About this project
Project Purpose: To collect and archive the personal biographies of Missouri's county sheriffs in digital audio and/or captioned video, and transcript form for future reference and study.
Project Scope: The entire project will include interviews from 114 counties in Missouri. The first phase of the project, for which initial funding is sought, will focus on sixteen counties in northern Missouri.
Use of Funds: Funds will be applied toward travel expenses, data storage, interview time, transcription, and video captioning.
Use of Collected Data: While researching information for my book, Hezekiah Rasco: Child of Woe - Man of Sorrow, it became apparent that a great void existed with respect to the preservation of personal biographies of the state's county law enforcement officials. While some details did make the papers, particularly in relation to major cases they worked on, little was written about the men themselves, what they believed, where they grew up, and why they chose to pursue a career in law enforcement. Having these facts would have permitted me to form a better understanding of the people about whom I was writing. Such information and personal insights would have helped me to understand the culture in which they lived and worked, not to mention the specific challenges they faced during their careers as societal norms shifted and new laws were enacted to keep pace with those shifts. It would have been helpful to know also how changes in technology in their time helped or hindered their efforts to solve crimes and enforce the law.
This project is not merely a fact-gathering project, but one designed to construct a portrait of each man and woman who has served one of Missouri's 114 counties in the role of sheriff. It is important to know how he/she impacted the justice system in their individual counties and what part they played within the broader system of justice in Missouri.
Risks and challenges
The potential obstacles associated with this project are nominal. The greatest challenge relates to the expediency needed in scheduling and completing interviews with retired sheriffs, who may be aging or perhaps ailing and whose memories and insights will be lost with their passing. Too many generations have already passed away without their information being preserved.
Scheduling conflicts may also arise with active sheriffs. It may be necessary to reschedule some interviews to accommodate emergency situations. With respect to this first phase of the project, I am within less than half a day's travel to the furthest county and I will be scheduling multiple interviews with each trip to ensure the greatest number of biographies may be collected each time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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