Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holiday Lull

A brief lull in the forward progress of the project over the holidays. Folks are traveling and yours truly has gone a couple of rounds with the usual fall/winter viruses. But, things are back on track.

I am preparing for a follow-up interview with one of Nodaway County's retired sheriffs, and I have one more known retired sheriff in Harrison County to reschedule.

At present, I am working to get in touch with the sheriffs from Atchison and Gentry counties and schedule interviews with them for the following month. I hope that the weather will cooperate as there will be some local travel involved in completing those.

I hope everyone has had a pleasant and fun-filled holiday and is looking forward to a bright and happy new year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Moving Right Along

The Missouri Justice Project is still several months ahead of the original schedule I had set up. And yet, I feel like I should be moving faster. 

I was blessed to get to sit down with one of Holt County's retired sheriffs on November 16, and it was a terrific interview. He had to weather three major environmental disasters in his first two years in office. No sooner had the county began to recover from one than it seemed another was flowing over the horizon or raining from the skies. The transcription is nearly completed on this interview. I will be sending it back for final review before printing the copy to be donated. 

Last night, I was able to sit down with one of Nodaway County's retired sheriffs, one of the very few, if not the only one, to have served more than three terms. I am eager to begin transcribing that interview and making it a part of the Nodaway County archives. 

I stand amazed at the large-scale issues these men have had to deal with in their terms as office, and how they have handled themselves with such courage and professionalism in the midst of such challenges. Each of them credits the men and women who have served as their deputies, dispatchers, and administrative staff. They all felt a strong sense of "family" to the people in the department, and took their responsibilities to their counties very seriously. 
A common thread through all the interviews so far is the sheriffs' fondness for working for and with people, even when their decisions are unpopular. Dealing with people daily is the one aspect of the job they miss the most. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Interview #2 is done.

All in all it was a great day. I finished interview #2 for this project and I will begin typing it up tomorrow. Interview #3 is on schedule for next Saturday, and possibly #4.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Retired Holt County Sheriff Passes Away

Melvin Hayzlett, former sheriff of Holt County, Missouri passed away this last Tuesday, September 22, 2015. I had the privilege of sitting down with Melvin, his wife, and his daughter, to talk about his life and his career in law enforcement.

He will be missed by all who knew him. He spent many years serving Holt County in the role of sheriff.

You can see more recent updates to the Missouri Justice Project on its Facebook page or on Twitter @MissouriJustice.

Monday, September 14, 2015

First Interview!

I had the privilege of sitting down and talking with a retired sheriff from Holt County, Missouri on Saturday. His wife and daughter joined in the interview, which only added to its quality. The interview actually lasted a bit longer than the scheduled hour, and I am grateful for his generosity with respect to his time, his memories, and his insights, as well as those of his wife and daughter.

The press release for the project will go out this week, as will the advance mailings to the sheriffs offices. Already, two more interviews are lined up, with the next one occurring next Saturday. The project seems to be developing a momentum of its own, and that's a wonderful thing.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Interviews Moving Ahead.

Even though interviews were not expected to begin until January of 2016, it looks as though the project is gaining a momentum of its own. Interviews one and two are already slated to take place in September of this year, with numbers three and four soon to be added to that schedule.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

First Interviews Scheduled

The first two interviews for the Missouri Justice Project are on schedule for September of 2015.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Kickstarting the Project

A great deal of planning and organization, as well as advance research, goes into a project of this scope. That's the phase I'm in right now, the preliminary work. I have been building databases, making decisions on the layout of transcripts, developing graphics, and checking on equipment that will be needed. That work is progressing fairly well. The blog, as you can see, is still somewhat under construction but coming along nicely. I hope to begin adding more information for readers very soon. 

The Kickstarter campaign is nearly ready to launch. I hope to reach the funding goal by December 31, 2015 and begin scheduling interviews in January of 2016. The project plan has been submitted and is undergoing review. Those who wish to contribute to the project may do so through the Kickstarter campaign once it's approved, or directly with money orders via regular mail or through the PayPal link to the left. Be sure that your name, and location if you wish, is listed on your money order or in the message section of the PayPal link so I can get your name added to the project contributor's page. 

It's exciting to finally get started with this project. When I was conducting research for the book on Hez Rasco, I found that there was very little information in the archives about the sheriffs who were the lead investigators on the case. I wanted to know more about them, but the information had been lost to time. The newspapers provided some information, but the focus, logically, was on the accused, not the investigators. It is my hope that this project will provide future researchers with basic biographical data about Missouri's sheriffs, whether they are researching a specific case or collecting information about the people who served in that role. They have played a key role in developing and improving the system of justice in Missouri. 

I have a personal interest in this project. My father, Roger Cronk, served as sheriff of Nodaway County from 1976-1980. Our family resided in the old jailhouse, originally built in 1882, and cared for the inmates during their incarceration. I plan to secure for this project, and the family archives, his information, thoughts, and perspectives of his term as sheriff and some detail about the challenges he faced. His interview will be included with the others to be collected. 

It is my belief that the Missouri Justice Project will fill a previously overlooked section of Missouri's history, the men and women who serve or have served as sheriffs in Missouri. Too many generations have already passed without their histories being secured. You can learn more about the different phases of the project and the counties involved in each as they become available. Each phase will have an independent page, the link to which will be found at the top of the blog.

Thank you for taking time to learn about the project. I look forward to providing you with additional updates as the funding deadline nears and the project begins. 

Susan Cronk