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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Radio station owener, crime victim, requests more police presence in Helena-West Helena

  • Local radio station owner and crime victim Elijah Mondy presented a proposal to the Helena-West Helena City Council Tuesday evening that he said hopefully would increase saturation in police patrolling in such a way that 9-1-1 response time would be rapid.
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  • Local radio station owner and crime victim Elijah Mondy presented a proposal to the Helena-West Helena City Council Tuesday evening that he said hopefully would increase saturation in police patrolling in such a way that 9-1-1 response time would be rapid.
    “I presented the problem that without an increase in police patrolling resulting in faster response time, neighborhood watch programs are useless." Mondy continued, "The police chief told me while I was recovering from my gunshot wounds that he needed more boots in the field and my goal was to play whatever part I could play to help the police chief and the police department to have this tool to help Helena-West Helena citizens and visitors to feel a level of safety and security regarding crime."
    Mondy gave a graphic account of the night he was gunned down in downtown Helena.
    "That night a year ago I came into contact with those young men in a scheme to bring harm to a Good Samaritan. It could have been any citizen that could have been shot and killed, but it is not just about me. As a result of that incident some other citizen could have been stuffed in a coffin at Brown's Funeral Home and now six feet under.... it could have happened to any citizen. Before I came onto the scene, Mrs. Crockett, your son passed by that scene that night and saw the perpetrators... he was the reason they were quickly apprehended the next day and it could have been him. They could have killed him that night and you would not have a son. Just like my kids would not have had a father that night. And I feel that 9-1-1 could have prevented it. We called 9-1-1 that night and we waited. We drove around the block and I wanted to get out of the car and the guy was pleading for his life 'don't let me die!' and all of a sudden when I opened the car, my wife was suspicious, POW! The bullet went inside me and I could feel my blood – I was drowning. My wife took off and the other guys came out. It was a horrible moment. And I was burning all over and my wife called 9-1-1 again and said 'My husband has just been shot!' and she was rushing me to the hospital. Do you know what it is like to drown in your own blood? That could have been anybody- any citizen of Helena-West Helena. I forgive them but they still have to pay their debt to society. And as a citizen of Helena-West Helena, I ask you what is the status of my proposal that you agreed and voted on?"
    Councilman Christopher Franklin responded, "We are trying! We do not know our financial status. It ain't easy. We are doing the best we can with what we have." Franklin continued, "I understand that crime happens to everybody in the room. You can start at Wal-Mart at $8 an hour or better. Do I go to Wal-Mart to work or the Helena Police Department to get a job?" He noted that "If you came to the Civil Service meeting the other day you would have seen that we really are trying."
    Page 2 of 2 - Following over an hour of yelling and impromptu theological discussions over who knew Jesus and the biblical scriptures better, councilman Don Etherly remarked, "The city council has no say in the police department's day-to-day operations. We can do things like approve money but in terms of what happens on the street, we do not have any control over that." Etherly continued, "I agree that we need to try to get more [police] on the street, and that is a money issue. I practice law for a living and you need to understand the entire system to know how it works."
    Etherly gave Mondy a "crash course" on how the legal system works. "People get arrested. Right now we do not have jail space to put them in. The jail does not belong to the city. It belongs to the county. Now we can't afford to take them [prisoners] anywhere, so people get let out a lot easier. They commit crimes and they go right back out on the street. Then they get into the system and they go to Mr. Mitchell or Mr. Murray and they have to prosecute and the police department has limited control over what happens. They put people in jail and they go out and start driving again. Those guys get frustrated because the next day they see the same person they arrested the night before walking out on the street. It is so convoluted that you have to understand how it works in order to bring about a change."
     Etherly concluded that "I do not want people to think that it is the city council's fault that someone's house got broken into. That is just foolish."

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