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Audrain County Sheriff's Office
Mexico, Missouri
 

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The Sheriffs of Audrain County


Audrain County was established on December 17, 1836. The city of Mexico was founded the same year by Rev. Robert Mansfield and Mr. J. H. Smith, who donated twenty-five acres of their land on the condition that the town would be the county's permanent seat of justice. The donation was accepted by the commissioners and was approved by the circuit and county courts.

In 1837 an auction sale of town lots was held to benefit the county's building fund. Enough money was raised to later that year build an 18 foot by 36 foot, one story log courthouse, which was used until the spring of 1839, when a two story brick version was constructed in the center of Mexico on the public square. At that time, the office of the sheriff, who was kept busy arresting those committing such crimes as larceny, playing poker, and selling liquor without a license, was located in the courthouse. For a time, the courthouse actually served triple duty as it hosted Sunday services of different denominations until churches could be built.

The first murder in Audrain County occurred in 1840 when one man allegedly struck another over the head with a weeding hoe, resulting in an indictment of manslaughter in the fourth degree and a sentence of six months in jail and a $325 fine. Historical records boast that Audrain county carried out only three legal executions and never had a lynching. In fact, one early report states, "The residents of the county from its earliest settlement have been of the most law abiding class and crime has been kept at the minimum".

In those days, the Sheriff was not allowed to succeed himself. Many times, the sheriff, chief deputy, or brother often traded terms serving as the sheriff. The first sheriff that served successive terms was H. Ross Vance. Sheriff Vance was elected to the Office of Sheriff in 1948 and served 20 years for Audrain County.

In 1924 the county built a new jail, by the railroad tracks, along South Clark Street. At the time it was built, it was considered to be the best of all jails in Missouri. The jail was built as a maximum-security jail and it was built with gallows. It was erected to house federal prisoners. It was located by the railroad tracks so that the federal prisoners could be transported, by rail, from St. Louis and Kansas City. In 2000, after the current jail was operational, the commissions sold the old jail to a local business entrepreneur.

At the time (February 1924) that the jail was being erected, the sheriff, Chalmus Blum was shot and killed by a man near the railroad tracks, not very far from the site of the jail. Sheriff Blum was summoned to investigate a complaint of a man being drunk and disorderly. The events of Sheriff Blum's murder happened almost exactly the way the sheriff was killed in the movie "Places in the Heart". Immediately after the murder of Sheriff Blum, his brother (J. Ernest Blum) was sworn in as the new sheriff. Sheriff Blum's killer was granted a change of venue to Montgomery County. He was tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, and hung in Montgomery County. If he had not asked for and been granted a change of venue, he would have been hung in the newly built gallows of the Audrain County Jail. Shortly after the jail was erected, the death sentence on the county level was outlawed; and the gallows of the Audrain County Jail were never used.

The Audrain County Jail also served as the living quarters of the Sheriff until 1980. Sheriff Arthur A. (Bud) Riley was the last sheriff to live at the jail. Sheriff Riley's successor turned the living quarters into office space for himself and his deputies.

A 1/2 cent sales tax proposal was submitted and passed by the voters in 1997. With the passage of the sales tax, a new jail was constructed on the east edge of Mexico. The Sheriff's Office moved into the new jail in October of 1999. The address of the new jail is 1100 Littleby Road.

The current sheriff, Stuart D. Miller, is a lifelong resident of Audrain County, a graduate of Mexico High School, and a graduate of Truman State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Business Administration. Sheriff Miller is certified as a law enforcement instructor, with over 5000 hours of criminal justice education. He is currently serving his eighth term in the Office of Sheriff, serving longer than any other sheriff in the history of Audrain County. Sheriff Miller serves on the Board of Directors of the East Central Drug Task Force, is a past board member of the Missouri Sheriff's Association, he is a board advisor of the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad, a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Mexico, and is or has served as a member of many civic and professional organizations.

Sheriff Miller currently employs 1 chief deputy, 18 jailers, 9 patrol officers, 2 detectives, 3 court bailiffs, 2 transport officers, 3 record's officers/administrative assistants), 6 volunteer deputies, 1 custodian, and 4 drug task force officers. Two of his administrative assistants are trained as victim advocates who act as liaisons between his deputies and the victims of crime.

