Benton FOP Formally Endorses Bruce Pennington for Sheriff
May 18, 2012
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISIMINATION
Members of the Benton Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police would like to announce they are formally endorsing Bruce Pennington for Sheriff of Saline County.
We agree that the working relationship between law enforcement agencies in the county are the best they have been in recent memory. This is due in part to the efforts Sheriff Pennington has made in establishing a good working rapport with all of the agencies throughout the county since taking office.
Just a sampling of the efforts and fruition this relationship has produced and the benefits to the citizens of Saline County include:
• For the first time ever the chiefs of police from agencies within the county and the sheriff are holding monthly meetings to coordinate enforcement efforts and disseminate information between the departments. This cooperation has facilitated a speedy flow of data between agencies and has resulted in what we feel are better protections for our citizens.
• The Sheriff’s Office, under Bruce Pennington, has participated in every prescription drug take back (Operation Medicine Cabinet’s I – V) for the past three years. This endeavor not only helped get prescription drugs out of people’s homes, but more importantly raised awareness in our community about the dangers of an epidemic among our teens and young adults. Saline County has been at the forefront of the take back events and has consistently ranked in the top 5 counties in amount of drugs collected. In 2009 there were 30 deaths directly attributed to prescription drug abuse and misuse in Saline County and after efforts were started there was a drop in 2010 to 15 deaths attributed to the same. We as police officer’s feel that there has been a noticeable decrease in the amount of prescription drug abuse incidents that we see on a day to day basis.
• The sheriff’s office has participated in numerous multi-jurisdictional operations the past few years that have never been held before in recent memory. Warrant roundups coordinated between the sheriff’s office, other county law enforcement agencies, and the US Marshal’s office have resulted in dozens of felony arrests that might have otherwise clogged our justice system for months or years. Sobriety checkpoints in Benton, Bryant and the county have netted dozens of DWI/DUI arrests in addition to numerous other charges, including drug arrests and warrants.
• Sheriff Pennington had the foresight to deputize officers in city agencies in the county to better enable them to follow-up leads on investigations that cross jurisdictional boundaries. Probably nowhere has this been more important than narcotic investigations that are often not limited to city limits and often require extensive investigations in numerous locations.
The facts listed above are just some of the positive enhancements to public service that have taken place under Sheriff Bruce Pennington’s administration. Based upon the demeanor we have seen from James Ward, the associations he maintains with ex-law enforcement officers found to be not fit for duty, Mr. Wards lack of training and experience, and past publicly reported incidents of threats and intimidation as a means of political influence, we are concerned that James Ward would not be the cooperative or capable partner to work with on future matters. We are concerned that past progress would be eroded or completely undone.
It is our belief that Bruce Pennington is the best candidate for the position of Sheriff of Saline County and the most qualified person to provide public safety to our families and the citizens we serve.