Harrisburg police, DYS work on security - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Harrisburg police, DYS work on security

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) -

The escape of several juveniles at the Division of Youth Services facility earlier this year has both Harrisburg police and DYS working on increasing security at the facility. 

Harrisburg police Lt. Justin Kimble said police had a meeting with the new director of the facility about plans that would eliminate escapes. 

Kimble said officials are considering putting a double fence around the facility as well as improving lighting and getting audible alarms to outfit the place. 

Everything is still up in the air but police are happy that DYS officials reached out to them for help. 

In mid-August, the Arkansas Department of Human Services fired the director of its DYS facility in Harrisburg after the escapes.

According to Brandi Hinkle, deputy chief of communications, Derwin Sims was terminated last week "due to performance."

He'd been employed by DHS since February.

Hinkle told Region 8 News that April Hines, the former assistant director, will serve as interim director at the facility in Harrisburg.

Sims's termination comes after two, separate escapes were reported this year.

The first was in March when three juveniles escaped custody.

The second escape was reported in early August. At the time, Hinkle told Region 8 News in a phone interview that the facility did have a problem.

“It has been too easy for youth to walk off and leave the facility,” Hinkle said in an interview with Region 8 News.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas will seek bids from the private sector to take over operations of seven juvenile detention centers in the state.

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