A release from the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department relating to the arrest of Amanda N. Smith, who allegedly drove to the county jail in possession of meth became a popular online read. Some members of the public, including Smith’s mother, were critical of the casual, some considered comedic, perspective of the release.
“Here's the take away — if you're going to commit a couple of felonies, do it somewhere other than the Sheriff's Office. We'll arrest you and put you in jail for committing felonies — especially when you literally come to us to commit them in our presence, on video,” Sheriff Matt Oller wrote in the arrest news release.
He recently responded to the criticisms, writing that the original news release “certainly took on a life of its own that was unexpected,” in a follow-up post to the Audrain County Sheriff’s Facebook page.
Comments on the May 8 arrest news release were varied. Some were supportive of Oller and the deputies, while others questioned Oller’s use of levity.
Seeing this wide range of comments has caused Oller to reflect on the situation, he later wrote. “While I can see some merit in those who thought of it in a negative light, I think perspective is the issue.”
The Audrain County Commission was not able to offer comment Monday, because the full commission was not present, but Western District Commissioner Tracy Graham said it is something the commission plans to soon discuss.
Oller noted in his May 11 response that he would write similar releases for other criminal situations, especially if that criminal activity took place at the Audrain County Jail.
“Though it appeared there was humor, it was not meant disrespectfully, but more to try to lighten the tone of the frustration with what had happened,” Oller wrote, noting facility safety is of major importance.
“As long as someone is putting the safety and security of my staff, the inmates and the jail at risk, they will be called out for it, regardless of the storm that follows,” he wrote.
A majority of comments on Oller’s May 11 posting were supportive of the sheriff and thanked him for explaining the situation.