Earle sending officer to police academy

Earle sending officer to police academy

Mayor: ‘ He is a good young officer and we need more of those working here in Earle’

news@theeveningtimes.com

It took a tie breaking vote, but Earle will send one of its part-time police officers to the state police academy for training in January.

Mayor Sherman Smith told the city council that officer Brian Morton expressed an interest to him about wanting to attend the academy.

“He is a good young officer and we need more of those working here in Earle,” Smith said. “If we send him, I know he will work.”

Some on the council, however, were leery of sending him for training, citing reservations about spending the money and then possibly losing him to another law enforcement agency.

“My question is, do we have the money?” Councilman Kenneth Cross asked.

Earle has sent officers to the academy in the past only to get burned when they left to take jobs at other law enforcement agencies. And while the hiring department must reimburse the municipality which paid for the officer’s training by law, the process has left some on the council leery of sending others.

“The last one we sent went to West Memphis,” said Councilwoman Jimmie Barham.

Morton has been a police officer in Earle for two years, but currently only works part-time and 20 hours a week.

Cross questioned why Morton would want to stay with the city in a part-time capacity after he earns his academy certification.

Earle only has two full time police officers.

“Do you think he will go through the training and come back and work 20 hours a week?” Cross asked.

Smith said the city has always voted to send its officers to the academy, and that he believes Morton will stay on the job since he has already shown dedication to the city.

“We’re just trying to get him certified,” Smith said.

“He may stick around until a full time position opens up. If we don’t, I think he will do whatever it takes to further his career.”

“If he’s been good to Earle, then Earle should be good to him,” added Councilman Donnie Cheers.

Councilman Robert Malone

agreed.

“I don’t have a problem sending him,” Malone said. “I think he is a good officer.”

The council deadlocked 44, with Cross and Councilman Charlie Young voting no and Cheers and Councilman Tyrome Hurst abstaining, leaving Smith to cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of sending Morton to the academy.

The 13-week academy starts in January.

By Mark Randall

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