Keeping up with law enforcement duties in the county that covers more land than any other in Missouri is always a challenge.

But as the Texas County Sheriff’s Department forges ahead in 2023, something new will provide the agency a tremendous boost in meeting that challenge: A 3/8-of-a-cent sales tax approved by voters last April that specifically benefits the agency.

“We’re very grateful to the voters,” said Sheriff Scott Lindsey. “I feel more positive about our financial situation that I have since I became sheriff. I have more resources available than any other sheriff in the history of Texas County, and I’m very thankful for that.”


Interestingly, the TCSD’s total calls for service were down significantly last year, as deputies responded 8,689 times compared to 9,427 in 2021 and a record 9,972 in 2020.

“I can’t come up with a great reason for that,” Lindsey said. “I guess I’m hopeful that it’s because there’s a reduction in crime, but that hasn’t really been the trend. But I’m going to take that as a positive.”

Nevertheless, some call categories saw notable increases, often reflecting society as a whole.

“I think people sometimes feel like Texas County is isolated from some of the woes of society,” Lindsey said. “And that’s true to some extent, but all of the challenges that face other counties throughout the state are eventually here.”

•Disturbance or fight calls totaled 103, up from 73 in 2021.

“That’s a pretty big jump,” Lindsey said. “But that’s what we see in society these days; people are quick to argue and get in physical altercations over things rather than trying to talk it out.”

The Texas County Sheriff’s Department is led by Sheriff Scott Lindsey, right, and Chief Deputy Rowdy Douglas.

•There were 149 harassment calls in 2022, up from 117 in 2021.

“I expect this to keep going up,” Lindsey said. “I would say that a lot of these are online situations; that’s becoming a huge issue and I become really concerned about it when there are threats of violence. I know our school resource officers throughout the county deal with a lot of cyber bullying and cyber sex crimes, and things like that are being caught up in these numbers.

“I think people sometimes feel emboldened when they’re behind a keyboard or on their phone and they’re not face-to-face with a person, and as prevalent as social media is in society these days, I don’t see this going down any time soon.”

Lindsey said some of the things reported as harassment are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“People are sometimes disappointed when we tell them others have the right to express their opinion, even though you may not like it,” he said. “I believe in the First Amendment, and I believe that we have to have thick skin and listen to other peoples’ opinions. The First Amendment is such a great freedom we have here in the United States, and we can’t limit that.”

•Calls related to mental health totaled 103 in 2022, versus 94 in 2021.

“That’s not necessarily all bad,” Lindsey said, “because there are more resources out there for that type of thing. But again, when we look at society as a whole, mental health issues are certainly a big thing.”

•Deputies assisted in 112 motor vehicle accidents, compared to 98 in 2021.

Lindsey said that’s mainly because the Missouri State Highway Patrol made manpower shifts and local troopers now work both Texas and Wright counties instead of being assigned to one or the other.

“They’re spread out more than they used to be,” Lindsey said. “We used to have about 10 troopers assigned to Texas County alone, but now that’s combined with Wright County. That’s a lot of ground to cover for those guys and it’s increasing the number of times we have to assist them.”

•Domestic violence calls actually dropped, with deputies responding to 200 as opposed to 239 the previous year.

“That’s a good thing,” Lindsey said. “But I feel like when those numbers are up, it’s not all bad, because that means there’s awareness out there and people are reporting domestic violence. I hope the fact it’s gone down doesn’t mean people are afraid to report it.”

•Traffic stops also decreased, with 458 in 2022 and 640 in 2021.

“One of the reasons that could be down is that the deputies are busy following up on criminal cases and just don’t have the time to do as much proactive stuff,” Lindsey said.


Along with Lindsey and Chief Deputy Rowdy Douglas, the TCSD’s roster currently includes 10 patrol deputies, three court deputies and one officer who “floats” between duties.

Primarily due to the addition of the tax funding, deputies have received raises and ranking officers now receive more than those without rank.

“In my mind, we will never pay them what they’re worth,” Lindsey said, “but the goal was to pay a competitive wage and I think we’re there. And now we have a good starting wage, and if you have rank, you get paid accordingly.”

At the county jail, administrator Kyle Gross, assistant administrator Luritta Baker and the facility’s 14 jailers are now also paid more than before, and employee turnover has subsequently decreased.

Operation of the Texas County Jail is overseen by administrator Kyle Gross and assistant administrator Luritta Baker.

“We still have some turnover,” Lindsey said, “but it’s from one or two spots being open instead or five or six, and we haven’t had to have a road deputy covering the jail in quite a while.”

Lindsey hopes to add two more deputies this year.

“That would help a lot,” he said. “Right now, the deputies have to carefully balance their time between following up on cases and being proactive, and while follow-up is always our number one priority, that would allow them to do more proactive stuff.”

Some of the “proactive” portion of a deputy’s time is spent making traffic stops.

“People often ask why we do traffic stops,” Lindsey said. “It’s not about writing tickets, it’s because criminals are driving through the county and we want to deter and detect crimes though traffic enforcement.”

Each TCSD road deputy has a “take home” patrol vehicle. Two new patrol vehicles are soon to be purchased.

“Some of our older vehicles are pushing 10 years old and have 150,000-plus miles on them,” Lindsey said. “I know that some members of the public think ‘I have an old truck with that kind of mileage on it,’ but you don’t ask your old truck to drive to an emergency at high speeds every day, or patrol some of our county roads that are in pretty rough shape. Those miles on our patrol vehicles are rough miles.”


All over the United States, fentanyl has – in only a couple of years – become a huge issue in the realm of law enforcement.

Last year, TCSD deputies responded to 33 drug overdose calls in 2022, compared to 22 in 2021. Lindsey attributes that in large part to fentanyl.

“We’ve certainly seen an increase in that,” he said. “Over the years in my career in law enforcement, we didn’t see very many drug overdose deaths at all. There were a lot of problems with methamphetamine, but people were not dying instantly from that. There was an occasional death from meth, but I think it was slowly killing people whereas it can be instantaneous with fentanyl.

“Unfortunately, I feel like it’s a national epidemic. And I am of the opinion that until we have some sort of solution at the southern border, fentanyl will continue to flow into the United States and we’ll be dealing with the consequences.

“We’ll do what we can on a local level, but we need some help.”

In general, Lindsey said things look good at the TCSD, especially because of the tax.

“We’re excited that we have funding for training and equipment, and to keep good people here,” he said. “I feel like we have the resources to make a difference, but that also means the expectations from the public are higher because they know they invested some money in us and gave us the resources to do a better job.

“So now the expectations I have of myself and our employees will be higher; we’ve got to step up, and I think everybody here does a good job of working hard and trying to accomplish the goals of making our community a better place to live.

“I realize the bar has been raised, but I think it was time for it.”

Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at

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