A letter from Sheriff Doc Holladay
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of the Citizens of Pulaski County by providing professional law enforcement services through effective, efficient and proactive police service throughout the County. We are committed to ensuring the operation of an efficient, secure and adequate Regional Detention Facility that serves to support all the law enforcement agencies in Pulaski County in our fight against crime and violence, as an effective part of the administration of criminal justice. We are an organization that understands the statutory responsibilities bestowed upon the Sheriff and are dedicated to meet these responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
During my tenure, I have worked every day to make this organization better than it was the day before. My administrative staff has more than 180 years of law enforcement experience, most of those in management or supervisory positions. This expertise has allowed us to quickly recognize the needs of the department, to more efficiently serve the people. Above all, we recognize our obligations to the citizens of Pulaski County.
The statutory responsibilities of the Sheriff are three-fold:
- Provide law enforcement services for the citizens of the County
- Administer the County Jail
- Perform Judicial Duties (Warrants, Courts, etc.)
The Detention Center
When I took office in January 2007, the Detention Center was operating on a budget to house 880 inmates. The facility simply was not large enough to house the number of criminals arrested by the law enforcement agencies, and those committed by the courts within Pulaski County. My staff and I are committed to ensuring bed space for all violent offenders arrested in Pulaski County, and as many of the non-violent felons as possible. We have worked closely with the County Judge and Quorum Court to identify available revenue to increase bed space within the Detention Center. As a result, we are now budgeted for 1,210 beds, which is the current maximum capacity of our Detention Center. I intend to continue to advocate for additional beds to manage the “identified” criminal population in Pulaski County. A 2007 study by UALR entitled “University Task Force on Public Safety and the Pulaski County Jail” determined that 1500-1600 beds are needed to adequately meet the law enforcement needs in Pulaski County.
With those figures in mind, we have completed construction of 240 additional beds to house non-violent felons. This addition is partially on-line with the first 80 beds funded and as the remaining 160 beds are funded, this will bring our maximum capacity to 1,370 beds. These new beds will provide space for burglars, drug offenders and thieves who need to be incarcerated to deter their repeat behavior. We know that these type criminals will continue to commit multiple offenses, thereby adversely affecting the over-all crime rate, unless there is incarceration or threat of possible incarceration. Future plans will require additional beds for violent felons. This matter will be dealt with, as funds are available.
In May 2007, I appointed a 15 person Citizens Jail Committee. It is appropriate that the public have input of ideas regarding the jail issues in this County. Therefore, this Committee was chosen to be representative of all areas of the County and represent diversity within the County. The Committee meets quarterly. They are updated as needed on changes made and activities within the jail or within the County government, involving the jail.
We also actively encourage private citizens and community organizations to tour the facility and see for themselves how this jail is being operated.
Law Enforcement Operations
The Detention Center is just one aspect of the Sheriff’s responsibilities. Although the Detention Center gets the most attention from the media and the cities within Pulaski County, to the citizens in the 580 square miles of unincorporated area of Pulaski County, law enforcement is the primary concern. To that end, it has been my focus to improve equipment, address staffing needs, upgrade technology and improve morale, to provide a more effective law enforcement presence in the County. To this end, my staff is continually evaluating calls for service in each area of the county, which has resulted in the re-location of our North Center precinct from Gravel Ridge to 25413 Hwy. 107. We are now more centrally located to the public we serve in this area of the county.
The County is divided into five patrol district offices, three north of the river and two south of the river. Staffing is based on district size and call load, to ensure that response times for service are reduced. The latest technology available has been installed in each district office to enhance deputies’ ability to write reports and process information more efficiently, thereby allowing them to spend more time on patrol.
When my administration took office in January 2007, there was a critical need to upgrade the Sheriff’s vehicle fleet. Vehicles had not been purchased for the three previous years. The fleet was old and maintenance costs were at a critical level. In order to upgrade the fleet, I chose to fund the lease-purchase of 48 vehicles, on a three-year contract. The 1.2 million dollar contract was funded through telephone services of the Detention Center. What this means is that vehicles are paid for by inmates and their families, through reimbursement from our Detention telephone provider. Continuing use of this revenue source allows us to upgrade our Patrol and Detention fleet on an annual basis.
Upon purchase of these vehicles, we began the process of equipping them with computer systems that allow deputies to complete reports “in the field”, rather than having to return to a district office to complete paperwork. This system is now available to all patrol personnel. We have purchased tasers for all Deputies in the Enforcement Branch and AR-15 rifles for specifically trained deputies and supervisors. This equipment will allow us to respond more effectively to high intensity critical situations.
Law enforcement is most effective when administration utilizes all available resources to enhance department personnel, programs and equipment. To that end, we continue to explore grant opportunities for equipment that might assist us in doing our jobs more thoroughly. An example is digital enhancement equipment received from Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program, which allows us to digitally enhance video or photographic evidence taken from crime scenes or discovered as evidence.
I also understand the importance of reaching out to our most valuable resource, the citizens of Pulaski County. We have asked private citizens to become (VIPS) Volunteers in Police Service and to join our Reserve Deputy Program, and they have responded. We utilize these volunteers who give their time and resources to support the various community efforts, in which we are involved. They work in support of patrol, investigations, and detention deputies. We have asked, and been successful in having private citizens donate equipment, time and money to complete development of a new Sheriff’s Office Firearms Training Range. Private business owners have offered, and I have accepted the use of private helicopters in searches for wanted persons, fleeing suspects and missing persons. This is a continuing resource. I reinstated the Citizens Police Academy, graduating our first class in September 2010. This is an annual event to further educate concerned citizens. If you are interested in participating in this program, you can contact our Media Relations Office at 340-7055. When I became a member of the Sheriff’s Office, one of the first things I observed was we had no memorial to honor those deputies who had been killed in the line of duty. I was determined to provide a memorial to these men, at no expense to the citizens of the County. We again reached out to private citizens and business owners and they provided the funding to construct the memorial. A dedication ceremony was held in July 2007 and each year during Law Enforcement Memorial week, we recognize these deputies for their supreme sacrifice.
I believe our most valuable asset is our children. We need to do our part as a law enforcement agency to reach them in a positive way, before they become a negative statistic. It is my goal to develop a Junior Police Academy.
We have formed a “cold case” squad, utilizing experienced investigators to review unsolved homicides and missing person cases to develop new leads to identify possible suspects and give “closure” to families of the victims.
This has been a brief overview of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office operation. There are many other things going on within the organization, but my pledge is that whatever we do will help us to provide better service to you.
Pulaski County residents can contact Sheriff Doc Holladay with comments or questions at email address firstname.lastname@example.org.