Clever’s new police chief has been on the job for almost two months, and he offered a glimpse into just how busy those two months have been.
Chief Jeff Lofton provided a summary of activities to the Clever Board of Aldermen at its meeting May 28. He updated the board of equipment purchases, training, efforts to update policies and set new policies and effort to secure funding from the state for special projects.
Lofton sought price quotes for Tasers, with the lowest of the three coming in at $7,800.
“You’re still looking at being responsible for purchasing additional non-conductive training cartridges, conductive training cartridges for duty and also the batteries, as well—those aren’t cheap,” Lofton said. “We don’t have a huge budget in the first place for training and equipment.”
The Christian County Sheriff’s Office reportedly received a collection of surplus Tasers from the Ozark Police Department. Through a discussion with the sheriff, Lofton reached an agreement for the Clever Police Department to receive three of those surplus Tasers.
“We believe it’s needed, so that’s why I was able to reach out and make this happen,” Lofton said.
Clever will still be responsible for purchasing batteries and cartridges for the Tasers. The police department will not issue Tasers to officers on an individual basis, but qualified officers will check out Tasers along with other equipment at the starts of their shifts.
“Kudos to you on finding resources to get them for free,” Clever Mayor Jaredd King told Lofton. “Good work.”
Lofton is also making sure all Clever police officers are certified to carry oleoresin capsicum spray, also known as “O.C. spray,” best known as “pepper spray.” The Clever Police Department recently made equipment purchases for O.C. spray.
“Personally, I’ve utilized OC spray a lot more than I have a Taser in my career, so that is more prevalent as far as what we might have to deal with,” Lofton said.
Lofton was announced March 20 as Clever’s next police chief. He previously worked as a captain of the patrol division of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, reporting directly to Sheriff Brad Cole.
Two other former deputies, Kainon Bouldin and Logan High, were sworn in as Clever’s two newest patrol officers on April 16, the same night Lofton took his official oath to lead law enforcement in Clever.
When he wasn’t updating equipment, Lofton was at his desk updating policies. One of his first acts as police chief of Clever was to begin a full review of the police department’s policies and procedures manual. He told the board of aldermen that he hopes to have some reviewable items to them by mid-June.
“I can tell you it’s a very time-consuming process, so you know where to find me. If I’m not running around, I’m doing that,” Lofton said.
On May 28, Lofton got word that the Clever Police Department was back in good standing with the Missouri Department of Transportation to receive mini-grants for special traffic enforcement projects. The grants generally pay overtime wages for police officers to enforce specific laws, such as driving while intoxicated laws or distracted driving laws.
“Everything is squared away, so now that we are clear, our officers will be able to go on and earn extra cash doing traffic-specific types of operations,” Lofton said.
The Clever police also received a boost for training materials. A Missouri Police Chiefs Association grant through the Missouri Department of Transportation will make much of the Peace Officer Standards and Training program (POST) available to Clever police officers online at no cost. Lofton explained that police officers are required to undergo at least 24 hours of POST training on an annual basis.