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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Community declares war on crime-Mayor issues curfew order

  • Mayor James Valley Thursday issued an executive order declaring an emergency curfew in certain sections of Helena-West Helena effective immediately.

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  • Mayor James Valley Thursday issued an executive order declaring an emergency curfew in certain sections of Helena-West Helena effective immediately.
    In his order, Valley states the city has the duty to provide protection for its citizens and visitors and that certain areas of the city have been “under siege” with repeated gunfire, loitering, drug dealing and other general mayhem. The affected streets include all of Center Street, the 200 and 300 blocks of North Sebastian, North Second, Third and Fourth streets, the 100, 200- and 300 blocks of East Garland, East Baldwin and Anderson streets.
    “I have declared a curfew in the City of Helena-West Helena in a small area,” reported Valley. “We will continue to monitor the department’s progress and to assess the need for greater involvement and more stringent efforts.”
    Valley has met with law enforcement officials including Police Chief Col. Fred Fielder, Assistant Police Chief Ronald Scott and officers of the police department’s Criminal Investigation Division and developed a plan of action.
    “Without these drastic measures, the citizens in these affected areas will continue to live under siege,” commented the mayor.
    Section 7.12.01 of the city’s code of ordinances authorizes the mayor to impose a mandatory curfew. The curfew has been imposed for the next 48 hours and will be re-imposed after every expiration until the problem is resolved or the city council can meet and decide on an appropriate course of action.
    Valley has ordered H–WH officers to treat the “curfew zone” as a “zero tolerance zone,” which means that no loitering, “hanging out” will be permitted. All foot traffic, bicycle, horseback, moped, motorcycle, riding mower, golf cart or other mode of transportation will be subject to stop and investigation.
    The Street and Sanitation Department has been directed to clean all alleys in the area and remove all debris and low-lying shrubbery that impedes the view of police and the general public. The Mayor’s Office will order additional lighting for the telephone poles in dark places in the curfew area including alleys.
    The curfew area stretches from the easternmost corner of the intersection of Fourth Street (Highway 242) and Anderson Street traveling west to the westernmost corner of the intersection of Anderson and South Sebastian streets. From there, the area continues to the southern most corner of the intersection of Sebastian and Garland streets and east on Garland to the easternmost corner of the intersection of Garland and Fourth streets and back north to the beginning of the intersection of Fourth and Anderson streets.
    According to the executive order, the curfew is in effect 24 hours a day.
    Mayor Valley has directed the Code Enforcement Department to pursue Nuisance Abatement (evictions) for people living in homes in the curfew area where at least three criminal violations have occurred within the most recent time period allowed to be considered by law. He also has directed H– WHPD’s record department to gather all necessary information for code officers, city attorney and police officers to take “swift, direct and most impacting action against the wrongdoers and offenders.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “The police department will use both diplomacy with the ‘ring leaders’ and saturation of the affected area to bring resolve to this matter,” stated Valley in his executive order. “Diplomacy with the ‘ring leaders’ will entail the issuance of a cease and desist order. Saturation will include additional manpower, overtime, extra hours, long shifts and the issuance of tickets. Saturation also involves serving warrants and subpoenas.”
    The police department, added Valley, has been ordered to give no warning other than this executive order.
    A copy of this map is available for public viewing and inspection during regular business hours at the Mayor’s Office, City Clerk’s Office of Police Chief’s Office at 98 Plaza Street. The map is also attached to the mayor’s executive order available at Mayor Valley’s blog at  http://mayorjfvalley.googlepages.com/recentjournalentries.
     

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