By JOE MAY | The Southern Standard
In order to be more competitive in recruiting and retaining officers, the Arkadelphia Board of Directors voted to make a change to the city’s policy regarding police take-home vehicles.
City Manager Gary Brinkley stated that current policy allows offices to take home their patrol units if they live within 15 miles of the city. The proposed change would allow any officer residing in Clark County or within 25 miles of the city to be able to take home a vehicle.
Not only will this assist in keeping and recruiting officers, Police Chief Jason “Shorty” Jackson said the change would be a “huge benefit” to the public in that officers would be able to respond from their homes in times of emergencies instead of having to drive to the station, get their gear and then head to the scene.
Director Keith Crews suggested the city look into paying officers a small yearly stipend “to store” the vehicles at their homes to avoid employees being forced to declare the vehicle mileage as an employment benefit. Brinkley and Jackson agreed to look into it the matter with the Arkansas Municipal League.
At the motion of Crews, the motion carried.
Fire Chief Jason Hunt then introduced long-time fireman Andy Neel as the department’s new assistant chief. He was presented with a new jacket and helmet denoting his promotion.
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In other business, the board:
• Heard proclamations declaring “National Friends of the Library Week” and “National Chamber of Commerce Week” had been issued by the city.
• Heard Chamber Director Nikki Chandler speak about the chamber’s work in the area.
• Heard the second reading of ordinances for water and sewer rate increases.
• Heard Brinkley say that the city is entering a contract with the Federal Aviation Administration to spend $7,142.81 to put a weather reporting station in the new airport terminal under construction.
• Voted at the motion of Crews and Director Chris Porter to purchase 3.95 acres at the corner of 15th Street and Millcreek Drive from Henderson State University for $100,000 for use as a dog park.
• Held a public hearing on the passage of the Arkansas Version of the National Electric Code for 2020. Building Department Manager DeAnna Graves explained that there would be no significant changes with the adoption of the code. An ordinance was then placed on its first reading at the motion of Directors Roland Gosey and Crews.
• Heard a complaint from 18th Street resident Joyce Johnston about drainage work being done at her house. Directors promised to look into the matter.