Buchanan County voters demonstrate strong support for law enforcement

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Buchanan County voters brushed aside the national negative
narrative and calls to defund the police to show overwhelming support for law
enforcement in Tuesday’s election.

Unofficial results from the Buchanan County Clerk’s office
tell the story:  6,653 voted in favor of
the quarter-cent law enforcement sales tax with only 1,925 voting against. That
is an incredible 77.56% to 22.44% split in support of the issue that will pay
for deputy pay raises and additional staff on the Buchanan County Sheriff’s
Department.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett says the county placed the
issue on the ballot after the county survey showed law enforcement was a top
priority of county residents.

“I think it goes to show that the citizens have spoken, not
only in the survey, but as well in the overwhelming majority support for law
enforcement and what they want in our community and how they want it done,”
Puett tells St. Joseph Post. “We’re so greatly thankful and appreciative to everyone
who supported it.”

Puett says he didn’t assume an outcome while watching election
results come in.

“You’re always nervous, but I know we have an outstanding
community. We have a great community,” Puett says. “So, it doesn’t surprise me when
we have our outstanding citizens get out and show this level of support for law
enforcement.”

County officials project the quarter cent increase will
generate $3.6 million annually. The money will be used to increase deputy
salaries, which according to Puett, have failed to stay competitive with
neighboring sheriff’s departments, such as those in Clay and Platte Counties.
It also will be used to fill vacancies which now plague the department as well
as add law enforcement officers.

Puett says this emphatic statement from the voters will boost
morale among his staff.

“Well, I think it will have a dramatic impact, a huge shot in
the arm.”

Puett says this vote proves the community supports law
enforcement.

“This is not the stuff you see in the national rhetoric and in
other places,” Puett says. “We don’t have that kind of community here. We have
an outstanding community that supports its law enforcement and wants the problems
addressed.”

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