HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. - The City of Helena-West Helena is focusing on catching criminals.
The city received several grants to pay for police body cameras, police training and a neighborhood watch program.
A $50,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation will go towards police training and expanding a neighborhood watch program.
The police department also received a grant for body cameras. The officers are currently wearing 20 new body cameras that were purchased from the grant.
Mayor Kevin Smith said the officers didn’t have body cameras in the past.
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“We really need to instill confidence in our policeman, body cameras are a way I think to build credibility,” said Smith.
He said the body cameras will protect officers and the people who live in the city.
“The officer knows that it’s not he said she said, you got evidence that they did the right thing, so it’s good for them too,” said Smith.
Mayor said the city will use the $50,000 grant to pay for police training and expanding the neighborhood watch programs.
“Neighborhood watch programs can help give us those tips we need while protecting the people who give the tips,” said Smith.
He said the neighborhood watch program is important because the city is spread out.
Another focus is recruiting more police officers.
Right now, there are about 21 officers.
“What we want people to understand is if they want to break the law this is not the place to come and do that. They need to go somewhere else because we are going to hold them accountable here,” said Smith.
The new county jail will open in October.
The city is also applying for a “Click It or Ticket” grant that will focus on safety laws, DUIs and other programs.
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