Top of­fi­cers awarded

Po­lice pro­mote six

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - FRONT PAGE - AN­NETTE BEARD [email protected]

Pea Ridge emergency per­son­nel — po­lice and fire­fight­ers — each held their an­nual Christ­mas din­ners Satur­day, Dec. 1, af­ter the Christ­mas pa­rade. Of­fi­cers of the year were rec­og­nized in two sep­a­rate din­ners.

The Fire Depart­ment held its din­ner in the com­mu­nity room of the Fire Sta­tion. Michael Cu­lotta was named Re­spon­der of the Year; Chris Perez was named Fire­fighter of the Year, ac­cord­ing to Fire Chief Jamie Baggett.

The Po­lice Depart­ment held its din­ner in fel­low­ship hall at First Bap­tist Church. Brian Stamps was named Of­fi­cer of the year, ac­cord­ing to Capt. Chris Ol­son, in­terim po­lice chief.

In ad­di­tion to hon­or­ing Stamps as Of­fi­cer of the Year, there were six promotions made in the ranks of the po­lice, Ol­son said.

Ol­son said the promotions were needed in “restruc­tur­ing the depart­ment.” Ol­son was named in­terim chief by Mayor Jackie Crab­tree ef­fec­tive Dec. 1, af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of for­mer Chief Ryan Walker.

Ol­son said there are 15 full-time of­fi­cers and one part-time of­fi­cer on the depart­ment. Of those, seven are su­per­vi­sors. There are two cap­tains, two lieu­tenants, three sergeants.

“They each have to fill a lot of roles in the depart­ment,” Ol­son said, ex­plain­ing that in a small po­lice depart­ment, each of­fi­cer has to multi-task and ad­min­is­tra­tors may still be called upon to work in pa­trol or CID, when needed.

“Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, we could use more of­fi­cers. We’re not hir­ing, we will use what we have,” he said. He also said the promotions do not in­volve salary in­creases.

Of­fi­cers pro­moted were: Lt. Eric Lyle to cap­tain; Sgt. Michael

Lisen­bee to lieu­tenant; Sgt. John Lang­ham (SRO) to lieu­tenant; of­fi­cer Lynn Hahn was named sergeant in pa­trol but will even­tu­ally be a sergeant in Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Divi­sion; and both of­fi­cers Mike Lira and Rick Helmer were named of­fi­cer first class.

Sgt. Lang­ham and of­fi­cers Lira and Helmer are school re­source of­fi­cers. Ol­son said there is ad­di­tional train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion in­volved in be­com­ing an SRO and that jus­ti­fied the promotions. He said of­fi­cer first class is a rank up, but not a su­per­vi­sory rank.

Mayor Jackie Crab­tree said the jobs per­formed in a po­lice depart­ment de­pend on rank and ranks are nec­es­sary when deal­ing with other en­ti­ties and agen­cies.

Ol­son said there is a su­per­vi­sor on call for ev­ery shift.

“We have to keep go­ing. Our job never stops,” Ol­son said. “Part of do­ing that job is rank and struc­ture.”

“A lot of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand rank and struc­ture,” Crab­tree said. “It’s so im­por­tant on how they do their job.”

Crab­tree said he has not ad­ver­tised for a po­lice chief, nor de­cided whether he will ad­ver­tise although he has re­ceived a re­sume from an ap­pli­cant. He said he will de­cide af­ter the first of the year about whether to ad­ver­tise the po­si­tion or hire from within the depart­ment.

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