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Friday, May 6, 2016

Lawrence begins second term

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence is back to work after his victory over Rick Kimble in the Democratic Izard County sheriff's race on May 23.

"We lay out objectives for every year. We want to build on the accomplishments of the last year. It's central to enhancing the quality of life of citizens. We continue to make Izard County a better place."

"I'm very pleased with our many accomplishments," Lawrence, 58, said. He said the department has increased the amount of drug arrests and criminal cases being filed. "We want to strengthen the drug awareness programs for schools," he said.

"We've implemented a pay-for-stay ordinance which was presented and approved by the quorum court," Lawrence said. "When people are found guilty, it allows the detention facility to ask the judge for restitution and pay for time in the jail facility. It's been very effective."

Lawrence said equipment the sheriff's office uses has been upgraded and that a substation had been established in Calico Rock. He said the sheriff's office has a clear, organized structure now.

"One of the things we want to establish is a sheriff's department Web page and make it a vehicle of information to the citizens. We'll have a site for sex offenders, outstanding warrants and periodic safety messages," Lawrence said.

"We're also looking at a new and improved radio system. It will improve dispatchers' ability to dispatch emergency medical services, the fire department and first responders," Lawrence said.

"We're one of the first agencies testing a new booking system," he said, adding this would be a computerized system of booking inmates in the Izard County Detention facility. He said his office wants to be at the forefront of such developments.

He said one of the ongoing programs is maintenance of the jail. He said the office tries to keep the three-year-old facility in its new condition.

Lawrence said the missing person case of Bridgett Sellers has been the one case that has stood out over his time in office. Sellers was last seen walking on Peace Valley Road in Izard County on May 9, 2003. He said his office obtained and executed the search warrant for the septic tank on the property of Jerry Stevens, a person of interest in the case. Seller's remains were found in the septic tank on Nov. 25, 2005. Stevens died shortly after the discovery at his sister's home in Jonesboro on Jan. 10.

"The person of interest died before the case could be fully pursued," Lawrence said. "You don't ever totally close the case, but no active avenues are being pursued right now."

Lawrence hasn't ruled out a third term. "I'm looking at that as a strong possibility," he said.

"To me, it's all about helping folks," Lawrence said. "It's a matter of wanting to serve people in the county, and I think we can make a difference.

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