Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant told DeltaplexNews.com Wednesday that over 100 warnings have been issued for curfew violators, but no hard copy citations have been issued.
However, if a person is warned, then is found congregating at another location, they could now receive a hard copy citation.
“Individuals that are out after hours if they are congregating in parking lots or even perhaps in the neighborhoods, we would ask them to go back in or to leave that area, go home,” Sergeant said. “If they comply and we don’t have no other issues with them, we don’t issue a citation. Individuals that we give that advisement to that may just go to another location and do the same thing, that individual would get a hard copy because you’ve already had your warning.”
Sergeant said that they have not wanted to issue citations due to economic hardships on individuals who are off work.
“With society being the way it is right now, and the economic hardships on individuals not working and things of that nature, we are trying not to burden them with them a hard copy citation,” Sergeant said. “But if they are continuing to congregate and violate once you received your warning, then that is it.”
Sergeant said that his department is beginning to see the rise of domestic dispute cases within the city as the COVID-19 crises looms on.
“We are seeing it. People are starting to get cabin fever or get anxiety from being in the house,” Sergeant said. “We have seen a spike in the domestic issues where people are kind of realizing you have gone from having kids at school and parents at work, so you’re not at home with each other all day except for a few hours until supper and bedtime. Now you’re at home all day with each other and your patience begins running short with individuals, so we are getting those kinds of calls.”
Earlier this month Sergeant stated that his officers would issue citations and tow the vehicles of anyone caught drag racing or driving dangerously within the city limits. He stated that they have had to tow some vehicles due to this.
“We have had a couple, yes,” Sergeant said. “That right there is a strategy we have not fully implemented right now because we are more focusing on officer safety due to the COVID. You’re going to see as the summer starts coming in over the next couple of weeks we will have some additional strategies that we put into place in order to deal with these individuals that want to do these burnouts, speeding, and things of that nature.”
“As it is getting warmer individuals are beginning to hang out more, and we are beginning to see it,” Sergeant continued. “We have cited a few, but we are going to take it to another level. This will not be an issue. Once you are stopped, we are not giving warnings on that.”