The city of Calico Rock will no longer receive the same amount of patrol service from the Izard County Sheriff's Department as it previously had under a contract that has been in place for about 28 years.
According to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence, in past years the city has paid the county about $71,000 for the service the Sheriff's Department provides. "The city advised me they were willing to pay $30,000 (for this year)," Lawrence said.
Lawrence said he had proposed a new plan to the city council. "I was asking to develop a plan that could be (paid) over a period of years that would set us close to $116,000," Lawrence said.
The Calico Rock City Council did not like the plan and said they did not have the money to do it.
"I was surprised by your proposal and deeply saddened that we may be near the end to a 28-year-old arrangement that our predecessors had the great wisdom and foresight to establish. Calico Rock and Izard County were the first in the state to implement a contractual law enforcement agreement between city and county for public safety services. I truly believe this arrangement has been mutually beneficial to the citizens of both Calico Rock and Izard County," Lawrence said to the council in November after they chose not to continue the contract.
When the contract first started in 1981, Calico Rock paid $24,568 annually for the county's protection. As the city grew, the sheriff's department needed more money to patrol the area.
Currently, Melbourne is the only city that is contracted with the county's sheriff's department. Lawrence said Melbourne pays approximately $131,000 for the sheriffs department's services.
At the first of the year, the Izard County Sheriff's Department suspended its 24-7 coverage of Calico Rock and shut down the sheriff's substation in that city. "Everything came to a halt when (the city) chose not to renew (the contract)," Lawrence said. The city now receives the same coverage as the rest of the county.
"We're patrolling as best as we can," Lawrence said. Though the sheriff's department hasn't had to lay-off anyone yet, "We'll have to make some adjustments," Lawrence said. Currently, the Izard County Sheriff's Department has 10 road deputies, according to Lawrence.
"I would hope there would be a possibility in the future (of starting the contract up again)," Lawrence said. "It's been a very effective way of protecting the public."