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Springdale Police Chief: Recent Gang Killings Not The Reason For Resignation

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) - Springdale Police Chief Kathy O'Kelley submitted her letter of retirement to Mayor Doug Sprouse on Wednesday (May 6).

O'Kelley said she told the mayor last year that she was planning to retire. She told 5NEWS the recent gang violence, including two fatal shootings, has nothing to do with her resignation.

"Those incidents don't have a bearing on my decision, my decision was made for me for my own retirement, it's not running away from something, if anything that has been something that has kind of held me in place, in wanting to stay on when truly my plan was to retire in June," O'Kelley said.

O'Kelley has been the Springdale Police Chief for nearly ten years, she said in her letter, and she called her retirement decision a "heart-head struggle." She said she is leaving the department to spend more time with her parents, who live in Indiana and have failing health.

The chief said she recommended to Mayor Doug to hire within the department for her replacement.

"I think it ensures a little continuity in the services that people have come to expect," O'Kelley said.

Mayor Doug Sprouse said a civil service commission will choose her replacement. He said he isn't worried about the leadership changing amid the recent violence.

"I'm not concerned about the future, I know that those people who have worked with her are well prepared, to carry on and they will continue with excellence, I have no doubt," Sprouse said.

He also said being bilingual will not be a requirement for the future police chief. The mayor said the salary range for the new chief will range from $73,000 to $109,000.

"I can see it as an advantage in some ways, but we don't have a bilingual mayor either so it's hard for me to pass judgement and say you need to be bilingual," Sprouse said.

To read the police chief's resignation letter, click here.

The commission will be meeting Friday (May 8) at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the hiring process for a new police chief.