Trumann mayor responds to recall petition

Friday, June 22, 2012

A petition to recall Trumann mayor Sheila Walters has circulated through the Trumann community over the last few weeks.

Pam Willbanks, mother of Trumann detective Erik Willbanks, who was terminated from the Trumann Police Department following an investigation into former Police Chief Tony Rusher, set up an office last week to collect signatures for the petition.

Asked for her response to the petition, Walters said, "First of all, it's a sad situation that the city was put in. It's sad that these issues came up within the police department."

Walters added she feels the issue of Willbanks' termination is the main reason behind the recall, but she defended both her actions and the right of people to protest.

"I followed the policies and procedures in terminating Officer Willbanks," she said. "I believe people have the right to stand up for what they believe in. I believe in treating people equally and following the law."

Regarding the Rusher investigation, Walters said, "All the evidence is in the prosecutor's hands. Any possible legal action will be taken by the prosecuting attorney. [District Prosecuting Attorney] Scott Ellington will be making whatever decisions need to be made."

When contacted, Pam Willbanks refused to make any comments regarding the petition.

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  • I'am a former resident of Trumann and a retired police officer from another city. The officer in question was wrong by not reporting the actions of his chief when he first became aware of the theft of drugs. This officer, would have taken action if this had been some citizen on the street. By failing to take action, this officer was supportive of the crime being committed.

    -- Posted by ward1960 on Sun, Jun 24, 2012, at 4:03 PM
  • Scott, R. Looking out for each other and supporting each other is not the same as looking the other way when we see a fellow officer violate the law. Ask yourself this question, "Am I any better than a common thief if I just look the other way?" You have to live with your self.

    -- Posted by ward1960 on Wed, Jun 27, 2012, at 5:24 PM
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