, commanded by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. According to Jeff Johnson, who will serve as the squad's commander, certain officers from the Doniphan Police Department, Ripley County Sheriff's Office, Conservation Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol will perform specific duties when necessary.
"The purpose for the whole issue I feel like is that we might have a speedy investigation to where we can people arrested where we can get them to the prosecutor to get them prosecuted if we can," said Ripley County Sheriff Ron Barnett.
According to Barnett, the plan has been in place for approximately eight months; however, he said recent criminal actions have created urgency in the agency.
"If you have someone on the loose out here that's murdering people, and burning their houses, the key to that is getting them caught, getting them behind bars, getting it stopped, whatever it takes to get them stopped and when you have, when you're limited to be able to do that, that cuts down on your investigation," said Barnett. "I think that's what really opened our eyes to the fact that, hey, we need someone to take the lead and go take care of this and we need someone to take a lead and go take care of this. Everybody comes back to the commander. Everybody reports back in and brings their leads in and they're all numbered."
Barnett said CRMCS will be registered as a law enforcement unit in Jefferson City. He said the Ripley County Coroner and Prosecutor are also associated with the agency.
"I'm very limited with funds. I'm very limited with personnel. So when you can combine several agencies together, then each one can designate," said Barnett.
Barnett said the unit will be used when there's a major criminal action in Ripley County that poses a threat to others in the surrounding area. Doniphan Chief of Police Mark Rodgers is listed as treasurer.
"We need all the help we can get because that's the main thing is trying to get somebody behind bars that's committed a crime. We don't want them roaming the streets," said Barnett.
Other than the money aspect, police will also be able to keep some manpower closer to their coverage area.
"You have to go and secure the area and somebody has to sit on it and often times I don't have anyone. I have to call someone in, therefore that costs the county money for overtime," said Barnett. "This will relieve that because there will be a squad put together that will able to go boom and take care of that issue and put somebody there and it will just make it a lot better."
Sgt. Joe Joiner with the Doniphan Police Department said multiple agencies working together is good and increases knowledge.
"Conservation agents, they know all the back roads in the county. They know places that I wouldn't know," said Joiner. "There are obviously things each agency can add to make the investigations be completed in a timely manner."
Joiner said it can sometimes take months for police agencies to investigate particular crimes, making a conviction more difficult.
"You start getting a lot of information you need to follow up on and unless you have enough guys assigned to each lead, I mean it takes a long time to get caught up," said Joiner.