By Terrica Hendrix
A longtime Dierks police officer resigned Monday.
The resignation of 18-year police officer veteran Jason Icenhower was unanimously accepted by the Dierks City Council Monday, Aug. 13 after a 15-minute executive session.
Dierks Police Chief Brian White requested that the council have an executive session to discuss “a personnel issue” within the city’s police department. The council immediately voted to go into executive session and White was allowed to explain the personnel issue to the council privately.
When the meeting returned to open session, the council unanimously accepted Icenhower’s two-sentence resignation read by Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts. The resignation letter stated, “I, Jason Icenhower, am resigning my position at the Dierks Police Department. My resignation is effective immediately.” Icenhower was the assistant police chief.
Mounts then appointed John McKee as the new Dierks assistant police chief. The mayor confirmed that assistant police chief position pays $16.87 per hour. White estimated that the assistant chief typically works 44-46 hours per week. White said that accepting Icenhower’s resignation “is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with” as a police chief.
White, who has been police chief since 1993, said that Icenhower “wanted to be out of the public eye…it was a personal issue.” The Dierks Police Department roster now consists of White and McKee who are full-time officers, and two part-time officers Benny Simmons and Kevin Dinger.
In other business, Mayor Mounts had to call the council back into session after he realized he had forgotten an agenda item.
The item concerned the resignation of longtime council member Debbie Brock.
The meeting was called back to order at 6:44 p.m. and the mayor read Brock’s handwritten resignation letter which stated, “I am requesting that you accept my resignation for councilwoman Ward 3, Position 2, City of Dierks, effective immediately today, Friday, July 13. It has been an honor to serve as a council member. After much thought and consideration, I believe this is the right time to resign. This has not been an easy decision. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a special group of people.”
The council accepted Brock’s resignation and added that the city will need someone to fill Brock’s position soon. Brock served on the council for 12 years.
The two resignations come a week after the Arkansas State Police confirmed to The Nashville News-Leader the City of Dierks and the Dierks PD are currently under investigation by the state police.
“(The investigation) remains in an active status and no information from the case file is being released at this time,” according to ASP Public Information Officer Bill Sadler.
Council members present at the meeting were Roddy Smith, John Sharp, James Sebren and Carol Sharp. Council members Brock and John Hill were absent.
Also Monday, the mayor said the city audit was completed and now is being presented to the Legislative Audit Committee. Mounts added that the “city received a good, clean audit…they didn’t find anything major.”
Dierks School District Superintendent Jody Cowart also addressed the council about the district’s need for a School Resource Officer. Cowart said the district would need one officer to cover both campuses.
Benny Simmons, a part-time Dierks Police officer is interested in the SRO position, Cowart told the council. Cowart added that the “safety of the students is the number one concern.” No action was taken and the issue will be addressed at an upcoming meeting.
Mayor Mounts also reported that annual Pine Tree Festival was a success and thanked Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins and Howard County Chief Deputy John Eric Glidewell for allowing 309’s (trusted inmates) “to help clean up the park” for the festival.
Chief White also reported to the council that the police department issued “30-40 citations” for the month of July and the fire department responded to 10 calls and five of the calls were for medical help.