By Ray King

The grand opening of the Saracen Casino is scheduled for next Tuesday and is expected to draw large crowds from throughout not only Southeast Arkansas but from across the state and nation.

Appearing on the Oldies 101.3 morning show Thursday, Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant said there will be a police presence at the casino, primarily to assist casino security.

In addition to the grand opening of the casino Tuesday, the Police Department will also conduct their annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk, which will begin at noon at the Pine Bluff Civic Center.

Sergeant talked about the event, and what the department hopes to accomplish.

He said police are seeing what he described as a “small spike” in domestic violence incidents which he attributed in part to the pandemic, and a lot of people who are unemployed, and who, because of the pandemic, are limited in where they can go and what they can do.

“And then they don’t have a job, they have less income, bills still coming in, the potential for eviction, all that stress within the family unit can add to the domestic violence in the community,” he said.