Lack of law enforcement has Parkin citizens worried

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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PARKIN, Ark. (KAIT) - Police officers in Parkin are ready to resign after a request for a raise was shot down at a city council meeting.

Chief Jeremy McNeil was hired three months ago with the understanding he would get a raise in March. However, that request was denied, which is why McNeil, along with two other officers, said they plan on resigning.

Mayor Diane Patterson said she told him in Dec. 2022 they would try to get the raise passed. She explained she was very upset when the council voted against the issue in a 4-2 vote.

“Since he’s been with us, he comes to work every day, he’s here Monday through Friday, and crime has decreased in those months,” Patterson said.

The proposed raise would have been about $1,000 more a month for Chief McNeil. Patterson said without it, she is not sure how they could get anyone to take the job.

“No police chief would work for $26,000 a year anywhere and with no benefits. We have no health insurance, we didn’t have no retirement, nothing,” she said.

The trickle-down effect of this vote is apparent throughout the community, as businesses like the Parkin Express Gas on Highway 64.

Originally opened 24 hours a day, the store is now closing at 10 p.m. in fear of an increase in crime.

“Sometimes we didn’t feel safe, I care about my employees I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” said Manager Salah Hayeieber.

He explained they have been robbed before and are nervous it will happen again.

The gas station is not the only store closing shop early now, as Patterson said this could be detrimental to the small town.

“It is really going to hurt the city tax-wise and everything if they close early because they don’t feel safe not having a police officer around,” she said.

In the meantime, the Cross County Sheriff’s Office said it will do the best it can to help out as Patterson said the city continues to try and recruit new talent.