Area high school students attend County Government Day
Malta Bend Memorial Post No. 558 hosted the annual County Government Day held Friday, March 2.
In attendance were more than 100 students from Marshall, Sweet Springs, Slater, Santa Fe and Malta Bend. Also in attendance were members of five American Legion Posts – Marshall Post No. 191, Sweet Springs Post No. 279, Charles E. Bollman-Frank T. Markovich Post No. 78 of Slater, Tieman-Blackburn Post No. 478 of Blackburn and Malta Bend Memorial Post No. 558.
The first stop was visiting the Saline County Courthouse where presentations were given by Saline County Presiding Commissioner Kile Guthrey, as well as Judges Page Bellamy and Hugh Harvey. The students toured and learned about various county offices in the courthouse. Students spent the day learning about various roles within the county.
After lunch, the teens went to the Saline County Justice Facility where they toured the facility, where they saw the booking area, a restraining chair, a holding area, as well as heard about the process deputies use when an individual is brought in to custody.
Jail Administrator Garrin Allen and Deputy Mike Ashpaugh explained that a variety of people come through. And while dangerous situations can arise, those situations are handled quickly and efficiently.
"Generally, everybody here is mellow," Allen said.
He said there was an individual who came through with a violent felony, but once he was processed his violent tendencies decreased and became one of the better inmates.
However, Ashpaugh noted he was injured while tending to a fight.
"It was in one of the B pods over there," Ashpaugh said. "Me and another deputy was fighting a guy … and I got kicked across the face."
He received a concussion as a result of the altercation.
"But it happens," Ashpaugh continued. "That guy is now doing 37 years in prison."
He said he turned to law enforcement because he wanted to help people.
"I was a corrections officer for 11 years," he said. "I worked in the prison in Boonville. … We do help people."
Allen said he has served as jail administrator for the past three years, and noticed the students this year appeared more interested than last.
"They seemed relatively engaged," he said. "A little bit more so than last year."
County Government Day is one of the major outreach/educational programs of the American Legion, which originated in the mid-1950s, according to a statement released from Steve Olson, adjutant from Malta Bend Post No. 558.