Senior Center hosts ‘Coffee With A Cop’
GRAVETTE — The Billy V. Hall Senior Activity Center and the Benton County SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) co-hosted a Coffee With a Cop reception at the center Sept. 13. The Benton County SALT Council is a volunteer group with the goal of reducing crime against senior citizens by providing education and interaction with law enforcement.
Ken Farmer of Bella Vista, SALT Council chairman, welcomed guests and gave an overview of upcoming SALT events. He said the council tries to sponsor an event in the county each month and this was one of a series of such coffees. He invited those present to attend a Senior Safety Academy scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the Bella Vista Lutheran Church.
Chuck Skaggs, Gravette chief of police, spoke to the group and told some of the police department’s activities. He said officers took some youngsters to shop for Christmas gifts last year and they plan to repeat that program this holiday season. He also told of community safety patrols being conducted to help prevent home invasions and robberies.
Skaggs said cameras have been installed in all police cars and he reviews the videos each Friday to ensure officers are following proper procedures. He
said officers have responded to approximately 2,600 calls so far this year and a new reporting system helps track calls more accurately.
Skaggs noted that Gravette is one of the fastest growing small towns in the area and, as the police department is growing too, the department may soon need its own dispatch system. He reported the department had recently started a criminal investigation division. He said, with the department’s coverage area expanding toward the east, he hoped to see a fire and emergency medical services station built east of town to help decrease response time to EMS calls.
Citizens brought up several instances of scams they had experienced, and Skaggs cautioned them to avoid the increasing cases of mail fraud and fraud against the elderly. He also warned them about the dangers of using cell phones while driving. He urged those present to call the police department with any questions they might have. The department’s nonemergency telephone number is 479-787-6948.
Skaggs reported that in 2009 Arkansas was first in the nation for prescription drug abuse and the state has now dropped out of the top 15. He reminded his listeners that there is a drug takeback box in front of the police station where expired and unwanted drugs may be discarded. He said the department picked up 142 pounds of prescription medication from the drug takeback box last year and sent them off to be destroyed.
Free coffee and doughnuts were served at the event.
Chuck Skaggs, Gravette chief of police, speaks to the crowd at the “Coffee With A Cop” session Sept. 13, at the Billy V. Hall Senior Activity Center.