The City of Houston recently named lifelong resident Jeremy St. John as its new emergency management director (EMD).

St. John, 34, was born and raised in Houston and replaces Bennie Cook, who resigned to take a position in Congressman Jason Smith’s Rolla office.

St. John holds several other positions locally. He is a court deputy for the Texas County Sheriff’s Department (TCSD) and a reserve officer with the Houston Police Department, and has been in volunteer fire service for 18 years and is currently assistant chief for the City of Houston Fire Department and a captain for the Houston Rural Fire Department. He spent several years as a reserve officer with the TCSD and Licking PD, and was also an assistant for Cook and multiple other EMDs since 2009.

St. John said he plans to examine all potential improvements, and he also intends to expand preparation procedures in keeping with the current state of the world, nation, state and local area.

“We’re living in a whole new era now,” St. John said. “We have terrorism, bomb threats – like the one recently at the Justice Center – and active shooter situations. This is stuff that didn’t have to fall under emergency management until the last several years, but now it’s needed.

“You hate to have to do it, but you need to plan for it.”

St. John said storm shelters in downtown Houston and at Texas County Memorial Hospital will both be open during times of severe weather capable of spawning tornadoes, and the town’s tornado sirens will continue to be tested at 9:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month. He said the way the sirens are sounded in cases of real threat is being reviewed, but for now blasts will solely indicate threats and no blast will be sounded as an “all clear” signal.

In moving forward, St. John hopes to have people get involved

“I need help from the public,” he said. “If people in the community are willing to volunteer some time, I’ll have things for them to do.”

St. John can be reached by phone at 417-217-2161 or by email at

“I need help from the public. If people in the community are willing to volunteer some time, I’ll have things for them to do.”


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