On May 5th Police Chief Joe Deckard of the Niangua police department received a $10,000 grant from Webster Electric Round-Up to assist with the purchase of a new patrol car. The current police car, a 2005 Crown Vic’, has been owned by the city since 2009 and has had its fair share of use and wear. “It’s getting older, more break downs, things like that. It’s time to get an updated car,” shared Deckard.
The city of Niangua is a small one, but that doesn’t change the fact that it deserves the same amount of commitment from its law enforcement, including a working car. “I applied for the local law enforcement block grant through the state,” explained Deckard “but it wasn’t enough to buy a car. With the cities funds we just don’t enough the money, so I applied for the Webster Electric grant and with the combination of the two grants we will be able to purchase the patrol car.”
The car they are hoping to get: a “newer to us” 2018 Dodge Charger. “The intention is to get a 2018 Dodge Charger but right now there is a shortage of patrol vehicles so we aren’t quite sure if that is what we are going to end up with. The grant will cover the purchase of the patrol car and the equipment to go with it. We would like to have the car up and going by mid July,” said Deckard.
Officer Joe Deckard started at Niangua Police Department in 2014. “I’ve had family that lived in Niangua. I grew up in Hartville. They (Niangua) didn’t really have a department other than reserves and I wanted to help the community so I started reserving back in 2014. This year I was made full time,” shared Deckard. When asked how she handles the call load alone, Deckard said, “Webster County Sheriff’s Department is amazing, they help me a lot and we work very well together.”
Being a police officer in a small city has its perks, including the opportunity to spend time in the school getting to know the kids and helping them understand what a police officer does. “I am doing a part time resource officer job with the school right now. The kids will say ‘Hey Officer Joe’ and we do the fist bumps and the little kids will give me hugs. I want the kids to feel safe with me. I’m glad that they are comfortable enough to call me Officer Joe. They want me to hang out and push them on the swings. We have fun but I want my presence to be known,” explained Deckard.
And the Chief’s favorite part about being a police officer? “The reason I got into law enforcement was to help, to protect people. I like that I know most people by their first names…stopping and having a conversation with people about how their day is going. I’ve been here so long I can pretty much tell you when someone gets a new car,” laughed Deckard “kids will come to the end of their yard when they see me and say ‘Officer Joe turn on the lights’. I think they are going to be pretty excited when the new car comes.”
This is the first story in the Webster Electric Round-Up Grant recipient series. To read about the other winners, continue to pick up your copy of The Marshfield Mail.
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