July 9, 2005 - Posted at 8:50 p.m. CDT
Jonesboro, AR - After seven months of searching, Jonesboro's Mayor says the city's found the "cream of the crop."
Local law enforcement seems to agree that new police chief, Michael Yates, has the experience to make the streets a safer place. Yates says the "caliber of the officers has really increased my desire to get to town."
JPD officials agree that Yates work experience made him the top choice. Lieutenant Lynn Waterworth says, "The fact that he had been a chief before made him stand out to me. He's already been in that seat. He's already been the one to make those decisions. And, I certainly think he's very capable to make those decisions here."
Sergeant Kenny Oldham agrees; "The qualifications he had, his work ethics from other departments he's been at, every move he's made in his other departments has been a step up. He just seemed like he'd be the best candidate for us."
Yates wife and two boys, who will soon relocate to Jonesboro , were there for support. Nancy Yates says she's excited for her husband and describes him as a "good asset" to the city. Of the 57 applicants, the JPD was impressed by Yates 17 years of experience. Oldham thinks Yates will "allow officers to get out on the streets and do what they need to do to keep the streets of Jonesboro safe."
Interim chief Tim Edds, who will soon return to his position as captain, also looks forward to change. "A lot of people in the department who've been here for years were kind of set with a mind set, so to speak, on how to police.
Bringing in someone from out of the city, even out of the state, like they've done with chief Yates will hopefully bring in fresh ideas and new approaches to solving the problems we do have here," says Edds.