The Parkin Police Department, a small police force in Arkansas, is in danger of losing over half of its seven-member staff. The city council rejected a proposal to raise the police chief’s pay by $12,000, which caused the resignations of the police chief and three other officers. The police chief’s current salary is only $26,000, with no benefits or retirement. Officers at the department earn between $11 and $12 an hour, which is roughly in line with Arkansas’ $11 minimum wage.
Parkin is a small community of around 700 people located about 120 miles east of Little Rock. The lack of available funds was cited as the reason for the pay boost denial by a council member. The potential loss of officers could affect businesses in the town, as owners allegedly said they might close earlier to prevent becoming victims of crime. If the local police officers quit, the Cross County Sheriff’s Office will respond to emergency calls. However, residents believe that backup is not the same as having a fully operational local force.
Mayor Patterson called for action on pay, as it would be difficult to hire new police officers for a salary of $11 per hour. According to Walmart’s website, Walmart associates in Arkansas make an average of $16.01, or roughly $53,945 per year. If the police chief’s wage hike had been authorized, he would have made $38,000, roughly $16,000 less than the typical Walmart associate in the state.
A news article by Emma Colton of Fox News on March 21, 2023, contributed to this report.