Officers sworn in for new year
Craig Williams, Barry County circuit clerk, swore in a large group of law enforcement officers who serve as county deputies during a ceremony held at the Barry County Judicial Center on Dec. 29, 2011.
Officers from the Barry County Sheriff's Department, the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force and the Cassville, Monett, Exeter and Washburn police departments participated in the ceremony.
"I want to take this time to thank you guys for what you do," said Sheriff Mick Epperly. "You put your lives on the line each and every day. This is not a routine job. Things in this job can change in a heart beat."
Epperly said that this year's ceremony was sad for his law enforcement team, which is losing four deputies and a portion of the Barry County Jail staff due to budget cuts.
Epperly plans to appoint a reserve captain who will be responsible for coordinating the hours of county reserve officers. Several of the deputies who were cut from the sheriff's department staff plan to serve as reserve officers.
"I want reserve hours this year," said Epperly. "If you can just ride with one of our officers, it will help. Any assistance you can give will be appreciated.
"Safety is our number one issue out there," said Epperly. "I want all of our officers to remember that it is better to ask for back-up too early then to ask too late."
Epperly encouraged officers to share information with the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force. He also reminded each officer in attendance that it is their duty to uphold county and state laws.
"You should abide by the laws the same as any other citizen," said Epperly. "Often the citizens are looking at our actions more than we are looking at theirs.
"Remember that there are no heroes in this game," said Epperly. "We all have a job to do. There are no heroes, just officers who work hard."
After the swearing-in ceremony, Epperly took time to personally thank each deputy in attendance.
Many of the law enforcement officers in attendance took time to thank the deputies who were laid off from the sheriff's department this year. Cards of well wishes and appreciation were also given to the officers who have been cut from the county department.