The Arkansas Sheriffs Association is calling on its members to hit the streets and collect the 78,000 needed signatures that will allow the term of office for sheriff to be extended to four-years instead of the current two-year term, but the July 7 deadline is closing in and the petition has about a third of the required signatures.
In most states in the U.S. terms for sheriff extend to four and even six-years in some cases, while Arkansas and New Hampshire are the only two states with two-year terms, according to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence.
Currently, a sheriff seeking to continue his county service must run for re-election every other year and Lawrence says that can take away from focusing on the task as hand.
"A four year term is important because you do not have to run every other year. Even when diligently trying not to, running every other year gets in the way," Lawrence said.
Another important high note in the pitch for a four-year term is job security for other county employees, Lawrence said.
"A four-year term will give some stability to the deputies. We can attract and recruit better if the deputies know they will have employment for at least four years," he said.
According to Lawrence, Izard County currently has over 200 of the required 500 signatures to get the proposal on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election.
For more information regarding the petition or to support the proposal individuals can contact their local sheriff's department, Izard County Sheriff's Department at 870-368-4203 or Fulton County Sheriff's Department at 870-895-2601.