August 2, 2005 – Posted at 4:10 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- After nearly 60 applicants and seven months of searching, Jonesboro now has a new police chief in place. 41-year-old Mike Yates has stepped into uniform and into what he calls “a good situation.”
“I wasn't completely sold until I came out here and met people in the community and things like that. The more exposure I had, the more I said, hey this is a really good opportunity; I’m very impressed,” said Yates.
He may not have his office unpacked, but he's already hit the ground running. Jonesboro's new police chief is doing something his predecessors didn't; he's wearing a uniform.
“The condition of the department and the quality of the manpower is really very good, in comparison to many places,” said Yates, “It's really a breath of fresh air to come to a department that is not in real trouble. It’s a matter of taking it forward instead of having to start over with it.”
Yates has 17 years of experience in law enforcement and says tackling the city’s drug culture will be one of his biggest challenges.
“It's worth the investment of our time and resources to deal with it, because not only does it impact the drug issue itself, but the reciprocal and the other areas that surround it,” said Yates.
He says he hopes to reach out to the community through school resource officers.
“It's a positive exposure for our police department, and our interaction between the children that helps even in the field and in the home when they contact the officers. Many of our kids who might be in single parent households, they may not have a positive role model to interact with,” said Yates.
While Yates says the department looks good, there's always room for improvement.
“What I hope to be able to do is take some of the good things that the department does and make them a little better and work on some of the problems, that we have that exist everywhere,” said Yates.