Arkansas City Police Department works as volunteers, honored as Difference Maker

Difference Makers Award

ARKANSAS CITY, Ark. – A small town in the Arkansas Delta is looking at rebuilding and revitalizing.

Arkansas City in Desha County has a population of just about 300 people.

The mayor hopes to make it a tourist destination since it sits along the Mississippi River. He recently started re-structuring the police department.

Elbert Bonner has been wearing the Arkansas City Police Chief badge since April, but what’s different about him, is he is doing it without a standard paycheck.

“We needed a law enforcement presence. We recently recruited a chief,” Mayor Rick Hales said.

Hales has been working to revitalize the community, making it a spot for cyclists to ride the Delta Heritage Trail.

“We have 10,000 acres of public land here for hunting and bird watching,” Hales added.

But, what was lacking here, was an active police department.

“Just having a visible law enforcement presence is important to us,” Hales explained.

Chief Bonner took over the job as a volunteer.

“The law enforcement here wasn’t present and little things got out of hand. Now it’s been brought back up to standards,” Bonner continued.

Arkansas City is one of a few towns that sells alcohol on Sundays. Chief Bonner says they run into issues with people drinking and driving and they need equipment to help deter that.

“I know that we need preliminary breath tests to help determine if the person we stop needs to have a DWI test,” Bonner said.

For what the mayor and Chief Bonner are doing to build the police department back up and the city, they are being honored.

Rainwater, Holt, and Sexton donated $1,000 to the city’s police department.

“If we need uniforms or equipment. That’s what we will use it for,” Bonner said.

The small community doesn’t have a lot of funding sources, but what they do have, they try to use to bring people here to enjoy the town along the mighty Mississippi.

“We try to use those funds to make something of value for tourists and visitors who come to our town,” Hales said.

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