Highland officers resign after new chief appointed

Highland officers resign after new chief appointed

HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) - Police officers in the Highland Police Department resigned after a new chief of police was hired by the mayor.

Three officers turned in their resignation letters on Wednesday after Cherokee Village Police Officer Shane Russell took over the position.

The chief of police position has been open since the former chief took a job as a resource officer for the Highland School District. Highland Mayor Russell Truitt said he wants to let residents know there is a police force. Reserve officers and part-time officers are helping fill the void.

"I thought our officers were doing a great job and we wanted to continue that," Truitt said.

The former officers cited "personal differences" as their reasons for resigning. Truitt said he chose the right man for the job based upon his experience level. He does not regret his decision.

"We had a couple within the apartment apply and we had four applicants outside the department apply," he said. 

Russell said when the position became open he wanted to jump at the opportunity. He said he never imagined hiring new officers would be his first assignment.

"I was afraid there would be some hard feelings but I never (thought) it would start out this way," he said. 

Russell is hoping to hire two-full time officers. Arkansas State Police and the Sharp County Sheriff's Office are helping out until the positions are filled. 

"There is no shortage, if anything you probably wont turn around without seeing an officer of some caliber somewhere," Russell said. 

Truitt said he wants to assure the residents of Highland that they are covered and will protect the community. 

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