Thursday, February 1, 2024

Bates County Sheriff Chad Anderson's Response to the Missouri State Auditor's Press Release

 From the Desk of Sheriff Chad Anderson

I initially had no plans to address the press release made by the Missouri State Auditor’s Office because I addressed it when the original “whistleblower” complaint was made. I will reiterate what I said then. I will work closely with the auditors to answer any questions about the expenditures the Sheriff’s Office made and the appropriateness of the expenditures.
The Sheriff’s Office has been audited every two years since I took office in 2009 and at every audit my office personnel has provided them with every record they have requested. I respect the requirements and job duties that the auditors have while performing their job for the people of the State of Missouri. However, I believe the “complaint” process is being abused here as a political weapon during an election year for the Office of the Sheriff. Let me be clear, I do not blame the Auditors for responding if they receive a “complaint,” but this has had the intended effect of causing the Auditor to issue media statements that mischaracterize the facts.
The Sheriff’s Office has never purchased any horses for the Sheriff’s Posse. The horses purchased by the Sheriff’s Office were and are for the Mounted Patrol and used by Deputies assigned to those horses. Just like the 4 wheelers, ATVs, K9s and drones purchased by the office, each tool has a respective purpose. The Sheriff’s Posse members that have horses provide their own horses for search and rescue and community events. Citizens volunteer to assist law enforcement across the country, and the Mounted Patrol was a huge factor in a team effort to find a lost and injured 80 year old male in a large portion of rural Bates County. As the Sheriff, I have a responsibility to the community, and that includes using the tools that are available, including through trained staff and community volunteers who help the Sheriff’s Office.
As an elected official, I understand that the Missouri Constitution and law gives broad powers to an elected office holder on how he/she spends the funds within their budget, to promote the general welfare of the public and the community that they serve.
As many of you know, everyone is free to have their own opinions, but that does not allow others to dictate to an elected official how to spend money that has already been budgeted. As many of you know, for 15 years, we have passed all audits, continued to stay within our budget, generate our own revenues to support the operations of the Sheriff’s Office and do not require any funds from the General Operating budget of the County.
Despite this, the past summer I had to hire an attorney before the County Commissioners agreed to issue payment for first aid kits and valuable training the Posse Members received while helping the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office does not pay those community volunteers, and the only expenditures are for limited training, first aid, and safety equipment (flash lights, t-shirts, parade shirts, reflective vests and reflective saddle pads) for the posse to use while volunteering with the Sheriff’s Office. Our Community Policing Program is largely successful and we are extremely active in the communities and are always trying to build relationships within them. The Sheriff’s Office has been instrumental in the success of the county in terms of law enforcement, public safety, and financially as a whole.
When I was elected I swore an oath to perform my duties as Sheriff for all Bates County Citizens and I take that oath serious. I didn’t take an oath to special interest parties, or to please other office holders. I have always bent over backwards to work with other office holders, but I will not allow another elected official tell me how to run the office that I was elected to and have the experience to run. At the county level, no one elected official is in charge of another.
So to the Citizens of Bates County, I pledge to work with the auditors and I will also work with them to address any findings they may have. I pledge to continue to move the Sheriff’s Office forward in a positive manner despite political games and to run the Office to the expectations that you have entrusted me with.
Sheriff Chad Anderson

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