His office offers a scholarship to graduating seniors who are pursuing a career in criminal justice. He sponsors a cadet program for high school aged youth. The cadets assist his jailers, and they ride along with the deputies while on patrol. Sheriff Miller's deputies also provide for the citizens of Audrain County self defense classes, training on the concealed carry handgun law, bicycle safety, home safety, and other law enforcement topics. His investigators clear around 30% more of all burglaries and thefts than the national average. His deputies have also been responsible for over 2000 drug and alcohol arrests since his election to the Office of Sheriff in 1984.

Sheriff Miller and eight of his deputy sheriffs are certified as law enforcement instructors by the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Sheriff Miller and his deputies teach law enforcement classes through the Missouri Sheriff's Association. These officers (instructors) enable him and his deputies to provide continuous education to Audrain County and other area law enforcement agencies. In 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and again in 2010, his office along with the Missouri Sheriff's Association sponsored a 700 basic law enforcement academy and they are looking forward to sponsoring another one sometime in the near future.

Sheriff Miller has joined forces with the cities of Bowling Green, Mexico, Montgomery, Warrenton, and Vandalia, the counties of Montgomery and Warren and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to form the East Central Drug Task Force. Sheriff Miller applied for federal grants to fund the task force. Through his efforts, he has secured nearly 4 million dollars to help the task force officers combat the drug problem facing the east central region of Missouri. Sheriff Miller and his deputies have also received money from grants for the purchase of radio communications, LiveScan fingerprinting, Iris scanning, mobile data terminals (laptop computers for his patrol cars), and other safety equipment.

Current emploees of Sheriff Miller have relatives who have served with the Audrain County Sheriff's Office over the past years. Major (chief deputy) Don Uhey's grandfather (Sheriff Paul E. Hammett) served as the Sheriff of Audrain County from January 1, 1937 through December 31, 1940. Another former sheriff, James Beatty who served from January 1, 1945 through December 31, 1948 is the father of Col. Roy P. Beatty, USA Retired. Col. Beatty's wife (Bonniejean Miller), is Sheriff Miller's aunt. And, Sheriff Miller's father (Daniel R.) served as a reserve deputy sheriff under Sheriffs Arthur A. (Bud) Riley, and Gary D. Kitchen and as Court Bailiff (Deputy Sheriff) under Sheriff James A. Barber.


The Sheriffs of Audrain County

The following is a list of Sheriffs who have served Audrain County since it became a county in 1836.

Sheriff's Name

Sheriff's Term

Stuart D. Miller

1985 - Present

James A. Barber

March 18, 1980 - 1984

Gary D. Kitchen

January 15, 1980 - March 17, 1980

Arthur A. (Bud) Riley

1973 - January 15, 1980

Harold L. Sulgrove

1969 - 1972

H. Ross Vance

1949 - 1968

James (Jim) Beatty

1945 - 1948

Robert William Baker

1941 - 1944

Paul E. Hammett

1937 - 1940

Emmett S. Haycraft, Sr.

1933 - 1936

Churchill (Pap) Kennan

1929 - 1932

C. H. Fox

1925 - 1928

J. Ernest Blum

February 11, 1924 - 1924

Chalmus L. Blum

1921 - February 10, 1924

James G. Ford

1917 - 1920

J. William Barnett

1913 - 1916

J. B. Woolery

1909 - 1912

Price Johnson

1905 - 1908

Quincy James

1901 - 1904

M. N. Melson

1897 - 1900

Joseph N. Stephens

1893 - 1896

G. W. Adams

1889 - 1892

John W. Atchison

1885 - 1888

D. D. Woodard

1881 - 1884

H. Glascock

1877 - 1880

John Steele

1873 - 1876

William H. White

1871 - 1872

Joseph W. Carson

1866 - 1870

Hamilton Hall

1865

Amos Ladd

1863 - 1864

John W. Gamble

1863

Alexander Carter, Sr.

1861 - 1862

Franklin Cave

1857 - 1860

William Hendrix

1855 - 1856

Joel Haynes

1851 - 1854

Samuel B. Gass

1847 - 1850

A. B. Tinsley

1841 - 1846

Jack Willingham

1839 - 1840

James M. Hicks

1836 - 1838

James Jackson

Appointed in 1836, but refused to serve.

 

Updated 2006-07-07


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