Sheriff Mills announces he will seek re-election

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Poinsett County Sheriff and Collector Larry Mills, announced Tuesday he will seek re-election to the office in the May Democratic Primary. Mills is a democrat and is currently serving his sixth term in office.

Mills said he will continue to work on the goals he has set forth and polish the programs he has initiated since his election to office in the 1996 General Election.

Drugs and thefts remain the top priorities and the Poinsett County Sheriff's Department will continue to pursue drug dealers, methamphetamine manufacturers and thieves. A reduction in drug offenses means less general crime, as they are closely related. A substantial reduction (approximately 80 %) in local clandestine methamphetamine labs has occurred in the past two years in Poinsett County. Mills attributes this reduction to enhanced enforcement and legislation as well as governing the accessibility of ingredients required to manufacture methamphetamines. He also credits early intervention drug education programs (D.A.R.E.) and long term rehabilitation programs. Mills said future legislation and enhanced enforcement are the keys to successfully combating the drug problems. Mills has been active in the legislature, working with lawmakers to place ephedrine products behind the counter and the MethCheck program. MethCheck permits local law enforcement to have immediate access to over the limit purchases of ephedrine products through electronic monitoring.

The Emergency 911 system has been upgraded through Phase I and is currently at Phase II, allowing dispatchers to pinpoint cellular phone locations. This is possible with the aid of a GPS tracking system. These improvements were made with grant funds.

During Mill's tenure, the county has constructed a building at the detention center to house the search and rescue equipment. Construction expenses were paid with state funds. The Poinsett County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team is made up of over forty volunteers with resources such as horses, all-terrain vehicles, aircraft and boats.

The inmate work program stays in full swing with inmates working on everything from maintenance of county buildings to lawncare, cleaning up illegal dump sites and assisting with commodity distribution.

Mills also helped secure a grant to continue the D.A.R.E. program and provide advanced training and continuing education opportunities for the deputies, dispatchers and jailers. He helped construct a sheriff's department website to better keep the public informed with a link to the sex offender registry and the Arkansas Sheriff's Association.

"We have developed and maintained a good working relationship with all law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels," Mills said.

Mills said he represents Poinsett County in a positive and professional manner. He is active in the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association where he currently serves as a past president and sits on the nominating committee. Mills has also served on the Drug Enforcement/Education Committee, Finance Committee and the State Executive Directors and Presidents of the National Sheriffs' Association. Mills serves as first Vice President of the Arkansas Sheriffs' Youth Ranches. Mills also serves on the Second Judicial District Drug Task Force board of directors, Consolidated Youth Services Advisory Board and is a past president of the Eastern Arkansas Peace Officers' Association. His wife, Martha, is a past president of the Arkansas Sheriffs' Wives Association.

Mills said he has an excellent staff and believes in leadership versus management. Making leaders out of followers is the key to success.

The success of the department is a direct result of hard work, diligence and dedication by the staff," Mills said. "We will continue to protect and serve the citizens of Poinsett County by providing the highest level of dedication, diligence and professionalism. Our people deserve it. We have always had an open door policy at the sheriff's office and we welcome your input as citizens of our community."

Mills is currently in his 26th year as a law enforcement officer, 18 of those in an administrative capacity. He and his wife, Martha, have two children and four grandchildren. Larry is a native of Poinsett County, graduated from Harrisburg High School and attended Black River Technical College.

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