No Charges For Centerton Police Chief, Captain, Special Prosecutor Finds

CENTERTON, Ark. (KFSM) — The Centerton police chief and a police captain will not face charges after an investigation into "possible criminal actions," a special prosecutor announced.

Jack McQuary, state special prosecutor, reported his findings in a letter to Judge Robin Green of the Benton County Circuit Court on Tuesday (April 30).

Both Chief Cody Harper and Capt. Kris Arthur were reinstated during a special city council meeting on Tuesday night.

In the letter, McQuary said Harper reportedly exchanged tires from a new personal vehicle with the used tires of a city vehicle.

Since the tires given to the city vehicle had a much higher value than those of the city vehicle that were taken, "there is no evidence of criminal action associated with the Chief of Police exchanging tires," McQuary said.

He did say the chief should have gotten permission from the city council first, however.

McQuary also addressed complaints about the use of points-rewarding credit cards used by Harper and Arthur.

He said the use of the city credit cards didn't show any thefts, but that Centerton probably needed to improve its policies on the use and reimbursement of credit cards to protect the use of the cards and the governing of "points" gained by using private cards and getting reimbursed.

The third complaint alleged the two officers misuse of federal funds in the Selective Traffic Enforcement Projects (STEP) by receiving federal funds to cover the overtime of officers on different highway safety projects.

An audit showed the captain and chief were paid a total of $14,606 in overtime.

The federal money must be spent in accordance with local policy on overtime, McQuary said. However, neither the chief nor the captain, as salaried employees, were eligible for overtime.

McQuary said the city later authorized them to work overtime on the projects, but that may have violated the federal guidelines.

But McQuary said the city would have to answer to the federal government on that issue, as it was out of his jurisdiction. He said he would refer the issue to federal authorities.

The initial complaints, coupled with a complaint of the city violating the state Speed Trap Law, came to the Benton County Prosecutor's office in February.

Prosecutor Nathan Smith said at the time that the city did not violate the Speed Trap Law, but that he would have the Arkansas State Police look into the other complaints.

The investigation was carried out primarily by Special Agent Robert Middleton of the Arkansas State Police Special Investigations Unit, McQuary said.

Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards fired Harper and Arthur before later reinstating them and suspending them with pay.

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