A look at crime numbers in Texas County in 2018, as provided by the Texas County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies with the Texas County Sheriff’s Department generated 2,422 written case reports in 2018, compared to 2,839 in 2017. Sheriff Scott Lindsey said that wasn’t because crime was down in the county, but can instead be attributed to the overall state of the department during a year when the former sheriff was arrested and charged with multiple felonies.

There was turmoil mid-year as James Sigman and his chief deputy were removed from office. In the months leading up to Sigman’s July arrest, most of the department’s deputies and key staff members departed.

Lindsey was elected sheriff during a November special election. Many of the employees who left were rehired.

“Based on everything that happened, with a lot of open positions and the public not feeling comfortable about calling for quite a while, it’s not a surprise that we saw a significant drop,” Lindsey said.

One murder occurred in Texas County last year, and a total of 34 violent crimes were reported –– including murder, assaults and rape. As is the case with all recent years, property crimes were relatively commonplace, including burglary, theft and arson.

But Lindsey, who took office after a special election in November, said he doesn’t find anything alarming about the county’s crime statistics from 2018.

“There’s nothing on there that stands out to me, as far as showing we have a huge crime wave or a huge reduction,” he said. “I think the numbers are average for our jurisdiction, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want them to go down. That’s always the goal.”

Lindsey said some changes will be made that should help officers locate more stolen goods.

Sheriff Lindsey

Scott Lindsey is in his first full year as Texas County Sheriff.

“We know property crimes are going to occur, we just want to do a better job of clearing them when we can, and finding people’s stolen property,” he said. “I have some plans that will hopefully help with that; we’re going to upgrade our technology with our computer system so we can hopefully track stolen property better, and I’m hoping that will lead to clearing more cases.”

Lindsey said crime statistics don’t depict the level of drug abuse in Texas County, and that methamphetamine continues to be a major problem. He said area law enforcement agencies have seen big changes in how it’s distributed.

“It’s gone from home labs to larger quantities being brought in,” Lindsey said. “From an investigative standpoint, we’ve had to adjust our tactics to deal with that, and that’s going to be an ongoing problem we need to address.”

Lindsey said most crimes in Texas County are somehow related to drugs.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”<p class="p1">"I would be comfortable in saying that almost every crime statistic is somehow related to substance abuse.” </p> <p class="p2">-<strong>TEXAS COUNTY SHERIFF SCOTT LINDSEY<span class="s1"> </span></strong></p>” id=”7734c06a-2088-4ba6-ae81-9bef759a1cc1″ style-type=”quote” title=”Scott Lindsey” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

“I would be comfortable in saying that almost every crime statistic is somehow related to substance abuse,” he said. “Whether it’s meth, opioids, some other drug or alcohol, 99-percent of the crimes we deal with involve people who have made a poor choice either because they’re feeding a habit or they’re under the influence and not thinking clearly.”

The Texas County Jail saw 1,226 people incarcerated in 2018. Lindsey said the 72-bed facility has been maxed out recently.

“The population has been up quite a bit,” he said. “We’re above capacity right now. When I started, we were averaging around 60 a day, but for the last two or three weeks we’ve been at 72 or above.”

Lindsey said his department is almost fully staffed, including a roster of 10 full-time deputies.

“We have an opening for a full-time jailer,” Lindsey said, “but other than that we’re at full staff. I’m very pleased with the situation. As far as the road deputies, I have a lot of experienced people who are out there being very proactive making cases.”

Lindsey said the daily operation of the jail is going well and is benefiting from the addition of highly experienced jail administrator Tim Garnica.

“We have some enthusiastic young people in there and some people with lots of experience, too,” Lindsey said. “I feel like there’s a good balance there and under Tim’s leadership, I feel like the jail has turned itself around completely. We still have work to do, as far as how we train and how we follow policy and procedure, but I feel very good about the steps we’ve taken there.”

County crime statistics from 2019 will look different, Lindsey said, as the way deputies document responses to calls for service will change.

“We’re changing the way we do our reports, so we’ll probably see our case numbers go down not matter what,” he said. “We’re cutting down on the amount of paperwork deputies do; we have a list of mandatory reports, but the kind of stuff that’s handled by an officer in a routine contact, that’s where we want to avoid tying them up with paperwork.”

The TCSD recently turned its dispatching over to Texas County 911. Lindsey encourages all citizens wishing to report a crime or emergency to call 911.

The sheriff’s department phone number – 417-967-4165 – now features a menu allowing people to contact the jail, the secretary in charge of civil process or the office in charge of concealed carry and ATV permits.

“I would be comfortable in saying that almost every crime statistic is somehow related to substance abuse.” 


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