Earle PD updating policy and procedures handbook
Captain working with sheriff to make ‘ more professional police department’
Earle Police Department is updating its handbook to better define the policies and procedures each officer will be required to follow.
Capt. John Couch told the city council that the current handbook is only about three pages long and needs to be updated.
“Earle is kind of lacking in a lot of areas as far as its policies for law enforcement,” Couch said.
Couch said he has met with Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen to go over the department’s policies and procedures and solicited his ideas on what Earle should do to bring its policies up to date.
“One thing I want to do is to make it a more professional police department,” Couch said. “Right now what I am seeing is that the Earle Police Department is not where it needs to be.
We need to make sure we have proper procedures and proper protocols in place for our officers — myself included.”
Couch said one of the biggest problems the department has now is that city officials and the citizens feel entitled to meddle in police affairs.
That has to stop.
Couch said while he depends on citizens to report police misconduct, the proper way to handle complaints is to report them to the city’s police commission.
“One of the issues that has come up is that for years and years everybody in the city is in the police department’s business,” Couch said. “That can’t be possible. Those complaints should not come to me.
They should go to the police commission. And if there is something there, then they can ask me about it.”
Couch said citizens can be assured that the police commission is listening to them and doing its job whenever a situation is warranted.
He has been pressed hard a number of times by the commission. Many of the complaints he was unaware of.
“I got grilled and grilled and grilled on things my officers are doing,” Couch said. “It wasn’t fun. But it made me go back and look at different policies and procedures. So it does work if people utilize it.”
Couch said he will be putting together a new policies and procedures manual which he will bring back to the city council for it to review and approve “It will basically be the same policies the Sheriff’s Office has,” Couch said. “I will have something for you all to look over so you can sign off on it. I want these officers to actually have a rule book so they can go by while they do their job so they can be held accountable with the citizens of this city.”
Mayor Caroline Jones praised Couch’s efforts and said she agrees that there is too much meddling in city business going on in Earle.
“People are butting in to the police department’s business because that’s the way it has always been,” Jones said. “It is the same way in the street department. We need to leave the police alone. We need to leave the mechanics alone.
But that’s the way it has always been done. But it is wrong.”
Couch asked for the public’s continued help in making the police department a better organization.
“We want our officers to be accountable and function properly,” Couch said.
“If you see things or hear things that the department are doing, those things need to be brought to our attention. If I don’t know about it, I can’t do anything about it. I try to be out there as
much as possible. But I need information from you, the public, to tell me what is going on. I can not do
that by myself. I work tirelessly to make Earle a better place to live.”
By Mark Randall