Sheriff Mills responds to O'Brien Workman's Comp case

Thursday, February 28, 2002

On February 22, Sheriff Larry Mills responded to what appeared to be an accusation against his department and Poinsett County with "I assure everyone that Poinsett County or the Poinsett County Sheriff's Department does not oppose any benefits for which Deputy O'Brien is entitled." " We fully support E.C. and would do absolutely nothing to prevent him from receiving all benefits of which are due him."

An article appeared in the "Jonesboro Sun" last week, concerning disability benefits for former Poinsett County Deputy, E.C. O'Brien. The article made it appear that Poinsett County and the Poinsett County Sheriff's Department were opposed to Deputy O'Brien receiving benefits.

The Sheriff telephoned O'Brien after reading the article and O'Brien said that he knew they (Sheriff's Department or the County) had nothing to do with objections to the benefits, that worker's compensation was challenging the percentage of disability and that was all.

"E.C. and I worked many years beside each other in the field of law enforcement and our personal friendship spans over twenty years," Mills said. "As a police officer, I counted on E.C. for my back-up and he was always there for me." O'Brien was dedicated to his duties as a deputy sheriff, he said.

On April 23, 1997, a horrific tragedy occurred on West Road, south of Marked Tree. Poinsett County Deputy Sheriff, James Harper, was fatally wounded and Deputy O'Brien was shot three times, while trying to help his fellow officer. Deputy O'Brien went from trying to help Deputy Harper, to defending his own life.

The Arkansas Worker's Compensation Commission is apparently challenging the percentage of disability that Deputy O'Brien is entitled. Both O'Brien and the Sheriff said that the newspaper article should have accurately reflected these facts.

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