Families of suspended officers to receive help for income loss

Families of suspended officers to receive help for income loss
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: GoFundMe)
(Source: GoFundMe)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Some Jonesboro citizens are banding together to back the blue by paying the blue.

Community members set up an account Tuesday for two Jonesboro Police Department sergeants who were suspended three days without pay.

That punishment came down Monday afternoon after it was found the sergeants took part in the parking protest at City Hall last week.

Heather Talley told Region 8 News the money raised by the citizen-led fundraiser goes to the spouses and families of those two officers.

"We want to show them we are here for you every day. You've got our back, now we've got yours," Talley said.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, the GoFundMe account was already at $750.

"Realistically, the sky is the limit. We would love to be able to raise funds the spouses and families of those affected by the loss of income for the next few days as well as raise funds to support the department," Talley said.

Talley said those wanting to help can also swing by Centennial Bank and donate to the "Pay the Blue" fund.

Talley said if they raise more funds than what those officers would have made in three days; the rest of the money will go to the department.

Meanwhile, the city council chambers were packed Tuesday night with people showing their support for Jonesboro police officers.

Supporters were asked to wear blue in support of law enforcement.

In December 2014, JPD officers packed city hall to start the discussion on officer pay in Jonesboro.

After last week's protest and this week's subsequent punishment for some officers, Police Chief Rick Elliott spoke out about what it will take to solve the issue.

"As we start to move forward with this, we need to do so in unity, not at each other, not against each other, because we are all in this together," Chief Elliott said. "If we do it and go out on our separate ways, we're not going to accomplish things that need to be accomplished."

Elliott spoke to the council after multiple people spoke out about pay issues at the department during the public comment section of the city council meeting.

"I just want to set the record straight for my officers and their families and their wives and anybody involved that's questioned anything this week. Number one, I support the men and women of the Jonesboro Police Department," Chief Elliott said. "I support the city and I support and hope the fact that someday we can get the salaries up to where they need to be."

Chief Elliott admitted that it's a problem they've been battling for years.

However, he said continuing to solve the problem will not be a swift fix.

"We have a salary survey committee in place and I've tasked the committee to look into this and hopefully we can continue this process," Chief Elliott said. "There's some areas in the salary that needs to be addressed and one of them is step raises."

Thursday, the Jonesboro Public Safety Committee will meet in a specially-called meeting at 6 p.m. in the council chambers. The only item up for discussion concerns officer pay.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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