UPDATE: Fisher police chief responds to city's financial claims - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

UPDATE: Fisher police chief responds to city's financial claims

UPDATE:  JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- The police chief of Fisher says he has not officially resigned his post; but, he says he has not patrolled the Poinsett County town since November 2, 2010.

David Threlkeld called Region 8 News after our story about the city's finances aired at six o'clock Monday, January 24.  Threlkeld says he has not given the city council his official resignation. 

He also disputes the Harrisburg District Court's claim that he wrote 14 tickets between November 1 and the end of 2010.  The court claims all of the tickets are being disputed.  Threlkeld says he stopped patrolling the area on November 2.  He says during the first two days of November he wrote nine tickets. 

Threlkeld says he still has the police car the city bought.  He told Region 8 News it sits in the driveway of his Paragould home.  He says he began patrolling Fisher on a no-pay basis in 2008.  At that time he lived in Marked Tree.  Threlkeld says the city gave him the car to offset his fuel expenses commuting. 

As to claims the city owes First Government Lease Company $2,100 for the car and a narcotics dog, Threlkeld says the dog was sold to an agency in Texas, which he says agreed to the terms of the loan.

Threlkeld says since 2008 the city of Fisher has paid him what it could and when it could.  He says the town owes him $2,700 in unpaid time. 

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

FISHER, AR (KAIT) – Questions surround the city of Fisher in southern Poinsett County. According to Mayor Homer Don Anschultz, the city is working to pay off two $6,000 leases for the purchase of a used police cruiser and drug canine for the department.

Anschultz told Region 8 News Monday that all city employees are working part-time, in part to help pay off the debt owed to First Government Lease Company. FGLC is based in Chicago, Illinois and provides fully equipped police cars and other essential equipment to small municipalities.

"The chief of police got a car and a narcotics dog that the city council didn't approve. We got behind on it. Dave said he was going to take care of it himself and unfortunately he missed two or three payments," said Anschultz. "He (FGLC) wasn't receiving it, but it's all taken care of."

However, Paul Graver, FGLC's president, said the debt has not been settled. Graver said the only payment he has received since the lease-purchase agreement was signed in 2010 was for $700 from David Threlkeld.

"Dave said he got behind them and they were out in the county when he got them stopped. That was his explanation of it," said Anschultz, who said the city council will also review multiple complaints against Threlkeld. The meeting will be held February 8th at Fisher City Hall.

According to Harrisburg District Court, 14 tickets were written since November 1, 2010 by Threlkeld in Fisher. Of those 14, a court official said all tickets are being contested in court. The official said two of the tickets will be tried Tuesday before a judge; however, a sheriff's deputy was unable to deliver a subpoena to Threlkeld. The official said no tickets have been written in Fisher in January.

Threlkeld was hired a year and a half ago to act as police chief, according to Anschultz.

"He was hired to slow down the traffic and everything, just be a police man," said Anschultz. "He wrote a lot of tickets. I was getting worried there for a while that they might try to get us for a speed trap if we weren't careful. The one's he stopped, they were coming on through here pretty fast."

Region 8 News tried to contact Threlkeld by telephone Monday afternoon, but calls went unanswered.

Anschultz said the city is struggling to keep a balanced budget.

According to documents provided to Region 8 News by First Government Lease Company, the city purchased a used 2004 Dodge Intrepid, with decals, lights, radar and other equipment inside the car, as well as a narcotic/patrol dog from the Little Rock K-9 Academy. Some documents were signed and dated by Anschultz. Others were signed and dated by Threlkeld. The invoice for the canine was dated September 1, 2010.

Another invoice dated December 14th showed the city to owe $1,243.38. It also stated the city would face repossession if payment was not made. Graver said he does not plan to repossess the vehicle or dog if the city meets its end of the deal.

Graver said Councilman Josh Parker has been working with First Government Lease Company since finding out about the lease.

"They want to ask where all these bills and stuff, why all these bills accumulated and everything and a lot of other stuff, like you were talking about them complaints and stuff," said Anschultz.

When asked about who is ultimately responsible for the missed payments, Anschultz said, "I'm the mayor. I guess I'm the one that's got to be at fault for not paying attention to what I'm doing."

Anschultz said Threlkeld only worked a few hours each week in Fisher. He said Threlkeld lives in Paragould and has made the commute to Fisher on the city's dime.

"He just wanted to keep his hours up. He wasn't going to charge us. He was just going to try to keep his hours up," said Anschultz.

When asked why he worked to keep hours up, Anschultz said it was to keep his officer certification.

Anschultz said the city still owns the car, and published reports Threlkeld has resigned have been incorrect.

"As far as I know right now, unless he's told the city council, he is still the chief of police. He has not officially resigned as chief of police," said Anschultz.

Graver said Threlkeld referred to himself as ex-police chief when he talked to him on the phone several weeks ago.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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