First Auxiliary Livestock Patrols Completed, 16 February

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The Sheriff's Auxiliary completed it's first round of patrols to protect against livestock theft in the early morning hours of 16 February. The 16th was a full moon, which is a hig-risk period for rustling. Volunteers, coordinating with County Dispatch, spent four hours covering approximately 100 square miles of northwest Lawrence County. The Livestock Patrol program allows the Sheriff's Office to more effectively use limited numbers of deputies in the late night and early morning. Our volunteers followed up by attending the Monett Beef Conference this week to coordinate more closely with the Missouri Cattlemen's Association.
On Monday evening, returning from an ARES meeting in Monett, volunteers discovered dairy cattle in a county road and helped identify the owner.
Common questions asked by cattlemen about our program:
Q: Are we fully authorized to confront and arrest rustlers? A: Our volunteers are not Certified Peace Officers. We are therefore not authorized to use deadly force to protect property. Our volunteers, however, are armed for self-protection. We also have authority under Missouri law to intervene to prevent a forcible felony (e.g. rape) or protect life. Our primary purpose, however, is to put eyes out in the county at high risk times and call in law enforcement to investigate suspicious activity. We have access to law enforcement radios and training to make that coordination possible. For more information on Missouri law regarding cattle-theft and self-defense, see our article, "Missouri Cattle Theft and Defense Laws; Where Does the Auxiliary Fit In?"
Q: Are our vehicles marked? How does a cattleman identify our patrols? A: Our patrols may be either marked (magnetic decals on the doors) or un-marked. Our volunteers will always be in uniform and carrying Sheriff-issued IDs. In all cases, County Dispatch will know who we are and where we are patroling. A cattleman who sees a suspicious vehicle can call the Sheriff's Office to verify our identity. We are also working to develop relationships with local cattleman so that we can quickly verify legitimate movement of livestock or identify livestock out-of-bounds and get them back to where they belong.
Q: When and where will we patrol? A: Clearly, livestock patrols will need to happen at random times and locationsto keep rustlers guessing, but we will concentrate on high-risk times and places identified by the Sheriff's Office. Our objective is to increase the cost and risk associated with livestock theft and deter future rustler activity.


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