DEWITT, Ark. – In the tiny town of DeWitt, there is a huge debate about fixing an emergency siren that recently broke.
That debate comes just weeks after a tornado caused quite a bit of property damage in and around town.
“Some people want it fixed others don’t,” DeWitt Chief of Police Steven Bobo explained. “We have two in town, one that works and one that doesn’t. The one that doesn’t work is more our towards the school.”
Bobo said the broken emergency siren is outdated, so it’s not just one piece that needs to be replaced. The town would have to take down the entire siren and put in a brand new one, a task the chief claims would cost around $26,000.
Some community members think the money would be better spent elsewhere.
“(It’s) their tax dollars, so they have a right for their say on where it goes so, we just want them to have the opportunity to say yes or no,” Bobo said.
The chief took to social media, posting on Facebook to ask for the community’s input on the matter.
“We’ve gotten a rather large response from it,” Bobo said.
The city of Dewitt already uses a tool called “Code Red,” an alert system which residents can sign up for to get notifications on their cell or home phone.
A lot of people think Code Red is good enough and money should be put into the roads.
“That’s the main thing I’ve heard is streets, but street funds come from a different area,” Bobo countered.
Many community members responding to the Facebook post said it “shouldn’t even be a question” if the siren gets updated.
The city council is supposed to talk about it and vote at the next meeting in May. As for the police chief, Bobo said he think the town should just fix the siren and move on. Still, he hopes that the community debate can come to a consensus.
“I just don’t want anybody getting upset with other people. I think this is something that needs to be a serious discussion and not just some people getting on Facebook and saying, ‘Duh, why are you even asking this question?’” he said. “Well, we’re asking this question because there are people that want it and there are people that don’t, and I just don’t want anybody getting upset with each other. I want everybody to just sit down and talk about it and figure it out.”