Ash Flat City Council approves hiring of new part-time officer
The Ash Flat City Council held their regular meeting Oct. 16 during which a new part time officer was brought on board.
During his report, fire chief Stacey Horton said the fire department held the second and final public hearing the funding agency required to close the grant out for Engine 4.
The department also recently visited several daycares in the area for Fire Prevention Week.
Police chief Anthony Wiles said the department responded to 96 calls for service during the month of September.
“During the last meeting I spoke to y’all about the need to purchase in car and body video cams for the department and I was asked to give numbers for all the vehicles. I went through WatchGuard and they provided us with two estimates. The printout in your packet is my estimate and I took the two quotes and broke them down,” Wiles said. “There were some things in there we didn’t have to have. What I gave you, it’s five in car camera systems and each comes with a body cam. With that are two additional cams to be used for our part-time [officers]. There are also seven charging base kits, USB hubs and there is an evidence library web server.”
Wiles went on to list the services and information that would come with the packet if the cameras were ordered.
One council member brought up the possibility of obtaining a JAG grant.
Wiles said he was familiar with the BLOCK grant, which usually added between $4,500 to $5,000 for equipment. Wiles said he would look into the JAG grant, but it would be April before the grants were typically awarded.
The council moved on to discuss the cost which was estimated at $38,155 for all of the systems and in and out of car systems.
Wiles also spoke to the council about Allen Wallace, the Criminal Justice Instructor for Ozarka College.
“He got with me a few weeks ago to interview me for his Criminal Justice Program for his students to learn about the hiring process and what we look for to give them an idea of what they will need to do to get hired on at a department. During that conversation, some of our training programs and policies came up. He has a masters of science degree in criminal justice and a specialty in forensic science,” Wiles said. “He has got a lot of experience, was in the Navy and worked as military police.”
Wiles went on to discuss Wallace’s credentials. Wiles said Wallace had offered to assist the department with policies and procedures and generated a list of policies which could be updated or altered.
“It would be free of cost. He is a part time two officer for the county and his certifications through the police academy are about to expire and he sent a request and asked if we could put him on as a part-time one officer to hold his certifications so they wouldn’t expire in exchange for his help with our programs,” Wiles said.
Wiles said he was requesting Wallace to be used in an administrative capacity.
Wallace then addressed the council and gave an overview of his history and credentials. Wallace explained the offer he was making to the city was not in his capacity as an employee of Ozarka College but as a private citizen.
The council voted to hire Wallace as a part-time officer for the Ash Flat Police Department.
Following the remainder of the department reports, the council moved on to discuss new business.
Mayor Larry Fowler opened the first order of new businesses with the Arkansas Municipal League service charges for drug testing of non CDL operators for the city and whether or not it was a service that was needed.
The council moved to eliminate the issue, as it was discussed every year, but was repeatedly unneeded by the city.
They then moved on to discuss the upcoming budget for the 2019 year.
Mayor Fowler then read a proclamation for National Long Term Care Residents Rights Month, followed by proclaiming October as National Long Term Care Residents Rights Month for the City of Ash Flat.
During council member comments, Danny Traw suggested adding some LED lighting to the park across from the Ash Flat Library to improve safety.
Susi Epperson, candidate for State Senate District 19 spoke to the city council about her life, career and campaign for the senate seat.
The Ash Flat City Council meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.