Springfield, Mo — Greene County leaders may ask voters for a law enforcement sales tax increase. The Springfield-Greene County Safety & Justice Roundtable asked county commissioners to put a ¼-cent sales tax on the November ballot. Members reviewed the issues facing Greene County's criminal justice system. If commissioners decide to ask for the increase, they must have it certified by August 30.
Inside the Greene County Jail, one correctional officer often watches over more than 100 inmates in a pod. “Each day that we have corrections officers in harm’s way is living on borrowed time,” Greene County Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock said. “I cringe to think at any given morning we could have a riot or a fight break out in the pods.”
Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch says the overcrowding is part of a systemic problem. “These are things that trouble me a lot,” Bengsch said. “They also carry with them the potential of major lawsuits that the county cannot ill afford.”