GARLAND COUNTY, Ark. – As crime rates rise across the country, Garland County is looking to add more positions to address public safety.
Jon Hall said in the last few years, he’s gotten used to seeing flashing lights and crime scene tape filling his Garland County neighborhood.
“I’ve seen a lot of drugs, seen breaking and entering. It’s scary. I’m kind of afraid for my wife and my kids to be at home without me there,” Hall said.
As crime and emergency service calls increase, Garland County Quorum Court members like Larry Raney are looking for solutions.
“They went up 27% in the last three years. It’s a matter of having personnel to answer the need,” Raney said.
Right now, county officials are considering adding two dispatch positions.
“That’s the most important thing. If someone for an emergency, we want to get help there as quickly as we can,” Raney said.
They are also looking to add six new deputies to patrol the streets.
“So that we can increase the communication level between the Sheriff’s Department and the public is what it boils down to,” Raney said.
The addition of the dispatchers will be considered through the regular budget. For the deputies, that will be funded by a more than $1,000,000 grant the sheriff’s office will apply for. The county will have to pitch in $700,000. Raney says ultimately it comes down to does the county have the funds.
“We don’t know until we sit down and really work it through,” Raney said.
For Hall, he hopes to see both motions approved.
“I’m glad something like that is being thought about. I think it will be good for the community, you know try and help keep streets safe and people feel comfortable at home,” Hall said.
The next step is to get approval from the finance committee. The quorum court will have the final say.