After the death of a local sheriff’s deputy, officers in southwest Missouri’s Greene County are getting extra help from local police departments.
Deputy Aaron Roberts was killed last Friday after his patrol car was swept away in high floodwaters.
People are stopping by a memorial set up for Deputy Roberts outside the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. People are laying flowers all around it.
Sheriff Jim Arnott says the department received overwhelming support from surrounding agencies under a mutual aid agreement.
“It’s very important for us to all join together as sheriffs and as fellow law enforcement officers to help,” Arnott said.
Arnott says mutual aid is a state-wide statute passed a year ago.
“It’s essentially anytime that anybody needs assistance, we’re good to go there, they’re good to come here,” Arnott said.
Several area police departments are helping out the Greene County Sheriff’s Department including Springfield Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Arnott says his officers are surrounding Deputy Roberts’ family with love and support.
“But we also have staff that are struggling with some of the things they had to deal with,” Arnott said. “And so we’re working together to support each other. You know it’s not like a regular business where we can put things on hold.”
Arnott mentioned his staff couldn’t even locate the car that night until the water receded; it was a tough night for everyone.
“That’s why we do it,” Arnott said. “We’ve gone as far as Texas and other places to take calls for other agencies because we know what it means, unfortunately, we’ve been through this before. I’ll tell ya the one thing that I have learned is that there’s an outpouring of love amongst police officers and firefighters and EMS and it’s been awesome. The community has been fantastic.”
Other agencies will remain in the area for support until the end of this week.
“There could be five different agencies to cover our calls for service, so it’s going to be a little bit different for a while, but they’ve been doing fantastic, handling our calls and eventually once we get everybody through debriefing and we’re good with everyone this emotional stability, we will start implementing deputies back out on the road,” Arnott said.
The Greene County Commission ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff today in honor of Deputy Roberts. The flags will remain at half-staff until his funeral.
Roberts will be laid to rest on Thursday.
Over the weekend almost all of the $25,000 Go Fund Me goal had been donated.
On Saturday, the Green County 100 Club presented the Roberts family with a $25,000 check. The News-Leader reports the group supports families of fallen law enforcement personnel and firefighters.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed this report