City Takes Security Measures After Weekend Incident at Park

July 13, 2005 – Posted at 5:04 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Tuesday night on K8 News Nightbeat, we told the story of a teen who claims he was beaten by three other young men at the Allen Park Skate Park. This and other incidents are forcing the city to act.

"Most of the time we play skate. You got to do a trick and if you land it the next person in line has to do it, or they get an 'S'. It's kind of like horse," said skater Tyler Russ. Russ and his friends enjoy performing for the camera, but after a weekend fight, they may be recorded by more than K8 News soon.

"We are very concerned about it. We met Tuesday to talk about installing security cameras, which we are going to do immediately," said Jason Wilkie, director of Jonesboro Parks and Recreation, "We are looking at possibly installing a web camera where a mother could look, if her son says he's going over to the skate park, they could get online and monitor that and we could monitor it here as well, and then we are looking at the possibility of a security guard."

The park is a place the Jonesboro Police Department is familiar. They responded to another fighting incident just months ago. "We've kind of targeted these areas for patrol. We've beefed up our patrol, trying to get more manpower down, not just in Allen Park, but other park areas in the city," said Sgt. Stephen McDaniel of the Jonesboro Police Department.

"This part of town is not real safe, but if there are a bunch of people here with you, like these skaters, then you probably won't get jumped or anything, because they all stick together," said skater Colby Bennett.

Officials say it's just a matter of time before everything rolls into place.

"When we get Allen Park finished it will be a fabulous park and I think there will be a lot of people out there all the time, and incidents like this will lesson," said Wilkie.

A new skate park is in the works for Jonesboro. The city is looking to buy property near the YMCA owned by the Southwest Church of Christ. Wilkie says they hope to use grant money from Arkansas Parks & Tourism to build the skate park in 2007.