Throughout his career, Jim Arnott has believed in a boots-on-the-ground style of leadership. “I lead from the front,” the Greene County sheriff says.
As examples, he cites working with deputies on service calls and investigations that allow him to share his knowledge with those who are newer to the force while fostering a team atmosphere. He says he wants to instill in his deputies a sense of values that encourages kind, respectful law enforcement.
Even when the need for aid is well outside Greene County’s 670-square-mile jurisdiction, Arnott is ready for action. He cites the 2011 Joplin tornado as an example.
“I responded immediately with several deputies and created and managed a mobile morgue operation to respectfully process the deceased,” he says.
Arnott began serving as Greene County sheriff 12 years ago, winning reelection in November 2012 and 2016. He’s up for reelection this year.
This came on the heels of retiring after a 20-year career with the department, during which he served as chief deputy and rose through the ranks over 15 years in the Criminal Investigations Division.
Arnott says his proudest professional accomplishment so far is is beefing up the staff of the department in order to improve response times and increase safety for deputies.
Arnott holds a leadership position with the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association – he’s immediate past president – and has membership in the National Sheriff’s Association.
He also has been involved with many other groups focused on issues related to law enforcement. Examples include chairing the Underage Drinking Task Force and project director for the Combined Ozarks Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Team Drug Task Force board, as well as on the county’s 911 advisory board, Drury University Law Enforcement Academy advisory board, FBI Terrorism Task Force and the FBI Academy Alumni Association.
Locally, Arnott shows his commitment to the community by serving on the board or volunteering for many nonprofit organizations, including Isabel’s House Crisis Nursery, Victim Center, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, United Way of the Ozarks and Child Advocacy Center.
Arnott says he is working to improve and grow many ongoing programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Citizens on Patrol and D.A.R.E. But his primary focus at the moment is the $155 million project to build a new jail on 23 acres at Division Street and Haseltine Road in northwest Springfield.
Arnott says when the project is complete in two years, jail capacity will increase to 1,244 from 709, relieving the pressure on the Greene County Jail, which has to pay to house overflow inmates in other counties.
“The increase in staffing will create 230 new jobs in Greene County,” Arnott says. “When I began my first term as sheriff in 2009, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office had 170 budgeted positions. The 2020 budget for the sheriff and jail supports 457 positions to serve the needs of the citizens of Greene County.”
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