Horseshoe Bend residents will be without their police chief for the next several weeks while he recovers from surgery related to a rare thyroid disease.
Horseshoe Bend Police Chief Fred Mitchell Jr. is afflicted with hyperpara thyroid disorder, a disease that causes the thyroid gland to over produce calcium in the blood. It causes a calcium deficiency in other parts of the body.
"It's a problem that has been developing in me for awhile," Chief Mitchell said from his Horseshoe Bend home March 15.
Victims of the disease suffer from several ailments including osteoporosis and kidney stones.
The disease is caused by a tumor growing on the thyroid gland, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said Dr. Ray Stahl removed a benign tumor from his lower neck March 9 at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home. He was released from the hospital March 11.
"Now that the tumor is gone, the doctors told me the symptoms should reverse themselves," Mitchell said.
He said the first sign he had the disease came after back surgery in 2003.
"The disease robs your bones of calcium and I knew something was wrong with my back then," Mitchell said.
In Mitchell's absence, Lt. Carl Boles is in charge at the police department.
Mitchell, a 17-year-veteran of the Horseshoe Bend Police Department, said he will return to light-duty March 22.
"I shouldn't have any problems as long as nobody tries to grab me by my neck and choke me," Mitchell said with a laugh.
Until his return, the chief said he will recuperate at home with his wife, Janice Fae. He said his wife is suffering from walking pneumonia.
"We're both really sick right now," Mitchell said. "I guess we're just starting to get old."
Mitchell has served as the chief of police in Horseshoe Bend since 1999.