JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As discussion continues in the Jonesboro community about protests and rallies, Chief of Police Rick Elliott shed light Wednesday on how he’s handling the issue.
He took his position five years ago. Since then, he says his goal is to increase dialogue in the community.
Now, with rallies going on within the city limits, he says he’s now working harder to create more discussion.
“I’m willing to sit down with you, but, bear in mind when you come to sit down to discuss these issues, I want you to bring some solutions you have in mind to help us,” he says.
Chief Elliott says his department hires people with a “high set of standards.”
Over the course of eight years, over 21 percent of applicants were African American. Once an applicant has passed their necessary requirements, Chief Elliott says they’re always hired.
He says minority officers have their own struggles in Jonesboro, saying they’re not supported as they should be.
“They have struggles. They face a lot of negativity from the community, by the fact of their race and they’re not supported as they should be by the African American community,” he says. “That, to me, is disheartening. We have a community that wants diversity, but, not supporting it is disheartening. To hear my officers in these protests the other day being called names, especially my African American (officers) being called names just because they’re wearing the badge, that’s kind of disheartening.”
He now works with a small group in the community to progress dialogue in the community.
The next steps will continue meeting twice a month to work on a plan for the entire community.