Recent tensions between the sheriff’s departments in Warren, Montgomery and St. Charles counties are affecting other law enforcement agencies in the county, according to Andy Huston, Truesdale police chief.
Huston made the comment last week during a regular meeting of the city’s board of aldermen after he was asked about the situation by Alderman Stanley Brookshier.
However, Huston asserted that if a law enforcement officer from another agency requests assistance, “Everyone will be secured. We will back up any officer.”
Additionally, he said the tense situation between the three sheriff’s departments has not compromised the safety of police officers in Truesdale.
“Safety-wise, we’re OK,” he stated.
Tensions have been elevated between the St. Charles Sheriff’s Department and sheriff’s departments in Warren and Montgomery counties following the conviction of Christopher E. Hunt, a St. Charles deputy sheriff, on a felony burglary charge and two misdemeanor charges of assault and property damage.
Hunt appealed the sentence handed down by Warren County Circuit Judge Keith Sutherland.
Following Hunt’s conviction, St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer instructed personnel with his department not to travel into Warren or Montgomery counties to assist sheriff’s deputies in those counties.
However, Warren County Sheriff Kevin Harrison and Montgomery County Sheriff Bob Davis, instructed their personnel to continue to assist deputies in St. Charles County, if the need arises or if assistance is requested.
The charges stemmed from a February 2009, incident involving the arrest of Phillip Alberternst, who was wanted at the time by authorities on several felony drug charges, according to published reports.
Alberternst’s girlfriend reportedly led authorities to him the night the incident occurred, but she did so on the condition that Hunt not be involved in the arrest, according to Nicole Volkert, Montgomery County prosecuting attorney.
A public relations effort called “Hunt for Justice,” which was kicked off by supporters of Hunt, was officially endorsed last week by the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police.
“On behalf of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, we are pleased to fully and completely endorse the efforts of Hunt for Justice in their support and pursuit of vindicating Detective Christopher E. Hunt,” Kevin Ahlbrand, president of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement. “After considerable research, it is out stance and belief that Detective Hunt was acting in accordance with his lawful duties as a police officer at all times.”
According to the Hunt for Justice website — huntforjustice.net — a $10,000 reward is being offered to people who live or work in Warren or Montgomery counties who voluntarily provides “factual information or evidence that would ultimately lead to the overturning or acquittal of the wrongful conviction” of Hunt.
Neer told The Record that deputies from Warren County and Montgomery County changed their stories when they testified against Hunt.