Update: The Bella Vista City Council amended the budget Monday night to set aside $55k to build a security gate around the police department.
BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KFSM) — In light of Fayetteville Police Officer Stephen Carr being shot in the parking lot of the police station, Bella Vista is hoping to add more security to keep their officers safe.
The Bella Vista Police Department wants to have a six-foot chain-link fence built around the side and back of the parking lot, because right now, where officers park is very exposed.
“This fence will give my officers and me a sense of security that when they are in the parking lot, they can at least lower their guard a little bit as they are unloading equipment or processing prisoners, that somebody can’t just walk up on them from outside and surprise them,” Chief James Graves said.
Chief James Graves says half of the parking lot will be open for the public park. He says the fence will have a drive-thru gate for police and fire vehicles and employees.
“The gate will be fobbed from the outside, so you will be able to get access if you have the proper fob on your keyring and there will be a four-foot walk thru gate for employee, pedestrian traffic,” he said.
To get this added security, the city council will have to vote to amend the 2020 budget on Monday (Jan. 27) night’s meeting. Mayor Peter Christie says added security isn’t something they put in the budget.
“Nobody would’ve guessed that something so horrific would’ve happened and so the way the state law reads is before we go to bid you have to have the money in the budget, so tonight we are asking them to pull the 55 thousand dollars out of reserve and allocate it to the police department,” Christie said.
If amending the budget gets approved by the city council tonight, they hope to start building the fence in the next few months. City hall has also upgraded the security in its lobby, to add protection for the people working inside.