A Cole County court has upheld a Missouri law that supplements county sheriffs’ deputies on a competitive grant basis. Judge Richard Callahan ruled to uphold a law passed by the General Assembly in 2008 that puts a $10 charge on each subpoena, summons or other order of the court delivered by sheriffs’ offices, with that money going to deputies.
Mick Covington with the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association says there’s a big need for the extra funding. Lawmakers passed the law after finding the statewide average wage for deputies that year was just more than $22,000 a year. It’s expected the $10 fee would raise that average to $28,000.
St. Louis and St. Charles counties had contested the law, saying it’s unconstitutional. The suit claims the state can’t collect for county services, but Covington says county sheriffs carry out state court orders.
He says many full-time deputies are working below the poverty level and some qualify for public assistance programs such as federal housing or food stamps.
He expects the counties will appeal the court’s decision, but is hopeful the legislation stands.