Leachville council promotes officer and fills position

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Leachville City Council voted unanimously to promote Lt. Joni Isebell to chief of police at a special called meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Brandon Womack talks to the Leachville City Council about filling the position on the police department. Also pictured is the new Chief of Police, Joni Isbell.

Mayor Ralph Wells informed the council he had appointed Isebell as chief immediately following the resignation of former Chief Marc Taylor on Oct. 22.

Mayor Wells commended Isebell for stepping up and doing a good job. In addition to the Chief Taylor, officer and K-9 handler Michael Shively recently resigned from the department.

Another officer, Zakk Crocker, is attending the police academy.

"I believe she will make us a good chief," Mayor Wells said. "She will hold me to the same standards as everyone else."

Chief Isebell is the first female chief of police to serve the City of Leachville.

The council voted unanimously to promote her to the position at a salary of $31,270.20 which includes holiday pay.

The city has been utilizing part time officers, Brandon Harper, former state police officer, and volunteer Brad Hitchcock, a certified officer.

Chief Isebell informed the council there had been three applicants for the the officer's position.

One applicant, Brandon Womack, was present and talked to the council.

Womack is certified and has eight years experience in law enforcement. He has worked on the Blytheville Fire Department, Monette Police Department and with Craighead County Sheriff's Department.

Womack has been out of law enforcement for a year and told the council he is ready to get back into service.

"I want to serve the people of Leachville and be part of the community," he said.

Following a long discussion between the council members and Womack, Councilman Michael Webster asked Chief Isebell for her recommendation.

"I think I can work with him," she said.

She said one of his former superiors had commented he had the potential to be a good officer.

Mayor Wells asked Womack if he would have any problems working for a Chief Isebell.

"I would not have any problems working for Chief Isebell," Womack said. "I ask for the opportunity. I will try to earn your trust and respect. I am asking for a chance."

The council went into executive session.

The council approved allowing Chief Isebell to hire Womack on a 90 day probation period at a salary of $26,057.80.

The council voted 4-1 to hire Womack with Teresa Johnson, Tommy Stone, Michael Webster and Ethel Hetler voting yes and Lisa Baldridge voting no. Councilwoman Karen Wallace was not present.

Mayor Wells also informed the council the drug dog, Reno, is also at the academy. The K-9 will receive training while being housed until Officer Crocker has completed his training.

Also at the meeting was Mr. and Mrs. Greg Reece with G&K signs about installing LED lights in front of the Melody Theater.

Mayor Wells said he felt the theater needed to have more light. The LED lights are economical and easily maintained.

The board approved the installing of the lights at a cost of $1,308.

Mayor Wells requested the lights be finished before the holidays.

The next regular council meeting has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29.

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