DIAMOND CITY, Ark. — Keeping the streets of Diamond City quiet may now rest with the people who live there instead of police.
“It’s very disturbing because if there’s an emergency, if someone were to come to our door, come in with a gun, and we’re dialing 911, we’ve got a 30-minute wait probably for someone to get here,” said Merrie Jackson, who lives in Diamond City.
Diamond City lost its only two police officers suddenly to resignations. For people who live in the city, that means the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, based 24 miles away in Harrison, will have to respond.
“If they’re trying to harm us, it’s going to be too late,” Jackson said.
Mayor Linda Miracle announced at the city council meeting Tuesday that both the city’s police chief and part-time officer resigned. Officer Mark Rice’s last day was Wednesday, and Chief Chris Patrick’s was Thursday.
And they’re just the latest city employees to quit in the past year.
“We’ve had two public works directors resign, we had our treasurer resign at the beginning of the year. It’s a blow to DC for both of our police officers to resign,” said Diamond City council member Cristy Olcott.
The city also had two council members resign last year.
Mayor Miracle did not return our request for comment. Officer Rice declined to comment, and when we called Chief Patrick multiple times, the phone went straight to voicemail, and his mailbox was full.
Rice’s resignation letter did not give a reason for leaving, and the mayor said Patrick didn’t even write one.
But Olcott said the mayor did offer an explanation.
“She did say that with all the political problems that we are facing with Diamond City, that they’ve had all that they can stand,” Olcott said.
A few months ago the mayor sued some council members and a few other people for holding a meeting without her, after she failed to show up to multiple meetings in a row. See that story here: https://www.ky3.com/content/news/Diamond-City-mayor-files-lawsuit-against-some-council-members-residents-513172411.html
One of the defendants later countersued. The motion hearing is scheduled for February 20 at the Boone County Courthouse.
“Everybody in Diamond City needs to remember we’re trying to do what’s best for the city and not have personal agendas going forth through this new year,” Olcott said.
Some people who live in the area are so concerned they took to Facebook to try to organize a neighborhood watch group.
“It’s a nice little town,” Jackson said. “For the most part we don’t have a lot of problems. But we need a police force. And we need a community who works together and not fights.”
Both officers are going to work at Lead Hill, about five minutes away from Diamond City. They start work on Monday.
No news yet on who will replace them or when they will be replaced.