Sheriff thanks volunteers in search for missing Wynne police officer

WYNNE, AR (KAIT) - The search for Wynne Police Officer Nick Swink continues Saturday. Swink went missing last month after falling from a bridge into the St. Francis River.

Officials say there is no new information regarding the investigation of Officer Swink, they just wanted to do one last push to try to bring closure to the family. "We've been doing continuous searches for the past 6 weeks," said Shane Dallas, St. Francis County Emergency Management Coordinator. "This weekend we brought in 150 first responders from across Arkansas, 14 different counties and cities representatives here in Arkansas, along with Shelby County, Tennessee along with Jackson, Mississippi have teams here."

The search also included 10 K-9s, eight boats for the river, sonar vessels and two dive teams. Dallas said they wanted to bring in everyone they could to find Swink.

"We're just doing a massive search for the next 12 miles downstream," Dallas said. Officials say Swink was last seen at 10:30 p.m. Friday, January 11th, at the St. Francis Bay near the county line of Cross and St. Francis counties. Swink was with friends and not on duty when he fell in the water. "We've been searching continuously, this is just a strong push by external resources to try to everything we can possible," Dallas said.

About 150 volunteers from Wynne, Cross County and St. Francis County came out to help in the search.

Dallas said without the volunteers this extended rescue would not be possible.

The search teams will be searching all day Saturday and possibly Sunday.  "Today we're gonna work till just before dark to get all the searchers out safely," Dallas said.  "We've got some focal points,"Dallas said. "That debris catches that we want to really catch and clear to make sure we've done everything we can do." He said they just want to bring this tragic event to an end and give the family some closure.   "If the results aren't in our favor," Dallas said. "We've done everything that we know to do to bring closure to this."

Cross County Sheriff JR Smith released the following statement about the weekend's search:

Search and Rescue resources from 11 Arkansas Counties, 2 out-of-state counties and 2 State Agencies gathered in the St. Francis County on the weekend of February 22- 24, 2013 to contribute to the recovery effort of the remains of Deputy Nick Swink. Sheriff J.R. Smith's continuing efforts for that purpose led him to request assistance from across the state. Sheriff Smith said "Our local responders and other volunteers have diligently searched for Nick since his disappearance. We thought we would give the local folks a break, some time to be with their families, therefore we utilized our mutual aid partners from around the state". One hundred and forty searchers including water canine, ground canine and field crews searched from the St. Francis CR 1004 bridge to t he railroad bridge south of Madison. Smith added "Though we were unable to find Nick, we considered the effort a success because of the excellent search coverage. We have ruled out numerous locations. The river was higher than we wanted, so we were not able to search some places.  When the river goes down again, we will put together another large search effort." Smith also complimented all the Cross County and St. Francis County officials for their help in the effort. Smith said he especially appreciated the Tri-County Baptist Youth Camp and the Arkansas Baptist Relief Organization for providing shelter and meals for the weekend long mission. This multi -agency, multi-discipline effort included law enforcement, medical, fire, SAR and emergency communications personnel from: Clark County, Crawfor d County, Cross County, Franklin County, Grant County, Howard County, Johnson County, Logan County, Sebastian County, Rankin County, Shelby County TN, St. Francis County and Washington County AR. City of Jonesboro, City of Wynne, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas Department of Parks, Jackson MS, Jonesboro AR Police Department, Wynne Fire Department, Vanndale Fire Department, Cross County CERT, Newcastle AR Fire Department, St. Francis County EMS Paramedics, Colt AR Fire Department, Caldwell AR Fire Department, Palestine AR Fire Department, St. Francis County Road Department.  

Swink served four years with the Wynne Police Department and was scheduled to begin work as a deputy with the Cross Co. Sheriff's Dept in mid January.

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