In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 8, 2020 Pope County Sheriff Deputies responded to the 1300 block of St. Joe Road on a rough terrain, fatality accident. Once on scene Pope County Coroner Danny White determined that the victim, 54 year old Tony Price, was deceased. Sheriff Jones would like to thank Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Game and Fish, Pope County EMS and EMS Rescue, as well as Pea Ridge Fire Department for their assistance on scene.
On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at approximately 9:14 AM, Pope County 911 received a report of an individual walking down State Highway 105, near Avenue 3 Southeast in Atkins, armed with a handgun, exhibiting aggressive behavior, pointing the weapon at passing motorists.
An officer with the Atkins Police Department responded and made contact with the individual who immediately began firing at the officer. After the initial gunfire, the suspect fled on foot into a wooded area east of State Highway 105, where additional responding officers immediately set up a perimeter and began a manhunt for the suspect.
As officers encountered the suspect again, the suspect again fired at officers who returned fire, fatally wounding the suspect. No responding officers were injured during the incident.
The investigation into the incident has been turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police, who will present their findings to the Prosecuting Attorney of the 5th Judicial District. No other information will be released at this time.
On 1/14/2020 Pope County Sheriff's Deputies responded to Center Valley Grocery on a report of a possible disturbance. During the initial investigation once deputies arrived on scene, an adult female fled the scene. Deputies pursued the suspect and with the assistance of other local law enforcement, she was apprehended at approximately the 79 mile marker of I-40 and was subsequently transported to St. Mary's Emergency Department for injuries sustained in the pursuit. The suspect's name is being withheld pending the filing of formal charges. Sheriff Jones would like to thank the Arkansas State Police, Russellville Police Department, and Dover Marshall's Office for assisting in apprehending the suspect.
An Open Letter to the Citizens/ Taxpayers/ Voters of Pope County Regarding a New Pope County Justice Complex:
If you follow the happenings at the Pope County Sheriff's Office, then you know I have always tried to keep you informed about any issues or pertinent information involving the Sheriff's Office, and in keeping with that, I want to share information with you about a proposed new justice complex for Pope County.
Since around 2016 I have been telling our citizens and the members of Quorum Court that the Pope County Detention Center has been consistently at capacity or over capacity, and eventually we are going to have a crisis because of overcrowding. I have cautioned that we would have to consider building a new jail sometime in the near future. Well, that time has arrived. I believe it's important to share this information with you, the citizens of Pope County, who would be paying for a new justice complex through either a tax increase or the proposed bond initiative that the Quorum Court has decided to put before you the voters on the upcoming March 3rd primary election. Please know, I also live and pay taxes in our county, and I don't like the idea of having to pay more taxes to build a new detention center any more than you do, but I am telling you it is now imperative, with the growth of our area, that we increase our jail capacity sooner rather than later and because it's a major public safety concern. The Pope County Detention Center is used by every police department and court in the county to house detainees, both pre-trial and convicted.
The Pope County Detention Center was originally built in 1981 and an addition was constructed in 2000. The detention center currently is currently licensed for 172 detainees. During our last inspection, which is conducted yearly by The State of Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Criminal Detention Facilities Review Committee, it showed that our daily average population was 200 detainees. Our detainee population has been at or over capacity since 2009.
Laws Regarding Jail Overcrowding by Mike Rainwater, Litigation Counsel for the Arkansas Association of Counties Risk Management Fund wrote: "Every jail has a constitutional max population." A case out of Sebastian County, Arkansas, set the national standard for maximum jail population. It is 43.3 square feet per detainee. This is the constitutional standard. Violating the constitutional standard is an actionable wrong, which means that a jail detainee who sues for violation of the 43.3 square feet rule will win a verdict against the jail." (Jail = County = Taxpayer)
Extended Overcrowding: Overcrowding or other jail conditions which subject detainees to genuine privation and hardship over an extended period that is not reasonably related to legitimate governmental jail objectives of maintaining order and ensuring security is unconstitutional "punishment."
It is important to realize that the constitutional limit (of 43.3 square feet per detainee) is a real limit for the total jail population.
Arkansas Jail Standards provide that all detainees have a right to humane treatment which provides for ... clean living quarters and a healthy, safe, and secure environment.
When the maximum limit is reached, it is time to seek overcrowding relief.
Since our last inspection conducted by the State of Arkansas Criminal Detention Review Committee, the committee requested that the Pope County Sheriff's Department organize and craft an Improvement Plan with respect to jail operations. The plan is due by December of 2020. The plan is to include a prompt action start date, as well as, a budget funding framework. In doing so, Pope County Judge Ben Cross and the Pope County Quorum Court have been diligent to the state's request. They established a jail committee, and have been working on ways to obtain this objective requested by the state. One of the objectives discussed by the quorum court was pertaining to Amendment 100, which the state passed to allow casino expansion in 4 counties in Arkansas; Pope County being one of them. Now I personally did not vote for Amendment 100, not because I was against casinos, but because I personally had issues with some technical flaws within the amendment; but the state voted, and it passed. After Amendment 100 passed, our state legislators passed Arkansas State Law ACT 703 for the explicit benefit of those 4 counties to issue bonds for infrastructure improvements at NO cost to the local tax payers. The Pope County Quorum Court agreed that we have a potential crisis with the detention center, and a major public safety concern, and needed to put a plan together. So on March 3rd , we the voters of Pope County, will have the opportunity to vote on this Justice Complex Bond Initiative. The complex will include a new sheriff's department and detention center doubling our current capacity. The facility will also include a 911 Center, Emergency Operations Center and 2 new Circuit Courts along with a Coroner Facility that Pope County does not currently have.
