Police Chief Suspended After Recording Surfaces
Bethel Heights Police Chief Don McKinnon has been placed on administrative suspension after a recording surfaced of him speaking to an officer about ticketing procedures, Mayor Jeff Hutcheson said Thursday (Aug. 15).
The administrative action came after police Cpl. Tim Brasuell produced a cellphone recording of the chief urging “dirty pool” tactics in writing more traffic tickets.
Brasuell gave the recording to the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said prosecutor Van Stone. Stone told 5NEWS on Thursday he will not pursue the case because too many questions exist about the audio.
Stone forwarded to case to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation. However, the Sheriff’s Office has decided not to investigate the case.
The Bethel Heights City Council is set to meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. to discuss the police chief’s status with the department, Hutcheson said.
In the audio recording, a voice identified by Brasuell as the chief tells the officer ticket numbers are down and gives him advice on how to increase the number of tickets.
“If I’d see a vehicle, I could always find…some reason to stop them,” the audio recording states. “I know I wanna stop that car load of dumb (expletive) in the car…Hell, I’d get behind ‘em in, on the other lane and then I’d start crowding ‘em.”
The chief then seems to say, “Then they’re gonna move over…to the yellow line. (Expletive), there’s the reason to stop ‘em.”
The voice in the recording goes on to say, “It’s kind of dirty pool, but I’ve made two or three arrests out of it.”
The prosecutor received the recording from Brasuell on July 22. Stone recommended Brasuell contact the Arkansas State Police or FBI about the case, according to official documents. Brasuell said he tried to report the case to state police, but no one called him back. He also said he did not want to report it to the FBI because he thought it would take too long, according to the documents.