MAYFLOWER—Three Mayflower civil servants received accolades during Tuesday’s city council meeting for going "above and beyond" their normal duties, according to city officials.
Police Chief Robert Alcon stood before Mayor Randy Holland and city council members to present officers Darrick Simmons and Nathan Dunlap with certificates of appreciation during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.
Alcon said he wanted to thank these two "for covering more than their responsibility" as another officer was involved in a high-speed chase earlier this month.
"The city otherwise would have been uncovered if these two guys didn’t come in," he said.
Simmons and Dunlap each received a call around 1 a.m. Nov. 17 in hopes they could patrol the city as Officer Joshua Patterson was searching for suspects involved in a high-speed chase.
Patterson was running radar along the eastbound on-ramp by mile marker 135 when he noticed a silver Mercedes speeding at 11:13 p.m. The vehicle fled when he attempted to make a stop and a chase ensued.
During the chase, the suspects fired approximately three rounds at Patterson as he chased them along Interstate 40. The pursuit ended around 11:40 p.m. on River Mountain Road in Little Rock. However, the suspects had "bailed out" and fled on foot, Patterson said. With help from the Arkansas State Police, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and Little Rock Police Department, Patterson searched the area for the suspects.
Simmons and Dunlap both agreed to step in and patrol the city as Patterson searched for the fleeing suspects.
On Tuesday, Alcon said the suspects were still at large but that investigators were working to trace DNA evidence.
Alderman Brian Williams said he also wanted to recognize Fire Chief Joshua Woods.
Williams, who volunteers at Pine Village Fire Department, said he had more time to respond to fire calls last week while he was on vacation from his typical full-time job. In that time, he said he realized just how dedicated Woods is to the city and his fire district.
"I fought three housefires and I fought two brushfires with Josh and he still went out to another [call] I couldn’t make it to because I was too tired to go," Williams said. "This guy coordinates with Cato Fire Department, his department, he calls in the forestry commission and Pine Village Fire Department. He coordinated everything, called everyone to where they needed to be. Everyone had food. Everyone was safe. I watched him do it no less than five times this week."
Williams said he wanted other city officials to be aware of the work Woods puts in.
"I just wanted to tell you all what this guy does for the city," he said.
Over the past seven days, Mayflower volunteer firefighters responded to 34 calls.
Woods said 21 of those were grass fires and five were structure fires.
Woods, who responded to each call, said he wanted to thank volunteers and their families for their assistance in the recent surge of fire calls.
However, the meeting room was packed with residents and newly-signed-on volunteer firefighters who wanted to thank Woods.
"The man has gone many hours away from his family and not leaving a scene or leaving one scene just to go straight to the next," one woman in the audience said. "Just like Brian said, I can’t even tell you how much respect I and my husband have for [Woods]."
Two Snuggs Circle residents, Scott Crow and his wife, Barbara Bogard Crow, found themselves victims of a structure fire on Friday.
Both said they were grateful for work Woods put in to fighting the fire that took their home.
"I personally want to thank him for all he did for us Friday," Bogard Crow said. He ran in circles and didn’t have anyone to help him but still got it done."
Woods said his department is in need of more volunteers and is thankful for the recent hike in membership.
He also said the fire department is in need of supplies to accomodate the need for more volunteers.
Several Mayflower officers are learning the fire trade as well now, which could provide relief to Woods as he responds to late-night fire calls.
Lt. Wesley Tyra said the skill will help officers work alongside the city’s firefighters if needed.
"We’re here during the day [and] during the night, all hours of the night, 24/7," he said. "At the very least, if Chief Woods comes out on a fire call, there’s the potential of also having an officer that’s fire trained to assist him until some other people can get there. I think we’ve unofficially joined each other in that respect."
In other business, the alderman will hold a budget workshop at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 at city hall to discuss the city’s 2018 budget.
Holland said the proposed budget is the "most conservative" he has seen yet.
During the October city council meeting, the city laid off a full-time police officer, citing declining revenues from the city’s sales tax.
Documents collected from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request sent out by the Log Cabin Democrat showed the city’s sales tax revenue has improved thus far in 2017 compared to recent years and that the officer’s eliminated position will not affect the city’s financial standing.
Alderman Eddy York said he encourages residents to provide input during the budget workshop.
"This is a very important thing we’re about to do," he said. "Like the mayor was saying, this will be the most conservative budget that we’ve ever done. We’ve already had to make some cuts to the police department. We just have to do what we have to do."
Aldermen also moved the Dec. 26 council meeting up to Dec. 18 due to the Christmas holiday.