Letter to the Editor

With respect, Shelby Road purchase is wrong

Friday, November 8, 2019

Well, it has been talked about, argued about, discussed about and the people of Poplar Bluff spoke their piece about the purchase of 58 acres of land on Shelby Lane for the location of the new Poplar Bluff Police Department. I never personally attended one meeting regarding this, rather I chose to sit at home and watch the unfolding on YouTube.

I personally have mixed emotions about this situation as I too at one time was involved in local law enforcement. I will speak my peace with this and be done.

I honestly feel the City Council did the city a complete injustice purchasing this property. Now wait a minute before you coppers get yourself in an uproar. I continue by saying, I do not think buying 58 acres was the right choice, I am not saying you do not need a new facility.

I listen to people argue about why 27,000 square foot was too much for a facility. My thought is, is this enough? I would not care if they built a 40,000 square foot facility because in reality, people do not know what kind of space a good police department needs to conduct professional business.

Some think it is just more space for laziness. Not true. If people would sit back and really think to themselves, “What exactly would I need to make a sufficient police department run?” You would be amazed.

Let me give you a little rundown. You have to start with the heart of the department with the dispatch area. Granted you do not need a massive dispatch, but you do need room. Next you will need office spaces for the chief, asst. chief, clerical, shift commander, squad room, etc… You will need an evidence locker, meeting spaces, holding cells, booking room, locker rooms for male and female staff and this is just the beginning.

Now, going back to my original quandary. Why 58 acres? I read in the paper, the seller did not want to sell parcels of land but all together. Okay. Then we do not buy there, we buy somewhere else. Why from a bank and not a local land owner? It seems to me the council took the easy way out.

I am disappointed in some manners presented on the video by two friends of mine in both Marks, Richardson and Massingham, comments I thought were very rude and inappropriate. I was also disappointed in Ron Black with his outburst. I did not hear anything from Barb Horton or Lisa Parsons. Steve Davis put his two cents in but at least Steve is somewhat familiar with law enforcement with his father, rest his soul, and his brother being prior LEOs. Mr. Cornman I do not know very well but he seemed like more of a, “yes man”, than anything else. I know Ed DeGaris and Robert Smith and I feel they did their due diligence in this matter.

I am not saying this because they are the two who voted against the purchase, but I felt these two were the most open and polite individuals on the council and realized this was way too much land. I know this will ruffle some feathers with the others on the council because as I stated, I do think highly of all of the council members as it is a job someone has to do but no one wants to do it.

I personally live in the county, so I felt it was not my place to intervene but I do however feel obliged to write this. In closing, I think the world of Chief Danny W. and I always will as we have worked together in the past. Danny, I am happy and proud of what you have done for not only this City but the entire County.

I just really hope people can get over this and move forward and the City Council does not come out looking like fools. Remember, as you all know and have been told many times, “You were voted into office BY the people. To work FOR the people and not against them,” and I feel you have let them down tremendously. I hope your conscience can live with this decision. As I told Steve Davis by text, as a Christian man, I will pray for each one of you, you have made the right decision but only time will tell.

God Bless You All

Roger Burton,

Poplar Bluff, Mo.