On Monday night, Warrensburg Police Chief Rich Lockhart recommended to City Council that his department join the Joint Operations Law Enforcement Task Force.

The task force is made up of officers from Pettis, Johnson, Henry, Hickory and Benton counties, as well as officers from the ATF.

The main office for JOLETF is located in Sedalia, but Lockhard said members operate throughout the area. One officer would be chosen to serve on the task force, and his/her salary and benefits are already in the city's budget, he noted.

The task force provides the officer with a vehicle and equipment, and also reimburses overtime up to $17,000 a year.

Lockhart also noted that the department would be eligible to receive proceeds from forfeitures the task force conducts.

Participation in JOLETF, or JOLT, as it's referred to, is voluntary and can be termined at any time, he said.

Chief Lockhart explained how the program works:

"It's a rural ATF task force. We've been invited to have one of our officers be a part of it. The officer is already on staff, so it won't be adding any positions to the budget. But what it does for us though, is it provides us with a federal resource, so should we have a crime here that extends beyond Warrensburg, which most crime does, we'll have the assets and availability to be able to go out and investigate that crime," Lockhart told KSIS after the meeting.

"This is a permanent position, the ATF will pay the overtime for the officer, up to $17,000 a year, they provide him with a vehicle, equipment, and any things they need to participate. Our only obligation is to provide salary and benefits, which we're already doing, so we're getting a force multiplier without us costing is any more," Lockart noted.

The police chief added that he was pleased with the positive response he received from Council after his presentation.

"I appreciate the support they gave to it, and we're looking forward to bringing an asset for the community of Warrensburg that we previously didn't have," Lockhart concluded.

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