Recent calls from a group claiming to be a part of the sheriff's department attempting to solicit donations have angered residents. And while Sheriff Dennis Crane is not sure who is making the calls, he cautioned citizens not to give money to the group.
"The Missouri Sheriff's Association does not solicit money over the phone," Crane said. "They only use mailings to known past sponsors."
Mick Covington, Executive Director of the Missouri Sheriff's Association concurred.
"We have never used telemarketers," Covington said. "We never have and never will."
Covington said the group uses a direct mail campaign to prospective new members and existing members for renewals.
The Missouri Sheriff's Association is a 501c3 organization, registered with the Missouri Attorney General's office.
"Anyone interested in finding out how the money we get is utilized can use the attorney general's website," Covington said.
The Check a Charity function allows people to type in the name of an organization and find out where the money is used.
"Nine percent of our funds are used for administrative and housing costs," Covington said. "Ninety percent goes directly to our programs and training facilities. Over the last four years, we have graduated the largest amount of licensed police officers in the state."
Crane said if someone wanted to give money to any charity, they should contact the organization themselves, rather than give money to someone who contacts them over the phone. Covington agreed.
"In my experience, the majority of the money given goes to the telemarketer and not the organization," Covington said. "They are pulling 80 to 90 cents out of each dollar so the money is not getting to where the person thinks they are sending it."
Crane said even money going to the Sheriff's Association does not necessarily go directly to the sheriff's department.
"If people think their specific sheriff is getting the money, people should know all the money given is divided between the 114 counties' sheriff's departments," he said. "A lot of the money goes to their training facilities, so people who go there for training and different things are helped."
Crane said that does benefit the sheriffs and their deputies around the states because of the good training facilities, but he wanted to make sure people knew the money was divided.
"It does benefit us," he said. "But if people want to donate and they want all the money to go to our sheriff's office, they should send it to Callaway County directly."
Covington said if people want to become members of the Sheriff's Association and donate money, they can find the information online at www.mosheriffs.com.
"If someone does call and say they are from the Sheriff's Association, it's a fraud. We have not done that and are not going to do that," he said. "People need to report that to their local sheriff's department and any numbers, names or organizations they can get would be of interest so we can pass it on and get civil or criminal remedies against it."