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Ark. PD braces to lose more than half of its force after chief’s raise is rejected

Mayor: “Who is going to put on a police uniform for $11 an hour when McDonald’s and Walmart pay more than that?”

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By Bill Carey

PARKIN, Ark. — A small Arkansas town may lose more than half of its police officers after officials rejected approving a pay raise for the police chief.

The Parkin city council voted 4-2 to not to give newly hired Police Chief Jeremy McNeil a $12,000 pay raise, WREG reported. After the vote, the police chief verbally resigned and three other officers threatened to quit.

“Since the chief resigned, all of our police officers got up and kind of walked out and said if he’s gone, we’re gone too,” mayor Diane Patterson said. “His salary is only $26,000. We have no health benefits, no retirement, no anything for police officers.”

Parkin is 120 miles east of Little Rock, with roughly 700 residents. It staffs its police department with seven officers, who receive between $11 and $12 per hour.

“Something is going to have to be done for the pay,” Patterson said. “Because who is going to put on a police uniform for $11 an hour when McDonald’s and Walmart and everybody pays more than that.”

Councilmember Sherry Gillon said her reason for voting “no” did not mean forever: “The city just doesn’t have the money at this time. There’s just such greater needs here that need to be done. You can’t say never; we can just say not right now.”

The Cross County Sheriff’s Office will help respond to emergency calls if the Parkin officers officially quit, according to Patterson.