Police recognize officers, civilian for good work


A number of Pine Bluff police officers and a civilian were recognized Tuesday during the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs program, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc.

Based on the recommendations of Capt. Kelvin Hadley, Police Chief Jeff Hubanks briefly outlined what each officer did in late June and though the middle of July.

Officer David Harrell was cited for his actions following a robbery at the Town and Country Club at 5000 Old Warren Road on July 27. According to a letter to Hadley from Lt. Donna Fratesi, Harrell responded, along with Sgt. Billy Dixon, and was advised by the clerk that she had been robbed at gunpoint by a man wearing a red hoodie.

After getting the direction of travel for the suspect, Harrell saw a suspect vehicle drive by and gave chase, and with Detective Cassandra McAfee, stopped the vehicle and arrested a suspect. A gun and red hoodie were recovered in the vehicle.

Based on the recommendation of Sgt. Derrick Neal, Harrell and Officers Jalyndria Murry, Keith Wright, Joseph O’Neal, Justin Williams, Jeremy Brown and Mario Brown were all recognized for their actions following an incident involving a vehicle that had been reported stolen July 7.

Murry received a call advising her than On Star had located a vehicle that had been reported stolen and tried to stop it but the vehicle got away from her.

While looking for the vehicle, she spotted it at West 31st Avenue and Locust Street and both the driver and passenger bailed out and ran.

Thanks to Murry’s accurate description, Neal arrested the passenger a short distance away and he asked for assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office K-9.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Thaddeus Arnold and his dog arrived and Harrell saw the suspect running south between a house in the 1600 block of West 31st Avenue and jumping a fence before running into a house at 1605 W. 31st Ave.

A female who was inside the house ran out and said the suspect was in a bedroom and Wright, O’Neal, Williams, M. Brown and J. Brown all went in and arrested the suspect, who resisted and had to be tazed before he could be cuffed.

A loaded weapon and suspected marijuana were located inside the stolen vehicle.

Also recognized were Sgt. Sam Atkinson, Sgt. Dixon, Lt. Joe Paul Harrell and Officer Katisha Johnson for their actions after a reported robbery at Oak Park Liquor on July 8.

According to a letter from Harrell, Atkinson responded to the call and directed other police units to go over to Howard Drive, where they saw two of the suspects from the robbery and a third individual run across the ditches and railroad tracks to the back of the old County Market.

The suspects were contained in a two-block area and were quickly apprehended, and when questioned by night shift detectives, confessed and named others involved in the incident.

Officers Rick Bunting, Phillip Meachem and Christopher Fontenette were recognized for their work after responding to a reported burglary-in-progress call at 3007 S. Midland Drive on July 16.

Sgt. Derrick Price said in a letter to Hadley that Meachem caught one suspect attempting to break into a trailer and two other suspects climbed a fence in an attempt to get away.

Bunting also climbed the fence and caught a second suspect while Fontenette went to the back of the fence where the third suspect was arrested.

Meachem also located the suspect’s vehicle, and two weapons, one of them reported stolen, were in plain sight inside the vehicle.

Also recognized was Lavasha Harris, a civilian who Fratesi said in a letter to Hadley took the time to help others.

Harrell was sent to a call on June 27 where he encountered Harris, who contacted police to report that she had been at an ATM and the vehicle in front of her left without taking their bank card and $100 cash from the machine.

Harris tried to contact the person whose name was on the ATM card but was unsuccessful but Harrell was able to locate the address and was on his way there when the owner of the card contacted police dispatchers to report leaving her money.

Harrell was able to return the money thanks to the actions of “an honest citizen, Lavasha Harris.

“I feel like we need to recognize the actions of the good people in Pine Bluff and this is definitely an example,” Fratesi said in the letter.