CORNING, AR (KAIT)
The arrest of a Corning police officer for numerous drug and drug-related charges garnered similar reaction from many residents of the Clay County town.
"Shocked," Gladys Hoag said. "Knowing him, you know and what he does here in Corning. It's a small town and it was just shocking news that he would do that because you look up to him."
Juanita Conway told Region 8 News that she first saw the news on the Internet and thought it was a hoax.
"I was shocked," Conway said. "I could not believe it and it's still hard to believe for one of our officers to be in that situation."
Corning Police Officer Jamie Martin faces four felonies and because he's an officer of the law, he could face enhanced penalties for his alleged crimes.
Region 8 News obtained Martin's lengthy probable cause affidavit. In it, witnesses who were working with Arkansas State Police explained that Martin obtained Hydrocodone pills from them on a number of occasions over the past year and a half.
They said on two different occasions, Martin said he needed the pills to conduct narcotics investigations. Witnesses told police they suspected Martin was using the pills for personal use.
One incident allegedly happened over a year and a half ago in which Martin asked the witness to provide 25 Hydrocodone pills. The witness told police that Martin refused to return the pills.
A separate witness told ASP that in May 2015, Martin asked to be provided with 15 Hydrocodone pills for a narcotics investigation. Though he said he would give the pills back on a specific date, he did not, according to that affidavit.
Martin also allegedly used his cell phone to communicate with witnesses by voice and text messages to obtain the drugs.
The most recent exchange between Martin and a witness ultimately landed him in police custody.
The affidavit states that on Friday August 28, Martin texted a witness requesting more Hydrocodone pills.
The affidavit states Martin said he was out of his medication and needed more. It also states he offered to repay the witness when he received his refilled prescription for the drug.
More texts between Martin and the witness happened on September 1. That's when Martin agreed to meet and pay the witness $45 for 15 pills. He also agreed to give the witness his driver's license until he could pay for the pills or replace them with his refill.
State police were notified of the meet-up that was set to occur at the Walmart in Corning.
Police state that around 2:45 Tuesday afternoon, Martin pulled into the Walmart parking lot in his marked police cruiser. He got out of his car and into the passenger side of the witness vehicle. He gave the witness $20 and his driver’s license then left the scene.
State police entered the Corning Police Department around 3:05 Tuesday afternoon. Martin arrived shortly after and was interviewed by police.
Martin, after being advised of his Miranda rights, admitted that he has had an addiction to Hydrocodone medication for several years. He admitted that he was suspicious that he was being investigated and threw the pill bottle he had just purchased out of his patrol car.
Martin led officers to the area where he discarded the pills. They were able to locate the pill bottle that, according to the affidavit, was missing three pills. Martin denied taking or ingesting those missing pills.
Martin was held overnight in the Randolph County Jail. He had a probable cause hearing Wednesday afternoon in Piggott. His bond was set at $25,000 and he posted bond shortly thereafter.
In a public post on Facebook, Officer Martin stated: “I got addicted to pain medicine on my own an it has caught up with me."
Martin stated in that post that he takes full responsibility and is sorry for embarrassing his wife, children and the rest of his family and friends.
Martin also apologized to fellow law enforcement officers.
“I'm sorry I disgraced law enforcement at a time a time when they are already being picked apart,” Martin said.
Martin asked for prayers for him and his family during this time.
He also urged others with addiction to "get help, seek help, do whatever except keep denying it doesn't exist."
Corning Mayor Rob Young told Region 8 News that because this is an active investigation, he cannot comment on what happened.