Police officers on front lines after EF-3 tornado hits Jonesboro

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott on department's response after tornado.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott on department's response after tornado.(KAIT)
Published: Apr. 4, 2020 at 10:25 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department has been on the front line since Saturday’s EF-3 tornado.

“It’s been a long six days for the department,” Chief Rick Elliott said.

First, it was COVID-19 and now the tornado, but while everyone is stretched thin already, his officers did not hesitate to help.

“These officer self-deployed, and within 30 minutes, I had 150 of my sworn officers standing here in the parking lot,” Elliott said.

That was while Jonesboro police’s civilian staff was at the police department on Caraway Road getting operations underway.

“Everything fell in place, and everything went very smoothly. Even with other law enforcement agencies coming in and offering assistance," Elliott said.

Now, the attention turns to keeping property safe. That is why the citywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. continues until further notice.

“For the most part, we are wanting to give the business owners and homeowners the chance to get things cleaned up and whatever assets they need secured and moved from the damage site,” Elliott said.

Areas like Prospect Road saw some of the worst damage from the storm and access to that area is still limited.

“I’m still posting officer up, and only allowing authorized people in those areas," Elliott said.

That will also allow construction crews, homeowners, and others to get in and clean up the debris and it cuts down on sightseers.

“Avoid the temptation to get out and sightsee. There are plenty of pictures out there through the media, through Youtube. There are all kinds of videos posted there," Elliott said.

While there are plenty of volunteers out there, Elliott said you can still help while still practicing social distancing.

“During this off time, if there is trash and you see trash in the area and you want to do something to break the monotony of sitting around the house, there is trash to be picked up," Elliott said.

Elliott also said he was appreciative of the community members who stepped up and help feed his officers during this time.

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