So, I know I have provided you with a lot of information, and I'm sure there will continue to be discussion's back and forth from those who are for and against the issue, but it is my hope that you understand that we have a potential crisis with our detention center and a major public safety concern. My opinion is if you were for or against the casino, I would rather have the casino pay for a new Pope County Justice Complex, then having to raise our tax dollars to pay for it.
I have included with this letter our latest inspection from Arkansas Criminal Jail Standards. Please feel free to review the document.
It is always an honor and a privilege to serve as your sheriff and I don't take that responsibility lightly. I pray that we can come together as a county and do what's right for the future.
Sheriff Shane Jones
On October 23, 2019 at approximately 10:00 AM, deputies and investigators with the Pope County Sheriff's Office responded to a possible death in the Pottsville area of Pope County. On deputies' arrival they located an adult male who appeared to be a victim of a farming related accident. Sheriff Shane Jones states that the name of the victim is not being released at this time, pending notification of family members. The victim was transported by Pope County Coroner Danny White, and will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab positive identification.
On 05/19/2019 a ten year old child was the victim of a drowning incident on the Illinois Bayou near Scottsville. The Pope County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance from the public. If anyone has any information, whether it be photos, videos or personal observations on or around the time the drowning occurred, please contact the Pope County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at 479-968-2558.
BOTH SUSPECTS HAVE NOW BEEN IDENTIFIED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIPS AND INFORMATION!
The Pope County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the help of the public in identifying two individuals wanted in an early morning shooting in the Atkins, Arkansas area. The suspects may not be from the Pope County area. If you have any information regarding these subjects, you are urged to phone the Pope County Sheriff’s at 479-968-2558.
July 18, 2019
On Thursday, 7/18/19 at approximately 3:43 a.m., Pope County 911 Dispatch received at a call regarding a shooting. Pope County Deputies responded to the 8000 block of U.S. Highway 64 East in Atkins. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a deceased male inside the residence. One person has been taken into custody. The investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time.
June 5, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sheriff Shane Jones has released the name of the victim in the homicide, which took place Monday, June 3rd. Jeremy Wayne Davis, age 41, was found deceased by Pope County Deputies at a residence in Hector. Jason Royalty was taken into custody at the scene and appeared before Judge Don Bourne on Wednesday, June 5th. His bond was set at $150,000 and he is scheduled to appear in Pope County Circuit Court on July 1st.
June 4, 2019
The Pope County Sheriff’s Office received a call on Monday, June 3rd at approximately 10:15 p.m. of a shooting at a residence in Hector. Upon arrival, deputies located the body of a deceased male. Jason Royalty was taken into custody at the scene and transported to the Pope County Detention Center where he is being detained on a charge of 1st Degree Murder. Royalty will go before Judge Don Bourne for a bond hearing Wednesday morning, pending formal charges.
This is an ongoing investigation and no other details will be released at this time. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Sheriff Shane Jones wishes to thank officers and investigators with the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, Russellville Police Department, Arkansas State Police and the 5th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, who are working together on this case. More details will be released when available.
Pope County is under immediate threat of historic river flooding along the Arkansas River. In a proactive move to mitigate risk to human life, Pope County Judge Ben Cross convened a meeting of emergency responders this morning at the Pope County Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.) consisting of:
Pope County Judge
Pope County Sheriff
Pope County E.M.S....
Pope County O.E.M.
Pope County 911
Pope County Road Department
Arkansas State Police
Arkansas National Guard
Arkansas Department of Health
Russellville Police Department
Pope County Conservation District Flood Plain Management
Pope County’s section of the Arkansas River is projected to rapidly rise on Sunday, and eventually crest out at a projected 41.0 feet, (9’ feet above flood stage), sometime on Monday. This crest will maintain flood conditions for a projected three day period. Any additional local rainfall during that timeframe could result in potentially substantial flooding in a number of locations, due to the inability for local creeks and streams to disperse the runoff. Pope County Judge Ben Cross and the members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) recommend those individuals with property, equipment, and livestock in the affected areas begin the immediate removal of those items to safeguard against loss. All areas downstream of the Dardanelle Lock and Dam in elevations that lie below the 41’ foot pool level will receive flooding. The primary areas affected will be along State Highway 105 South and the Atkins bottoms, as well as areas to south and west of Pottsville which lie adjacent to the river. The projected inundation of lands will commence when the river level exceeds 32’ feet, and it is recommended citizens maintain an active awareness of these levels throughout this event by accessing local media and the websites of the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.