Firings leave Rison without police department

State News

RISON, Ark. — No police patrol the streets of Rison Friday night, after every officer either quit or got fired. 

This comes after Mayor Vernon Dollar ousted Police Chief Peggy Stallings, who was the city’s last officer on the payroll. 

“Let’s just go back to square one, start again,” said Mayor Dollar. 

Mayor Dollar wouldn’t go into specifics about what led up to his decision but calls the shakeup necessary.

“There were some complaints around from the general public,” he said.  “There were some situations that arose that I took the action of dismissing some police officers and now we’re down to none.”

Stallings worked for the department for more than a decade, acting as Chief for less than a year. 

Before her, John Bolland sat in the Chief’s seat for nearly two years before resigning and making a career move. 

As a former state trooper, Mayor Dollar says he’s confident the city is protected. He says the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has deputies on patrol and taking city calls. 

With several resumes already on his desk, Mayor Dollar says he along with city council will make hiring decisions. He says the goal is to put two officers on staff then hire a chief. 

“We’re going to take more time on background checks, resumes,” he said. “I did not get actively involved in the selection process itself that was my fault, and I will be from now on.” 

A couple of blocks from the police department, Sandra Coleman takes orders at Main Street Cafe but says she isn’t being served the protection she was promised. 

“There’s a lot of tax dollars being paid in from this business, plus me personally and then we have no city police officers,” Coleman said. “What if something happens?”

She says protection shouldn’t be tabled, calling on the city to make sure problems within the police force don’t continue. 

 “We need city police officers,” she said. “The sheriff’s are out everywhere anyway with it being the city who’s here left protecting us if something were to happen.”

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