October 26, 2021

Setting the record straight with court records

This statement is in response to the comments made by Baxter Mayor Steve Smith, in the Jasper County Tribune Oct. 26. Mr. Smith was quoted, “I can tell you exactly how many violations we’ve had turned in here in the last 6 years from our police department — zero ... When I talked to the clerk of court she said nothing has ever been filed through the clerk of court.”

It is disappointing that the mayor feels he can make slanderous comments about my department, me personally and the previous police chief. We are both here to serve the citizens of Baxter and he should be working with the department instead of publicly attacking it.

I personally followed up with the clerk of court and requested the number of items filed from the Baxter Police Department. From Aug. 1, 2014 to Oct. 17, 2017, there were 267 items filed with the clerk of court. From Jan. 11, 2011 to Oct. 17, 2017, there were 530 items filed. This is a testament to the serve the police department provides the community.

In fact, Mr. Smith did not even contact the clerk of court. It is unfortunate that as a politician Mr. Smith is not held to the same standards as law enforcement where an oath is taken to tell the truth as well as protect the community. If law enforcement fails to keep these standards, employment would be jeopardized, which is not the case with this elected official.

I felt I needed to publicly dispute the comments made by Mr. Smith and defend my department’s integrity. I am very proud of the work my department has accomplished. My main priorities are to keep the citizens of Baxter safe and build relationships with the community.