Allegations brought against Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose by Ash Flat Mayor Danny Traw, who owns Danny's Auto Body and Towing, was the main topic of the Hardy City Council meeting on Dec. 6.
The council discussed the procedures the police department uses when calling for tow trucks following motor vehicle accidents.
The issues arose when Traw claimed Chief Rose told a victim of an auto accident not to use Traw's wrecker service "because of the way he put his fire department out in the cold." Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton said the alleged comment was a reference to the situation with the Ash Flat Fire Department giving up its fire headquarters for a new library.
Thornton said, after the allegations were brought, Rose turned his report over to her for review. The mayor said she spoke with the woman who was involved in the accident and allegedly heard Rose made the statement about Traw.
At this point, the allegations became a personal matter and were turned over to the city council for review.
After being involved in a two vehicle accident which Rose worked, the female victim said she did not have a wrecker preference. According to Thornton, Rose told her, "We will call the next wrecker service in rotation." The woman told the mayor Rose was very pleasant and polite to her. She indicated there was never any discussion involving Traw or his wrecker service.
Sharp County Central Dispatch maintains a log of all calls and three wrecker services are listed on the roster, including Bill Johns Towing, Dail's Wrecker and Danny's Auto Body and Towing, Traw's Company. Because John's was the next rotation, his service towed the vehicle after the accident.
Rose told the council owners of vehicles involved in an accident may choose any wrecker service, but if their vehicle is blocking a roadway, it must be moved to the roadside.
Both Traw and Bill Johns were asked to attend the meeting to answer any questions the council might have regarding the manner in which the rotation works. Traw did not attend, but Johns was present. He explained that, at times, his wrecker service has moved vehicles off the roadway so a towing company a vehicle owner called could come later to tow the disabled vehicle.
Traw told Rose he had not had any calls in the Hardy area in six months, and he felt the city was prejudice against him and he was seeking legal advice on the matter.
Three months of records which were reviewed indicated Traw had been used on rotation two times, John's three times and Dail three times. Johns and Rose both explained the Arkansas State Police, they also have a similar rotation schedule which they follow when they work an accident.
Rose said, "I don't understand why Danny is mad about this, and I don't know where it came from. It insulted my intelligence, my integrity, all over something that is so easily verifiable. There is nothing impartial about the way my men are doing things and I stand by that."
Rose indicated that he has sought the advice of an attorney to protect his personal integrity, as well as that of the police department.
Rose said any wrecker service who is on the county's rotation schedule is required to be certified and have documentation on file from the Arkansas State Towing and Recovery Board. He explained it is the owner's responsibility to provide the documentation and , until recently, the city only had documentation from Bill Johns Towing. Traw was still used on rotation, even though his documentation was lacking.
After council discussed the issue with Rose, they decided there was no reason to change the methods used by the department in regard to the wrecker rotation schedule.
Thornton and Rose both said they were doing things the correct way and would continue to do so.