BEEBE, Ark. – The Beebe Police Department is seeing crime skyrocket in the city, and officials say it all stems from drug use. Now, city leaders are trying to crack down on the problem by reinstating the Special Investigations Unit and taking a more aggressive approach.
For the last several years, buying and selling drugs wasn’t a problem in the city of Beebe.
“Mostly we used confidential informants and things to make drug buys,” Beebe Police Department Captain Barron Dickson explained. Dickson was part of the Special Investigations Unit, a select few officers that kept narcotics outside the city limits.
“They knew better than to come to Beebe,” he said.
It was a system that worked, until the pandemic.
Jails were tasked with trying to keep COVID-19 out of the cells and arrests didn’t always last.
“The jail was having trouble housing people,” Dickson said.
Beebe Mayor Mike Robertson said the unit had been disbanded but added that during the pandemic, it didn’t take long for narcotics to make their way back into the city.
“We have seen much more use of drugs and distribution of drugs,” Robertson said.
About that time, crime also started to skyrocket.
“We’ve had a shooting that involved drugs, directly drug related. We’ve had batteries and burglaries,” Dickson said.
In response, Robertson is reinstating that Special Investigations Unit, in an effort to address crime issues “very aggressively.”
Instead of a few officers, they want all 17 working to track, find and arrest those dealing and using drugs.
“The mayor made it clear now he wants the entire police department removing drugs from town,” Dickson said.
In addition to the increased police effort, there is also an ordinance in Beebe that prohibits drug paraphernalia to be sold inside the city limits.
Since the crack down, code enforcement has given notice to several smoke shops to remove any items that may fall under that rule.
With each officer having a hands-on approach, Robertson hopes to get the streets clean again
“Once again be you don’t come to Beebe.”