For the past year, Dustin Dunklee has been serving Morgan County.

He’s been serving his country for a lot longer.

Dunklee, the Morgan County prosecuting attorney, took over the office in 2011. But he’s been a member of the Missouri National Guard for the past 17 years.

For the past year, Dustin Dunklee has been serving Morgan County.
He’s been serving his country for a lot longer.

Dunklee, the Morgan County prosecuting attorney, took over the office in 2011. But he’s been a member of the Missouri National Guard for the past 17 years.

“I am proud of my service,” Dunklee said.

The Morgan County prosecutor, who is a captain with the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade and serves as its JAG legal adviser, served notice recently that his unit may be deployed to the Middle East.
“My unit has been put on alert orders to deploy,” Dunklee said in his announcement. “I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that the deployment will occur, but I assured the residents of Morgan County that at first certain notice of deployment I would let the voters know about my status.”
If it happens, Dunklee will be prepared to go.

“All of the members of the Army Reserves and Army National Guard know that at any given moment they can be deployed,” Dunklee said. “The sacrifice of leaving my family for a year, leaving a job that I love, and a community that I am proud to serve is a sacrifice that I realized was a possibility at any time, and it is a sacrifice that I am willing and proud to do.

“I am also proud of the employer support of the Guard and Reserves that I have personally been afforded and have seen from other Guardsmen’s employers in this area,” Dunklee said. “From my days dispatching for Rick Bias at Morgan County 911, to my employment with Mike McDorman and Kenneth Hayden at their law office, I have never felt any negative pressure for my service in the Army.”

If plans continue to move forward, Dunklee would be deployed in April.

“During my January drill we were informed that we will start the first 30 days of deployment in late April,” Dunklee said. “This first 30 days will take place at Fort Leonard Wood. From Fort Leonard Wood my unit will be sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where we will continue training for 30 additional days. From Fort Hood, we will deploy for nine months overseas to the Middle East.”

The possibility of Dunklee’s deployment was an issue during the political campaign when he ran for office.

“Any previously raised allegation that I was running because I knew I was being deployed is false,” Dunklee said. “As I assured the voters during my election, I will be donating my salary back to the county. Cathy Daniels (county clerk) has confirmed with the state that this is acceptable. Although the county is obligated to pay an elected official during a military deployment, I do not feel that taxpayers of Morgan County should be obligated for that expense. As such, my deployment will not cost the taxpayers of Morgan County any additional costs.”

A contingency plan has been in place in the event Dunklee was deployed.

“I was able to hire Doug Kinde last fall as an assistant prosecutor for one day a week,“ Dunklee said. “He previously was an assistant prosecutor in Camden County and currently works part time for my office and the Laclede County PA’s office. He is a very competent trial attorney and I have no concerns with his ability to run the office of the prosecutor during my deployment. Mr. Kinde has already made arrangements to stop his assistant prosecutor responsibilities in Laclede County and dedicate his full attention to Morgan County.

“I encouraged the County Commission to pass an order to establish the Morgan County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund. This fund is derived from additional court costs that are assessed on certain cases,” Dunklee said. “It has allowed me to supplement the assistant prosecutor pay and I hope that in the future it will allow my office to have a full-time assistant prosecutor, with no cost to the county.

“I’ve also asked Julie Harlin from Citizens Against Domestic Violence (CADV) to contact me on weekly basis so that she can assist my office in domestic/relation-abuse cases,” Dunklee said. “Since a portion of court costs are given to that agency, I’ve tried to take advantage of Ms. Harlin’s services as much as possible. Mrs. Harlin has become an invaluable asset in my domestic cases and I greatly appreciate her assistance.”

Though his second year as county prosecutor may be interrupted by his deployment, Dunklee is proud of what his office has accomplished.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as the county prosecuting attorney. The office filed over 1,100 felony and misdemeanor cases in 2011,” Dunklee said. “Through the efforts of a great staff, my office is able to stay on top of the cases, while at the same time following up with victims to make sure they understand the process.  My staff and myself take great pride in assisting victims with their immediate concerns.

“I have instituted an open-door policy and spend a considerable amount of time speaking with victims both in person and on the telephone. I make it a priority of my office that anyone with questions, concerns and, yes, complaints, get a call from me the same day.”

And that policy won’t change.

“If anyone has concerns regarding this deployment or any further questions, please feel free to call me at my office at anytime,” Dunklee said. “Anyone that would like to meet Mr. Kinde in person is welcome to come to the office of the prosecutor on any Friday afternoon and I would be happy to introduce you.”

— To contact the Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, call 378-4694.