Lt. Rick Elliott named new JPD police chief - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Lt. Rick Elliott named new JPD police chief

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department has a new chief.

Mayor Harold Perrin announced Thursday afternoon that Lieutenant Rick Elliott will assume the duties of chief.

"It is no secret that I believe that policing is one of the noblest professions that a person can undertake," Elliott said. "My appointment sends a powerful message to the newest rookie on up to the most experienced professionals that you can one day aspire to lead this organization."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Elliott has been with the Jonesboro Police Department since October 1992. He was among the first officers to respond to the Westside School shootings in 1998. The shooting was the topic of his presentation at two-day conference on school violence at Arkansas State University.

Before being tapped as the new chief of police, Elliott served in both the patrol and Criminal Investigation Division. He has also overseen the department's K-9 unit and served as commander of the Crisis Negotiation Team.

Outside of the Jonesboro Police Department, Elliott served as president of the Fraternal Order of Police and chairman of the city's Employee Representative Committee.

"I've had several challenges in the past 34 years of my law enforcement experience, but each of these has only strengthened me to make me the person I am today: a thorough professional who knows exactly what he wants, someone who sets his eyes on a goal and does not take them off of it until it's achieved," Elliott said.  

One of Elliott's goals as the new chief is to earn the community's trust.

"We will reduce crime, fear and disorder in your neighborhood while treating you with dignity and respect," he said. "This will be our down payment on earning your trust."

Elliott also addressed the public's scrutiny of the department at the announcement. 

"The plain truth of it is: there is no one harder on the Jonesboro Police Department than itself," Elliott said. "I promise an open, accountable and accessible police department, responsive to your concerns."

However, there is one thing he asks of the public in return.

"To understand that public safety is not a spectator sport," Elliot said. "Safe neighborhoods are the result of people and their police working together to create communities capable of sustaining civic life."

Elliot ended his speech with applause and a standing ovation.  The community then lined up to shake his hand and hug him. But the support will not go to his head. He said he knows he could not have done this without his colleagues' support.

"I started as a patrol officer. I'll always think of myself as a patrol officer," Elliott said. "It is now time to begin my duties as chief of police of your department."

"The crowd that we had here today just goes to show you we have a tenured officer that is well respected within the department, that has great leadership abilities," Perrin said. "They [officers] just come by and say, 'Good choice.' That makes me feel good knowing that they've got a chief they're going to work with, that they really admire and respect. When you've got that, you've got a lot."

Mayor Perrin said he and Elliott will have their first meeting Friday. 

Elliott will replace former chief Mike Yates. 

Mike Yates resigned the post on August 25, after comments he made about a local reporter on social media came to light.

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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