A number of Pine Bluff police officers were recognized for their performance on duty during the recent Coffee with the Chiefs, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration and held at the Pine Bluff Country Club.
Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant presented certificates of appreciation to the officers, who had been recommended by their supervisors.
Sgt. Travis Goforth was recognized for his actions on July 15 at 3:40 a.m. While on patrol in the area of Sixth Avenue and Georgia Street, Goforth saw what at first appeared to be fog, then smelled smoke. He began searching for the source of the smoke and found that the house at 629 S. Georgia St. was on fire.
He went to the porch and pulled on the wooden frame screen door, which was locked from the inside. Believing that someone was inside, he pushed in the screen, unlocked the screen door and began beating on the front door. A lady came to the door, and Goforth told her the house was on fire, then accompanied her inside where he picked up a small child and got them out of the house.
Sgts. Lynn Wright and Cassandra Briggs-McAfee and officers Lakendra Williams, Rob Gober and Martino Green were recognized for their actions in locating a suspect wanted for rape and residential burglary on July 6 at an apartment at 2601 Laurel St.
Wright responded to the apartments and the suspect was not in sight, but after other officers arrived, Wright received information that the suspect was hiding in an abandoned apartment that was locked. The officers were able to locate the manager of the apartments and got a key, then went in and arrested the suspect.
Officers Phillip Meacham and Marquis Creggett were commended for their actions on July 7 while patrolling the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express at 3620 S. Camden Road at 2:30 a.m. After seeing the front passenger side window of a vehicle broken, they investigated and found a male in the back seat. A female was found sitting in a vehicle that was parked next to the vehicle with the broken window and was identified as the girlfriend of the male.
The desk clerk contacted the owner of the vehicle and told Meacham and Creggett he did not know the man. Both the male and female were arrested for breaking or entering and theft of property, and the male also had an absconder warrant.
Sgts. Shawn Davis and Goforth and officers Abdias Valdez, Rick Bunting, Nathan Smith, Kristen Pennington, Kelsey Collins, Marquis Creggett, Lakeisha Jones and Enrique Soto were recognized for their actions after responding to a report of someone shooting at the West End Pool Hall in the 3300 block of West Second Avenue on July 30.
When the officers arrived, they were told that the suspect was still inside the building; when they attempted to go inside, someone locked the door. After learning that there were five to 10 people inside, they surrounded the building, and Goforth used the public address system on his car to try and get the people to come out.
Bunting made contact with a woman who was inside and was told that the suspect had already left. Goforth was able to persuade the people inside to open the door and come out. An initial search was unsuccessful, but Creggett stood on a five gallon bucket on top of a bar stool in order to see into the attic where the suspect was hiding. Goforth found the weapon that had been used in the attic.
On July 30, officers, including Lt. Edna Butler, Sgt. James Woodfield and Patrol Officers Whitley Bradley, Abdias Valdez, Markeith Neal, Shamario Johnson, Porsha Williams and Kristen Pennington, began responding to a series of armed robberies at motels on Market Street and the Pines Mall area.
The suspect was armed with a rifle and demanded money from the clerks; as the officers began to collect and compare the robberies, they determined that the same suspects were responsible for them. After developing a vehicle description, they began searching and located the vehicle that was occupied by two suspects. They also located a rifle in the vehicle.