Trumann Chief talks animal control

Monday, May 20, 2013
Trumann Police Chief Chad Henson talked to the city council about their concerns for animal control at the May monthly meeting. (DT Photo/Belina Santos)

At May's Trumann City Council meeting, Chief Chad Henson addressed the stray animal problem that seemed to be one of the biggest complaints within the wards.

"The animals are rampant here in Trumann," said Henson.

He explained that there is now one dedicated police officer to pick up stray animals. However, he added that the officer is looking to take care of vicious dogs. With loose dogs, Henson said the officer is instructed to issue a citation for the owner that does not put a leash on the dog.

"Any other dead animals or loose dogs, we are trying to divert that to the street department," he said.

He mentioned that Trumann has appointed a police officer as animal control to "beat the punch" because of a law that is going into effect in the near future.

"We are heading this way, because the law states if you enforce the law, you have to be a certified officer," said Henson.

He added they are planning on having a temporary facility for dogs within the year. With a facility, any police officer on duty can pick up the animal and take care of the problem. Henson said the only problem with that is that the law states that the city has to spay or neuter the dogs that they pick up, which would be very costly for Trumann. Henson is looking to work with organizations that take in the dogs and spay or neuter them for free, once he gets the facility up and running.

The chief also addressed the council with a resolution to adopt the new policy and procedure manual for the Trumann Police Department. The manual included many guidelines concerning employee benefits to how to handle search and seizure.

"If the police department was to get sued, it's because we didn't follow all of these guidelines," said Henson.

Alderman Ted Walker asked the chief if the same guidelines were implemented all throughout the state. Henson answered by saying it was a "model policy."

"Any agency I've ever seen, went by this policy," said Henson.

He did mention one deviation in Trumann's policy from the original policy, and it concerned sick-leave for officers. Henson requires his officers to provide him with a location of recovery when they take sick-days, so he can insure they are using them for the proper use. Another difference in Trumann's manual is that roadblocks are not allowed.

The council approved the resolution to adopt the policy and procedure manual for the TPD.

In other business, the council:

*heard an update from Mayor Sheila Walters about the recent trash-pickup issue. "The garbage truck was down for seven days, because people have been throwing away things that they are not suppose to," said Walters. She added that the street crew is willing to pick up scrap metal and sticks if residents will put them beside the garbage rather than inside it. The issue has been resolved.

*heard from Walters on the new pond being constructed by Mulberry street to prevent major flooding. She said things are going smoothly for the time being. Walters also mentioned that she is looking at ideas for a draining system for Marcus Street. "We are keeping a look out for grants, because that is our biggest flooding problem in the city right now," the mayor said. "It could be a long-term project, but I want to be really aggressive when it comes to flooding."

*heard from James Baker with a good update on Parks and Recreation. He said he has not heard many complaints and feels that everything is running smoothly.

*announced a budget meeting at 6 p.m. on May 21 at the mayor's office.

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