United Way of Pettis County presented a $4,590 check to the Sedalia Police Department for $4,590 Thursday afternoon.

This funding will be used to purchase a drug incinerator.

The drug incinerator will destroy 15 to 25 pounds a month of prescription pills brought over by the Pettis County Sheriff’s Department, where a collection box is located.

Around 350 to 500 pounds a year of drugs, paraphernalia, etc., are collected as evidence by the Sedalia Police Department, which is later destroyed.

Executive Director Caterina Riddle said Thursday that United Way of Pettis County “dipped into their mental health and substance abuse coalition funds, which is one of the United Way initiatives” to purchase the incinerator.

Sedalia Police Chief Matt Wirt said the incinerator will allow the SPD to dispose of evidence and prescription pills in a safe way.

“It provides us a way to do it more often and more efficiently, so we can get those drugs off the street faster. Right now, they are hauling those drugs to another place to get disposed of, which costs time and money, so it's more efficient way to do it for both departments,” Wirt said.

Pre-COVID, there were typically a couple of events the SPD participated in that allowed area residents to drop off expired prescription drugs and other medications to be destroyed.

“The DEA no longer take the drugs to be destroyed, so we have to find our own means to do that,” Chief Wirt said.

In the photo: Members of the Sedalia Police Department witness Chief Matt Wirt accept a check from United Way of Pettis County Executive Director Catterina Riddle on Thursday afternoon.