Leachville Council approves hiring patrolman

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Leachville Chief of Police Marc Taylor (left) welcomes new patrolman Zakk Crocker, who was hired at the April meeting.

Leachville Chief of Police Marc Taylor addressed the city council at the Monday, April 18, meeting to discuss the hiring of a new patrolman, establishing rank for the officers, purchase of uniforms, and the sale of a police vehicle not being used.

Chief Taylor introduced Zakk Crocker, applicant for the position of patrolman.

Crocker is from Cardwell. He is not certified but he has several years of experience with the Department of Corrections. He has worked as a jailer at Greene County.

"I think he will make us a good officer," Chief Taylor said. "I would like to hire him."

Crocker said he is willing to earn his certification, attend the academy and move to Leachville.

The council voted unanimously to give Chief Taylor the authority to hire him at a starting salary of $23,500. His salary will increase to $25,000 upon completion of the academy.

The Council approved the establishing of rank for the police department after Chief Taylor explained the need for a chain of command. He said the salaries are set.

Serving with Chief Taylor on the Leachville Police Department are Joni Isebell, lieutenant; Mike Shivery, corporal and K9 handler; and Crocker, patrolman.

The council approved selling the Crown Victoria and using the money to purchase a petition for the K-9 vehicle.

Water, sewer and street manager Robert Ballard talked to the council about hiring additional help.

"It is a busy season and we are short-handed," Ballard said.

The council was in agreement of the need for additional help. They suggested Ballard interview applicants.

"We need someone to train to help you," Mayor Ralph Wells said.

Ballard asked about the city purchasing a trencher. He said the mower would be paid off in a couple of months and the city has a need. He estimated the cost of the equipment at $6,000.

The council suggested having a company bring a trencher for a demonstration to see if it would meet the needs of the city.

Councilwoman Baldridge also asked about the cemetery. She said she is not happy.

"The cemetery is my heart," she said. "I want the cemetery to look good 24/7. We owe it out of respect."

She went on to say some of the flowers are old and the grounds need weed eating. She said she would be willing to head up a volunteer group for a clean-up day to help.

The council was in favor of allowing Baldridge to head up a volunteer group.

Mayor Wells said Leachville's Cemetery is better than most, and he hears a lot of good comments from people who visit the cemetery.

"We don't have the people to weed eat around the headstones and sweep them," Mayor Wells said.

Councilman Michael Webster said the Leachville Foundation is sponsoring Make Leachville Beautiful for the second consecutive year. A group of volunteers will be picking up trash on May 21.

"Last year we filled 50 bags with trash from the ditches," he said. "We did not go into anyone's yard, just the right-of-way. It doesn't cost us anything. The supplies come from Keep Arkansas Beautiful and we had 22 of volunteers last year."

Volunteers will meet at the old gymnasium at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 21.

In other business:

*Councilwoman Baldridge asked about discarding of old tires. She asked if there is a place they can be taken or a company that would pick them up. Several options were discussed and will be looked into.

*Fire Chief Richie Pace said basic life support classes will be offered. The cost will be approximately $200 for the books and training and will come from the Act 833 funds. City employees are welcome to attend and receive their CPR certification.

*Mayor Wells introduced Johnny Rye, candidate for the Arkansas House of Representatives. Rye talked briefly telling the council and citizens of Leachville to call him if there was ever anything he could do for them. "This town is like my own," he said.

*The council set a meeting to work on the employee handbook at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 12.

*Mayor Wells announced the city-wide cleanup is April 29, 30 and May 1. Dumpsters will be placed at the city shop. "This will give people the opportunity to get rid of junk," Mayor Wells said.

*Marilyn Looney said the BI Leadership Council is disbanding. They will be dividing funds for different projects. Leachville will receive $300 dedicated to the new fire station.

*During citizen comments, Bobby Crites said if the city starts taking old tires and stacking them somewhere it will create a mosquito problem. He also asked if the cemetery has a policy on what can be placed around and is it enforced. Benches and fences can make it difficult to mow and weed eat.

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