In the first two days of the new year, two shootings have killed two and injured five. Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot says both incidents are under investigation. He says what is slowing progress is not getting needed information from the public.
“The problem the police department faces are a lack of cooperation from the victims and the witnesses,” said Elliot. “This is a problem that many other police departments across the nation face.”
Elliot urged citizens to work with Jonesboro police on these and future investigations.
He says the police have been getting tougher on crime, enlisting a STREET crimes unit since 2017. He has been working with 2nd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington’s office in expanding that division…as well as working with federal authorities.
“We now have credentialed officers that are tied in with the FBI, ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), a deputy United States Marshall, and Homeland Security,” said Elliot. “Any chance we get to take a criminal to federal court, we will do so because the sentences are longer.”
Elliot says the formation of a 2nd Judicial District Task Force will help the police in combatting more of the drug and gang activity in Jonesboro. He says the police department is committed to keeping citizens in Jonesboro safe.
In other news, the partial government shutdown is having minimal effects on the operations of the city of Jonesboro. Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the shutdown is currently affecting federal funds that are used to run the JETS program, COPS grants, and the Community Development Block Grant program through HUD. Perrin says for right now, the city is moving forward in operations of those grant programs.
“We will continue to operate and use funds from the city and when the shutdown ends, then we will be reimbursed by the federal government,” said Perrin.
Perrin says community meetings will be held Wednesday concerning how the community wants the Community Development Block Grant money to be allocated. A meeting will be held Wednesday morning at nine at the Jonesboro municipal center and at 5:30 at the E. Boone Watson Community Center on Logan Street in Jonesboro.
Also, the Jonesboro City Council has approved the Jonesboro Quality of Life and Connectivity Master Plan.
The plan was put together after months of public meetings and input about how to connect Jonesboro for those who like walking or biking. The connectivity plan develops a beltway that would connect all of Jonesboro together through a series of interconnected trails and corridors. There will be five corridors which radiates from downtown towards public parks and a regional loop trail. There will also be connectivity between downtown Jonesboro and Arkansas State in the plan. Elevated crossings would be installed when necessary, and there will be rest areas placed at designated places in the city along the corridors. This year, planning and organizing the plan will start, along with fundraising. The plan is expected to be fully complete by 2029.