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Missouri sheriffs will be able to help each other with less red tape

police car lights
Jason Rojas
People who report drunk drivers in Illinois this New Year's weekend could get $100 dollars through the Drunkbusters program.

A new law signed by Gov. Jay Nixon last week will make it easier for county law enforcement agencies in Missouri to assist one another in an emergency.

House Bill 1936 removes language in state law that only allowed a county sheriff's office to lend immediate assistance to a bordering county. Cole County Sheriff Greg White says the new law will reduce red tape.

"When a tornado went through Pettis County (in 2011), we were willing to go assist Sheriff (Kevin) Bond with helping them and giving their deputies a few hours off to deal with their family issues," White said.  "But we had to have mutual aid agreements and blah-blah-blah … and we did do it, and it did work for (Sheriff Bond), but it wasn't as seamless as it could have been."

White said it will also make it easier for an outside law enforcement agency to render assistance in cases of officer-involved shootings.

"For the sake of transparency, I would like to have an outside agency come and work that … and in our case, Boone County is close and they're a big agency and I would trust them to do that," he said. "But if we had to go farther away, Cape Girardeau County, about the same size (as Cole County), could come and render assistance to us much, much faster (than before)."

House Bill 1936 also contains duplicate language found in another signed bill making police video recordings a closed record.

The new law takes effect Aug. 28.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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