The problems in Washington, D.C. are continuing to cause headaches here at home as the Fort Chaffee police and fire departments dwindle their workforce.
Furloughed employees were sent home as of 11:59 Friday night (Oct.11). It’s all due to the government shutdown.
Chief of Operations at Fort Chaffee, Lt. Col. Dwight Ikenberry, said the crew went from 22 employees down to nine. Five soldiers are stationed as security guards at Chaffee, who are working to keep things under control.
“Really it just requires us to react and utilize our military personnel to try and keep the post open and keep our force protection up and be able to respond to any incident that we could possibly have out here,” Ikenberry said.
The nine employees left, working security at the front gate and patrolling the nearly 65,000 acres at the base.
” Our state employees are very vital to the mission of the Arkansas National Guard,” Ikenberry said. “They do things for us as far as maintaining this post that we as military personnel can`t do.”
The Sebastian County Sheriff’s office tells 5NEWS deputies are also making extra patrols and responding to any emergencies until the shutdown comes to an end. According to Ikenberry, Lavaca, Barling and Fort Smith Police and Fire are also offering their help in case anything happens.
Ikenberry said he’s ready for the furloughs to be over and for all Fort Chaffee staff to return to work.
“It`s a shame that they`re being caught up in this furlough business,” Ikenberry said. “Most of them are just eager to get back to work and do what they enjoy doing which is work out here at Fort Chaffee.”
According to Ikenberry, Chaffee won’t be at full staff until Congress reaches an agreement.
“It is definitely not business as usual,” Ikenberry said. “As soon as this furlough is over, we’ll give them a call and have them get back to work here as quick as they can.”