(Photo by Scott Welton, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Scott County law enforcement services are now more accessible on the southern end of the county.
The Scott County Sheriff's Department Satellite Office at the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores went into full operation this week, according to Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter.
Located on the northwest corner of the mall, the satellite office is accessible at both the main entrance to the mall and from the store side where the north and west buildings of the mall meet.
The idea for the satellite office came up in March when it was proposed by Laurie Romas, the mall's manager.
"We thought it would be an ideal location for a public service," recalled Chuck Devers, owner of the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores. "Laurie suggested Rick's office."
Devers noted Romas is the daughter of a well-known former local law enforcement officer: "Her dad was the police chief of Sikeston for about 20 years."
Walter said the Scott County Sheriff's Office formerly had a satellite office around Sikeston some years ago and recognized this as a great opportunity for his department.
"It keeps my guys on the south end instead of having to drive back and forth to the middle of the county," Walter said. "It also keeps people from having to drive to Benton for statements."
And the terms offered by the mall couldn't have been any better: a $1 per year lease. Additionally, the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores paid to have the locks changed and for the window graphics and signage, "so it was a complete turn-key package for the Sheriff's Office," Devers said.
"The price was right," Walter agreed.
Equipping the office is also being achieved at minimal cost.
Walter said computers for the satellite office were bought from state surplus inventories while Devers said the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores will be providing a broadband Internet connection for them.
"The mall is also going to provide new office furniture," Devers said.
Devers said Scott County Sheriff's deputies will also have access to the mall's copy machines. "We're going to help them with their office supplies and all that stuff," he said.
As road deputies are now able to use the satellite office to file reports, the department will not have to spend as much money for deputies who are patrolling the southern areas of the county on fuel going back and forth to Benton for paperwork.
"I'm looking to cut costs any way I can," Walter said.
The office will not be staffed but is available for use by deputies 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Residents can use the satellite to submit a statement or do other business with the department there by calling the Sheriff's Department to arrange for a deputy to meet them there.
There is a visitors' lounge and vending machines located directly outside of the satellite office which is open from 8:30 a.m. till 9 p.m. where people can wait for a deputy to arrive Devers noted.
Devers said he is happy to help the Sheriff's Department out as the satellite office will "save the taxpayers some money" while also adding services.
"We've had just terrific support from the Miner Police Department," Devers said. The addition of the Scott County Sheriff's Department Satellite Office right there in the mall, however, is "just one more notch up on the security for our folks here at the mall -- both for the shoppers and our store owners -- so it's just an ideal relationship."
"This is really a great deal," Walter said. "We're always looking for ways to be more cost effective. This is really going to help us."