Family Wants Police Chief Fired; City Stands by Decision

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The family of a man shot to death by a former Bella Vista police officer is speaking out, after the man took a new job as a police chief.

Stephen Postert is the brother-in-law of James Ahern. He's upset that the Coleman “Duke” Brackney, who was convicted in Ahern’s death, was recently named police chief in Sulphur Springs.

"What I would like to see is the mayor of Sulphur Springs, Ark., terminate him as chief of police and then I would like to see the training and certification department in the state of Arkansas to de-certify him as a police officer so he can no longer serve as a police officer in the state of Arkansas,” Postert said.

Brackney came highly recommended from others in the county, according to Sulphur Springs City Council member, Martha Kreder.

"First of all he's a local man and he will care greatly about our town and he is qualified and he was highly recommended,” said Kreder.

Brackney was convicted of misdemeanor negligent homicide after shooting Ahern in a high-speed pursuit in January 2010.

He was fired from the Bella Vista police department and served a month in jail. The conviction was later expunged and Ahern’s family was awarded $20,000 after filing a lawsuit against Brackney.

Sulphur Springs Mayor, Bob Simon told 5NEWS he stands behind his decision to hire Brackney.

According to Kreder the city has been without a police officer for almost six months.

"We need him here for the security of the residents and the businesses and just all around security for everyone," said Kreder.

Brackney said law enforcement is his passion and hopes to retire from this career.

“Everybody can judge everybody else until you have actually rode with a police officer or have a family member or friend that is a police officer, you don`t really know what the job entails,” he said.

"I feel sorry for the people in that town because they have an out of control individual as their police chief," added Postert.

Kreder said if residents are concerned about Brackney, they should talk to him.

"Talk to him, he started last Monday and I've talked to him several times and he's very open and I'm sure he will answer any questions they have,” said Kreder.

Brackney hopes to add more officers to the Sulphur Springs Police Department.