New Bethel Heights Police Chief: 'Let's Make It Better'

Published 03/26 2014 09:25PM

Updated 03/27 2014 02:59PM

BETHEL HEIGHTS -- It's been 7 months since one town's police chief was fired after accusations that he encouraged dirty tactics.

Now, a new permanent police chief is looking for a fresh start, both for his career and the town.

"It's almost like the first date," Rodney Reed, Bethel Heights police chief says.

"I mean you got to get to know each other."

Rodney Reed, meet Bethel Heights. The former Fort Smith police officer is now this town's new police chief.

"I started February 24," Reed says.

"This is a dream come true."

A dream job for Reed, despite coming in on the heels of what some would call a nightmare.

The city fired former police chief Don McKinnon back in August after one of his own officers released audio recordings -- believed to be McKinnon telling the officer to find a way to pull people over.

"My daughter who had worked at Lowell PD at one time, she had told me about it," Reed says.

"I can't do anything about the past...Respect is something that you earn, it's not a given you have to earn it and that's one thing that I want to do."

The chief position was filled on an interim basis after McKinnon's termination up until Reed's hire, according to the mayor.

Reed's background includes nearly 20 years at Fort Smith PD as patrolman, detective and bailiff.

But, his new position, in a new city brings nothing but opportunity.

"In this case, here I come in here as the top dog, and I've got a lot of responsibility on my shoulders," Reed says.

And, he's already making moves among his officer staff of four.

"..fixing to bring a fifth full-time on," Reed says.

"We're getting ready to change shifts, going from a 12-hour shift to a 10-hour shift."

Reed says he hopes to make sure officers can spend more time with their families.

"Let's make it better...you can't change the past, but you can change the future."

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