Leachville Council declares vacancy

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Leachville City Council met in a special called meeting Monday, June 5, working through a short agenda declaring a vacancy for the mayor's position, discussing the future of the city's K-9 dog, and welcoming back Chief of Police Joni Isebell.

Interim Mayor Lisa Baldridge (city council member) presided at the meeting. The council met to review Resolution 2017-4, a resolution declaring a vacancy in the mayor's position.

Leachville Mayor Ralph Wells died May 25.

Clerk Ruth Ann Keith said she had gathered information on the city's options on how to fill the position.

She went on to say the council could appoint or hold a special election.

Council members were in agreement to hold a special election on the second Tuesday of October. The elected mayor will serve the remainder of Mayor Wells' term.

The Resolution passed unanamously. Once the Resolution is filed with the county clerk, petitions for the office of mayor will be available at city hall for candidates to pick up.

Baldridge informed the council and guests attending the meeting, Joni Isebell is back serving as Leachville Chief of Police as of Friday, June 2.

Chief Isebell resigned her position as Chief of Police in May.

Presently the city has one full time officer, Kasey Shepard. Shepard is not certified and is scheduled to attend the academy in August.

Lt. Brandon Womack is presently on paid suspension from the Leachville Department.

The Mississippi County Sheriff's Department has been working with Leachville to ensure the safety of the citizens. County Sheriff Dale Cook addressed the council at the May meeting assuring them they would keep deputies on duty near Leachville and they would respond when called.

Chief Isebell addressed the council and said she is presently not looking to hire full time officers and plans to use the part-time officers and work with the county.

The council then discussed the best way to go with the city's drug dog, Reno. The K-9 officer, Zakk Crocker, resigned from the Police Department at the end of May.

Reno has been housed at Blue Streak in Jonesboro at a cost of $20 a day.

Keith said Reno has had three different handlers in the last year.

“I feel sorry for the dog, he has not had a permanent home,” Keith said.

She went on to say the owner of the kennel has offered to buy him.

Councilman Keith Evans, former Leachville Chief of Police, said being a K-9 handler is not an easy job and it is especially difficult in a town the size of Leachville.

Councilman Richie Pace said a lot of people donated money for the dog and he was concerned for them.

Deputy Chuck Brown with the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department addressed the council about an option of donating Reno to the county. He said there had been some discussion of the possibility.

“We have talked about it with the Sheriff and it was agreed if the city decides to donate Reno to the county, the dog will be available to the city of Leachville when needed.”

“We love the dog and the city has spent a lot of money in training the dog and the handlers,” Baldridge said.” It is not an easy decision. We appreciate everyone who donated money to help us get the dog and we hate to let him go.”

The council all agreed they wanted what is best for the city and the dog. By donating the dog to the county, the Leachville Police Department will still have access to him when needed and Reno will be well cared for and can be utilized throughout the county.

Deputy Brown said the handler would be chosen by application and it would need to be an experienced deputy.

The council voted unanimously to donate Reno to the county.

Acting Mayor Baldridge asked when they could take Reno.

“We don't want him to stay any longer in the kennel than he has to,” she said.

Deputy Brown said he would inform Sheriff Cook of the council's decision and try to make the arrangements for Reno by the end of the week if possible.

The next regular council meeting will be held Monday, June 19.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: