Frequently Asked Questions
Baxter County's Animal Control Regulations and Procedures are outlined by County Ordinance No. 2003-2 (Stray Animals and Vaccination Requirements) and County Ordinance No. 2014-29(Vicious Dogs).
Ordinance No. 2003-2 covers both dogs and cats. A stray animal is one considered to be running at large without at least one (1) form of identification, such as a collar tag. All dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated against rabies at least one (1) time per year. Dog and cat owners must have proof of vaccination of their pets.
Stray dogs and cats without proper identification may be seized and impounded by the Animal Control Warden if they venture onto the property of another person and that person has corralled or contained the animal for pick up. The Animal Control Warden is not responsible for trying to track or catch stray animals running at large. Impounded dogs or cats will be taken to the Baxter County Animal Shelter and will be held for five (5) working days, after which the may be subject to euthaniasia. If the animal is claimed by the owner, then the owner will be responsible for paying the costs of impoundment.
Under the vicious dog regulations, Ordinance No. 2014-29, it is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to keep within Baxter County any vicious dog unless the said dog is muzzled or confined in a pen or tied in such a manner that it cannot run at large and thereby constitute a danger to other persons or animals. All dog bites must be reported and the health department must be notified. This ordinance also allows for the seizure of vicious dogs under certain circumstances.
Both ordinances contain fines and penalties that can be imposed in District Court upon the issuance of a citation to appear by the Animal Control Warden or a Sheriff's Deputy.
The Baxter County Judge's Office has authority and control over the Animal Control Warden to enforce the provisions of Ordinance 2003-2, while the Sheriff's Office enforces the vicious dog regulations of Ordinance 2014-29. The Sheriff's Office serves as the answering service for the Animal Control Warden, although he works under the general supervision of the County Judge's Office and not the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office will accept phone calls for the Animal Control Warden and will relay information concerning those calls to him. The Animal Control Warden will respond to routine complaint calls during normal business hours Monday through Friday. Only calls of an emergency or urgent nature will be answered by the Animal Control Warden after business hours or on weekends or holidays. There are also limits on the number of impounded animals that can be kept and housed at any given time at the animal shelter.
The Sheriff's Office will respond to vicious dog complaints at any time.
An All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or a side by side (UTV) is generally not permitted to be operated on public roadways, however there has always been a number of exceptions in the law. There is now a series of new "defenses to prosecution" that have very recently been made a part of the Arkansas Law.
Act 272 of 2017 (effective date 08/01/2017), which amends Arkansas Code 27-21-101, et seq. Act 272 does the following:
- It alters the definition of “recreational off-highway vehicle” to now include not only ATVs, but now also multipurpose off-highway utility vehicles and utility task vehicles (UTVS, or side-by-sides). Not included in this are golf carts, riding lawnmowers, or lawn or garden tractors.
- New “DEFENSES TO PROSECUTION” to a citation or charge of "Operating an ATV on a Public Roadway" added to the law by Act 272 include:
- Traveling on a public roadway if it is the most reasonable route of access available from:
- The off-road trail where the person parked the motor vehicle used to transport the ATV/UTV to another off-road trail; or
- The person’s private property to an off-road trail or to a tract of land that is private property; and
- The off road trail where the person parked the motor vehicle used to transport the ATV/UTV to another off-road trail; or
- The person’s private property to an off-road trail or to a tract of land that is private property.
- HOWEVER, an ATV/UTV shall not travel more than three (3) miles on a public roadway to get to one of the destinations specified above.
- “PRIVATE PROPERTY” under Act 272 is defined as real property that an operator of an ATV/UTV owns, leases, resides at with the owner or lease of the real property, or is staying at for a specific period of time as an invitee, including vacation resorts, rental cabins, deeded timeshares and right-to-use timeshares.
- When operating an ATV/UTV on a public roadway for the allowed purposes, the operator shall carry proof of his or her property interest in the private property , the location of the private property, and display upon demand of an officer the proof required herein. This also applies so long as the property owner is accompanying the operator of the ATV/UTV. The operator does not have to be the property owner.
It should be noted that a "DEFENSE TO PROSECUTION" is a defense or objection to a citation or charge that a defendant can assert IN COURT. It is not technically an objection that can be asserted or raised with a law enforcement officer to thwart the issuance of a traffic citation. Act 272 specifically states these exceptions are "Defenses to Prosecution" in Court. They are not, technically speaking, exemptions in the law that officers must consider when deciding whether or not to issue a citation for Operating ATV on Public Roadway. While deputies will certainly take all facts and circumstances into account before deciding whether or not to issue a citation, It is up to a defendant who receives a citation, if one is issued, to assert the "Defense To Prosecution" claim in court. The defendant has the burden in court of proving to the satisfaction of the Judge that the "defense" offered and available by the statute is applicable to the case at bar. That's how Act 272 is written.
PRIOR EXISTING ARKANSAS LAWS (existing prior to Act 272) are still in effect to the extent that they do not conflict with the new provisions in Act 272.
Specifically, you should read and become familiar with the requirements of Arkansas Codes 27-21-102, 27-21-106, 27-21-107 and 27-21-108 before operating an ATV/UTV on any public roadway. These statutes cover equipment requirements, rules of the roadway, operator age requirements and etc. The texts of these statutes are available online.
Also, all ATV/UTVS must be assessed at the County Tax Assessor's Office and a registration sticker must then be obtained from the Arkansas State Revenue Office and displayed on the vehicle. Failure to obtain a registration sticker or properly display it on the vehicle is a misdemeanor offense and can result in the operator receiving a court citation and fine.
The Baxter County Sheriff's Office takes animal cruelty very seriously. Many times there is a direct correlation between those who abuse animals and those who abuse children. We investigate every complaint thoroughly and many times involve our local Humane Society and local veterinarians to assist with some of the cases.
The most notable case of animal cruelty was the Tammy and William Hanson Case, which involved over 500 dogs in some of the most deplorable conditions. Over 100 of them had been ‘rescued' from Hurricane Katrina by Ms. Hanson. It was considered the largest animal cruelty case in the nation. At the time, Arkansas did not have a Felony Animal Cruelty Law, so they were charged and convicted of misdemeanors.
After witnessing this horrible case, we worked with the Humane Society of the United States, along with local and State Agencies, and with Arkansas Legislators to bring this case to light. In 2009, Arkansas passed an ‘Animal Cruelty Law' which has provisions which can result in Felony Charges being filed in some cases. There is a misconception that every animal cruelty case is now a felony. The facts and evidence of each case will be presented to the Prosecuting Attorney to determine the appropriate charges. The following is a brief summary of the new law.
This section contains the Arkansas anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions. A person commits a misdemeanor if he or she knowingly abandons any animal (defined as any living vertebrate creature, except human beings and fish) subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment, fails to supply an animal in his or her custody with a sufficient quantity of wholesome food and water, fails to provide an animal in his or her custody with adequate shelter, kills or injures any animal belonging to another without legal privilege or consent of the owner, or carries an animal in or upon any motorized vehicle or boat in a cruel or inhumane manner. In 2009, the state legislature created the offense of aggravated cruelty to a cat, dog, or horse. This Class D felony involves the torturing of those listed species. The court may order any person found guilty to receive a psychiatric or psychological evaluation and counseling or treatment. The legislature also passed a law providing immunity to any person who in good faith reports an incident of cruelty to animals to local law enforcement. Additionally, veterinarians are immune from both civil and criminal liability for any part in a cruelty investigation provided he or she is not acting with bad faith or malice. Arkansas law also prohibits animal fighting, the dying of baby chicks, and unlawful bear exploitation.
There can be a difference of opinion as to what is, neglect or cruelty. We apply the law when dealing with these complaints, not personal feelings or opinion.
Body Attachments are court orders usually issued in child support enforcement actions. They are very similiar to warrants of arrest that are issued in criminal cases.
A Body Attachment orders and directs law enforcement officers to seize the body of the person named in the order and hold that person in custody pending further orders of the court.
Most Body Attachments (but not all) will have language indicating that the person can be released from custody if a prescribed cash amount is paid to secure his release. This amount may or may not equal the total of delinquent child support payments. Other Body Attachments will require the person to remain in custody until brought before the Judge who issued the order. Body Attachments can be served in any part of the State, just as arrest warrants can.
Any monies that the Sheriff's Office collects from Body Attachment actions will be held and distributed as later directed by the court or as prescribed under the law.
The terms “Bond” and “Bail” are often used interchangeably, although there are technical differences.
The purpose of requiring the posting of a bond is to ensure that an arrested person will appear in court to answer his or her charges after release from custody.
Generally speaking, judges determine the amount of bond, while the sheriff determines the sufficiency of the bond, Arkansas Code 16-84-105 and 16-84-110.
Arkansas Code 16-81-109. Bail: “When any sheriff or other law enforcement officer makes an arrest, he or she is authorized to take and to approve bail in the manner provided by law wherever he or she makes the arrest.”
Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 8 and Rule 9: These rules govern first appearances in court and the setting of bond/bail if the arrested person is still in custody.
Type of Arrest: If a person is arrested with a warrant, the warrant will generally have the bond amount listed. If a person is arrested without a warrant, bond may be set in the manner prescribed above.
Type of Bond: There are several forms of bond that are authorized by law.
- CASH: An arrested person, or someone acting on his behalf, may post the entire bond amount in cash, which will be held by the sheriff or the court pending disposition of the criminal case.
- SURETY: An arrested person may secure his release through the utilization of a professional licensed bail bonding company. This is known as a “surety bond”. The bonding company will charge the arrested person certain “fees” for the service of posting a surety bond to secure the release from custody. Those fees are non-refundable and are not applied to any fines, costs, or restitution that may later be ordered by the court. Note: A law enforcement officer is prohibited from recommending the services or any particular bonding company or bondsman.
- SHERIFF’s BOND: The sheriff is authorized to accept collateral as bond to secure the release of the arrested person from custody. Note: The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office does NOT authorize or accept so-called “Sheriff’s Bonds”.
- OWN RECOGNIZANCE: A court will sometimes authorize a person in custody to be released on his “own recognizance”, which is nothing more than a promise to re-appear at a later date for further judicial proceedings. These are rarely authorized for other than very minor offenses.
- RULE 5.2 PRE-TRIAL RELEASE: The ranking person on duty at the jail or detention center may authorize the release of a person from custody by utilizing a citation to appear as authorized by Rule 5.2 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. With respect to misdemeanor offenses, this authorization falls exclusively within the discretion of the Office of Sheriff. With respect to felony offenses, a recommendation from the Prosecuting Attorney is needed in order for a Rule 5.2 release to occur. Note: Rule 5.2 releases are rarely authorized by the Sheriff’s Office, generally only in cases of severe overcrowding or emergency situations. This release option is available only prior to an appearance before a judge, after which the sheriff’s office must follow the orders of the court.
Standard conditions of pre-trial release or “conditions of bond” may apply in all instances, and failure to abide by those terms and conditions may result in the bond being revoked and the person being returned to custody.
Arkansas Law requires that a child under six (6) years of age or sixty (60) pounds, be restrained in a child passenger seat properly secured to the vehicle. Any child over six (6) and under fifteen (15) years of age must be secured in a seatbelt.
Generally speaking, the Sheriff's Office lacks authority under Arkansas law to enforce ordinances enacted by local municipalities because Sheriff's Deputies are not employees, agents, officials, or representatives of the municipality. Municipal Ordinance violations may only be enforced by the City Police Department, City Marshal's Office, or the Office of the Mayor.
The only exception would involve municipalities that have contracted with the Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement services. Baxter County currently has no such contracts or agreements with any municipality.
Members of the public residing inside the city limits of any municipality should contact their City Police Department or City Hall to report municipal ordinance or municipal code violations.
Family, friends, or any person may add funds to a jail inmate’s commissary account in two different ways.
- You may come to the Detention Center and enter into the main lobby. There is a commissary Kiosk machine in the lobby that is accessible at all times, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Just follow the touch screen prompts on the Kiosk to add funds to a particular inmate’s commissary account.
- You may go online to www.tigercommissary.com and select “order commissary or send money online”. Follow the prompts by selecting the appropriate state, county, and jail facility. Then select “Web Deposit”, enter the inmate’s name, and follow the prompts to add money to that inmate’s commissary account.
Using either of these methods will allow you to add funds to an inmate’s commissary account that the inmate can then use to make purchases of approved items.
All testing and processing for the Concealed Carry Handgun Licenses is done by the Arkansas State Police. The Sheriff's Office has no role in that process. Specific information on the process, as well as the names and phone numbers of instructors in Baxter County, can be found at the Arkansas State Police website www.asp.state.ar.us .
Fingerprints are required for a concealed carry license. Fingerprints can be taken at the Sheriff's Office or at any law enforcement agency for submission to the state.
Criminal Background Checks - General: The Sheriff's Office may provide certain information to the public that is available for public disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. This would include information from the Sheriff's Office Records Management System on Incident/Offense Reports, Accident Reports, Jail Booking Records, Warrant Records, Civil Process Records, Citations, and Dispatch Logs/Complaint Cards. Exceptions would be for records relating to active/ongoing investigations, certain personnel records, records that have been sealed/expunged by court order, and records involving juvenile offenders or juvenile suspects. There are nominal fees associated with processing these requests. The Sheriff's Office is prohibited by law from providing criminal history or background information of any kind from the Arkansas Crime Information Center database or the National Crime Information Center database. In addition, we cannot provide information relating to records maintained by any other law enforcement agency. You would need to contact those agencies directly for information from their records.
The Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau in Little Rock can provide a more thorough criminal history check that encompasses all jurisdictions in Arkansas. Information on their procedures can be found on the Arkansas State Police web site at www.asp.state.ar.us
Background Checks for HUD Housing Applicants: If someone needs a background check conducted for HUD Housing, the paperwork should be taken to the Sheriff's Administration Offices during normal business hours and dropped off. The completed forms can usually be picked up after 10:00 AM on the next business day.
Only in truly URGENT OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES will a deputy be permitted to hand deliver a personal message from one party to another. This determination will be made by the on duty patrol division supervisor.
We cannot deliver routine, non-emergency messages due to phone service being out or other similiar circumstances.
There are many slang terms used by kids and adults alike to describe different types of drugs or behavior associated with drugs. The PDF file below lists the most common terms.
Drug Slang Definitions (Click to download PDF)
Fingerprints: The Sheriff's Office can take fingerprints for background purposes. These are normally done as part of an employment or pre-employment process for a government office or agency, such as a school, or for employers such as nursing homes. A nominal fee of $5.00 will generally apply.
Fingerprints can also be taken as part of the process of obtaining a concealed carry license, a nominal fee for which will be required.
We welcome donations. You can make a general donation and leave it up to the Sheriff where to use the money, or you can specify how you would like the money is to be used. One example is we receive donations on a regular basis for the sex offender mailings. This program is funded only by donations from the public. We have many areas that people have helped us with financially. Just this year we have received funds for: We are very grateful for the support from this community. Money and budgets are usually tight. It is just another way to show how great our community is.
We welcome donations. You can make a general donation and leave it up to the Sheriff where to use the money, or you can specify how you would like the money is to be used. One example is we receive donations on a regular basis for the sex offender mailings. This program is funded only by donations from the public.
We have many areas that people have helped us with financially. Just this year we have received funds for:
We are very grateful for the support from this community. Money and budgets are usually tight. It is just another way to show how great our community is.
The Sheriff's Office accepts applications for employment throughout the year. Applications will normally remain on file and active for six (6) months from the date they were submitted.
All employment opportunities are posted on this web site. They are also posted on bulletin boards in the Court House, Juvenile Services Building, and at the Road and Bridge Department as required by county policy.
Applications will only be examined or reviewed whenever there is a position open and vacant that must be filled. A cut-off date for accepting applications for that particular position will be listed. Applicants meeting basic requirements for the position will be granted a preliminary interview before a board of supervisors. Two (2) finalists for each vacancy will be submitted to the Sheriff for his review. The Sheriff makes the final determination on all new hires.
Employment Applications are available online whenever a job opening is posted. However, submission of those applications to the business office is not currently available online by electronic means. They must be delivered to the administration offices or mailed.
NOTICE REGARDING EVICTION PROCEEDINGS
September 2, 2016
Today, we have been informed by the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Fourteenth Judicial District, that the Sheriff’s Office is not to issue citations or make arrests from this point forward for the criminal misdemeanor offense of Failure to Vacate/Failure to Pay Rent. That statute has been held to be unconstitutional and thereby rendered to be voided. This effectively abolishes the “criminal” method by which a landlord can evict a tenant for failing to pay rent by initiating a process through the Sheriff’s Office.
The only eviction method that now remains available in the Fourteenth Judicial District is the “civil” method, or an UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACTION, which is explained below:
Unlawful detainer actions require a landlord to provide a tenant with a three days’ written notice to vacate. If the tenant does not leave, the landlord can sue by filing a complaint against the tenant in court. After the tenant receive a summons to appear in court, the tenant have five days to object in writing to the eviction. Any objection must be filed with the clerk of the court in which the eviction action was filed, and the tenant should send a copy of his objection to the landlord’s lawyer. If the tenant does not file an objection, the tenant can be removed from the dwelling by the county sheriff if the court issues written orders directing the Sheriff to do so. If the tenant does object, a hearing will be scheduled to determine the outcome of the case.
The landlord would likely need to obtain the services of an attorney to proceed in the proper and legal manner with an UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACTION.
It will no longer be possible for the Office of Sheriff to become involved in eviction proceedings other than to serve summonses, orders, or writs as issued and directed by a court.
Baxter County Sheriff’s Office
The Sheriff’s Office frequently receives calls or inquiries from members of the public making a complaint or asking questions about the process of apprehending or deporting illegal immigrants. That being said, the question becomes which law enforcement agency or agencies have authority to enforce the sections of the United States Code that deal with Federal immigration law. The answer is simply this: Federal statutes and laws can only be enforced by Federal Law Enforcement entities, such as the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Arrests for violations of the United States Code and deportation proceedings can only be effectuated by Federal Agents and charges filed by the Office of the United States Attorney of the respective circuit.
State, county, and municipal law enforcement officers, since they are not agents of the Federal Government, do not have authority to enforce provisions of the United States Code, nor can state or local authorities file charges or commence prosecutions against an illegal immigrant or any other person for violating provisions of the United States Code.
The contact that Baxter County Sheriff’s Deputies usually have with illegal immigrants results from their stop, detention, or arrest for violating unrelated criminal statutes of the State of Arkansas or Ordinance of Baxter County that Sheriff’s Deputies have authority to enforce. The “illegal immigrant” status is simply revealed as a by-product of the person’s non-consensual contact with the Sheriff’s Deputy for some other unlawful conduct. In those instances, Sheriff’s Deputies will contact, or make an effort to contact, the nearest ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) headquarters, alert them of the presence of the illegal immigrant(s) and circumstances surrounding the detention or arrest, and seek instructions from the ICE authorities as it relates to the immigration status.
Sheriff’s Deputies may, upon request of Federal Authorities, temporarily detain and hold in custody illegal immigrants for a period of time not to exceed seventy-two (72) hours pending their transfer into Federal Custody. If Federal Authorities do not take custody of the immigrant, then the immigrant must be released from Sheriff’s Office custody by the end of that time.
Under the Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act, effective September 30, 1996, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has been authorized to enter into partnerships with local law enforcement agencies that will allow local law enforcement an opportunity to team with ICE to deal with illegal immigration under limited conditions. This partnership is initiated through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the ICE Assistant Secretary, the Governor of the State, the chief local elected official, and the head of the local law enforcement agency. To date, only four (4) local law enforcement agencies in the State of Arkansas have entered into such an agreement with ICE. Each of those agencies is situated in an urban area of the state that has an ICE headquarters or branch office located nearby. Select officers of those agencies receive four (4) weeks of specialized training in immigration law and procedures at a Federal facility. The primary purpose of these partnerships is to allow local officers to identify and classify illegal immigrants in the communities during the course of their daily routine law enforcement duties, as well as identifying illegal immigrants who may already be custody in local detention centers for other reasons. These specialized local officers do not seek out and target illegal immigrants for deportation or arrest. All deportation proceedings and the potential filing of Federal charges must still be handled by the Federal authorities and not by state or local law enforcement. Baxter County, being located in a rural area, does not participate in this kind of partnership, as there are no Federal enforcement agencies with headquarters or offices in this area that we could partner with.
Illegal immigration into this country is addressed in Title 8, Section 1325 of the United States Code and by other federal legislation. This section of the United States Code states that “…any citizen of any country other than the United States who:
* Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or
* Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or
* Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime.”
There do not appear to be any laws of the State of Arkansas or Ordinances of Baxter County that address the issue of the presence illegal immigrants in Arkansas. Immigration issues continue to fall almost exclusively under Federal jurisdiction.
Although there have been efforts in many parts of the country, including our neighbor to the West, the State of Oklahoma, to involve state and local governments directly in the area of immigration enforcement, Federal Judges in several lawsuits have ruled that control of illegal immigration is the exclusive domain of the Federal Government and have prohibited states and local communities from attempting to enforce ordinances intended to control illegal immigration.
K-2, or Spice, is a form of synthetic marijuana. Although previously available for purchase at a few locations in this jurisdiction, it potentially could have harmful effects on the human body. In order to protect children and the public from this substance, the Baxter County Quorum Court passed an ordinance in July, 2010 banning the sale or possession of K-2 or Spice in this county. Several other local jurisdictions within Arkansas and elsewhere have passed similiar ordinances. It is likely that the Arkansas General Assembly will also pass legislation dealing with this substance during its 2011 regular session.
Attached is a PDF version of the actual Baxter County K-2 Ordinance.
Missing Person reports are separated into two general categories:
Missing/Runaway Juveniles: The parent or guardian of any juvenile (under 18 years of age) may file a missing person-runaway juvenile report at any time. These reports will be immediately entered into the NCIC/ACIC law enforcement database, which would serve to alert any officer from any jurisdiction having contact with the juvenile that he or she is listed as missing or a runaway. Radio notification will be made to all officers on duty. Deputies will also follow-up on any leads provided by the parent/guardian as to the possible location of the juvenile.
Missing Adults: Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older is considered to be an adult with full freedom of movement and liberty. Exceptions would include persons 18 years of age or older who remain under the legal guardianship of another adult or protective services. Deputies will take reports of missing adults at any time. The extent of any follow-up will depend upon the circumstances of the disappearance. For example, if evidence indicated that the missing person was endangered or may have been forcibly abducted, deputies would immediately begin follow-up on leads. If the missing person simply has not been seen recently but no evidence of foul play was found to exist, then our options and responsibilities in those cases are limited under the law and department policy.
Neighborhood Watch Programs are administered through the Sheriff’s Department Crime Prevention Division. For more information, please call Sgt. Tim Phillips at (870) 425-7000.
General Noise Complaints: Although it has been discussed in the past, Baxter County does not have an ordinance prohibiting loud or excessive noise that would constitute a nuisance. Many municipalities have such an ordinance, but Baxter County does not. Therefore, when we receive complaints of loud noise, loud music, or etc., we generally have very limited options open to us, other than to politely ask the person responsible to turn it down. Only in very extreme cases could a disorderly conduct type charge potentially be filed.
Personal Property Exchanges: People frequently come to the office wanting a deputy to accompany them to a residence to retrieve or recover personal property. We will generally try to assist people at the time they call or come in, if the property exchange or retrieval can be handled in 15 minutes or less. If it will take longer than that, then the parties involved will need to arrange for a Reserve Deputy to come in at a pre-arranged time to handle the matter, for which the requesting party will be charged an hourly fee. The sole purpose of the deputy will be TO KEEP THE PEACE. Any property over which ownership is in dispute will remain with the person who has it until a Judge orders otherwise, regardless of any receipts or paperwork showing who purchased the articles. An information sheet with complete details can be obtained at the Sheriff's Administration Offices.
Obtaining Copies of Reports and Records: Most Sheriff’s Office records are public information under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and are available for public viewing, and for copying for a nominal fee. There are several exceptions to this, including specifically reports and paperwork relating to criminal cases remaining open and under investigation, certain personnel records, records sealed/expunged by court order, and records relating to juveniles (under 18 years of age). We have an FOI request form that we ask each person to fill out that will help us find or locate the documents they are wanting to view. We will not compile statistical or comparative data for individuals, nor will Administration Staff offer comment on reports or documents prepared and filed by individual deputies.
Accident Reports: Patrol Deputies prepare traffic accident reports on accidents they have investigated on county roads. These reports are filed with clerical staff within five (5) days of the date of the accident. There is a nominal fee for copies of these reports. Although deputies frequently arrive at accident scenes on Arkansas State Highways and U. S. Highways to assist the State Police, the deputy will generally not investigate the accident himself. That is the responsibility of the State Police under the law. Reports from those accidents are filed with the Arkansas State Police Headquarters, and they are not available from the Sheriff’s Office.
Property Boundary Disputes: Occasionally, the Sheriff Office is asked to intervene in property line disputes between neighbors. The Sheriff's Office has no authority to determine property line boundaries or settle such disputes. These must be settled by pursuing your remedy in a civil court action.
However, persons should take notice that it is a criminal offense to interfere with a surveyor or survey crew or to move or tamper with any survey marker that has been placed by a licensed surveyor. Doing so will subject a person to arrest and prosecution under Arkansas law.
ORDERS OF PROTECTION:
A. Orders issued by the Circuit Court to protect victims in Domestic Violence situations.
B. To be eligible, the victim must have been in a “Domestic Type Relationship” with the offender, within the definition of the law. The definition includes married people, people related within the 4th degree of consanguinity, people who have lived together, had a child together, or have been in a dating relationship. Parents or advocates may also obtain, or assist in obtaining, Orders of Protection on behalf of others in some circumstances.
C. Application/Petition forms to obtain Orders of Protection are available at the Circuit Clerk’s Office. The Clerk may assist applicants in filling out the forms.
D. There are no costs associated with this order, no filing fees, no service fees.
E. The completed application form is presented to a Circuit Judge for review.
F. The victim/applicant may have to answer questions from the Judge before he decides whether or not to issue the order. There must be sufficient grounds to issue the order.
G. If the application is approved, the Circuit Judge will issue an Ex Parte (Temporary) Order of Protection. This Order will be delivered to the Sheriff’s Office to be served on the offender. The Order has no validity and cannot be enforced until and unless the offender has been served with the Order.
H. When the offender is served, the Order will specify a court hearing date and time. The offender may appear to challenge the Order at that time.
I. At the time of the hearing, the Judge may make the order permanent (up to 10 years), may modify the provisions of the order, or may drop or terminate the temporary order.
J. The order may award temporary custody of children or dependents to the applicant/victim, may order spousal support, may award temporary possession of a residence or personal property, and may prevent the offender from having any contact with the victim, the victim’s children, family, or etc.
K. Any person who violates any provision of the Order of Protection has committed a crime, specifically a Class A Misdemeanor, the punishment for which is up to a $1,000 fine and/or up to one (1) year in jail. The Judge issuing the Order can also punish for Contempt of Court.
L. Officers may make an arrest without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe the Order of Protection has been violated or broken by the offender.
M. Mutual (two-way) Orders of Protection are not permitted, however the parties involved may obtain separate Order of Protection against one another if grounds exist to convince a Judge to grant them.
Victims of Domestic Violence are encouraged to apply for Orders of Protection, because it is a crime to violate them. This gives law enforcement much great authority to enforce the provisions of these orders and results in a new charge being filed. The same cannot be said for violating other kinds of orders.
A. These are civil court orders generally issued in divorce cases.
B. There are filing fees and service fees involved, and the services of attorney are generally required to obtain a Restraining Order.
C. A person who defies the provisions of a Restraining Order has not committed a criminal offense. The remedy for violating a Restraining Order is to petition the court to hold the offender/violator in Contempt of Court, the punishment for which is generally a small civil fine.
Restraining Orders are generally ineffective in Domestic Violence cases because they have no real teeth to them.
NO CONTACT ORDERS:
A. Any person taken into custody for a criminal offense resulting from a Domestic Violence incident will generally be issued a standing No Contact Order at the time of his or her release from custody. This order is issued as a condition of bail or condition of release.
B. The order remains in effect until lifted or terminated by a Judge, but can generally be valid for no more than two (2) years.
C. A person who violates a No Contact Order has not committed a crime, rather he or she has violated the conditions of bail or release and can be taken back into custody by the officer until appearing in person before a Judge. The bail is basically revoked.
The Sheriff’s Office has pre-printed information available on how to obtain Orders of Protection, how to obtain the services of a victim’s advocate, and how to obtain the services of a shelter, such as Serenity in Mountain Home. Any deputy will be glad to provide these materials or try to answer any questions about the Sheriff’s Office procedures in responding to and investigating incidents of Domestic Violence.
Reserve Deputies are a very important part of Sheriff's Office. It would be very difficult to function without the support of the Reserves. They collectively volunteer more than 12,000 hours per year of their time to the service of the citizens of Baxter County.
Reserve Deputies, when acting under supersivion and on specific assignments, can be called upon to perform any tasks and take any actions that full time law enforcement officers may undertake. These include patrol duties, investigative duties, court bailiff duties, extraditions and transport of prisoners being held on warrants, traffic control duties, crowd control duties, public event duties, dispatching, and many other activities.
Applicants are selected based upon the results of their interview before a board of supervisors and active Reserve Deputies and upon the results of their background checks and other criteria.
Baxter County is permitted by law to have forty-eight (48) Reserve Deputies. These are all unpaid, volunteer positions. Applicants selected for these positions must be able to meet all of the same minimum standards requirements that a full time law enforcement officer in Arkansas must meet.
These include, but are not limited to:
A. Being at least twenty-one (21) years old - proof required.
B. Being a citizen of the United States - proof required.
C. Being free of felony convictions.
D. Being fingerprinted and submitting to a thorough and complete background check investigation.
E. Possess a valid Arkansas driver license.
F. Successfully completing a physical examination.
G. Successfully completing a psychological evaluation.
H. Possess a High School Diploma or GED - proof required.
In addition to these minimum requirements, the Sheriff's Office also requires applicants to:
A. Not have plead guilty, nolo contendere, or found guilty of a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense within the past ten (10) years in the State of Arkansas or any other jurisdiction.
B. Not have plead guilty, nolo contendere, or found guilty of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Minor .02% BAC or higher, within the past five (5) years in the State of Arkansas or elsewhere.
C. Not have plead guilty, nolo contendere, or been found guilty of any drug or drug paraphernalia offense, however designated, in the State of Arkansas or any other jurisdiction.
D. Not be the Respondent in an Ex Parte or Permanent Order of Protection that remains in effect.
E. Not have plead guilty, nolo contenders, or been found guilty of any offense arising from a Domestic Violence incident involving injury to another person.
Reserve Deputy applicants must undergo a minimum of one hundred (100) hours of in house training to graduate from the program and become sworn Reserve Deputies. Classes are usually held Monday to Thursday evenings from 6PM to 10PM at the Emergency Services Training Center in Midway. The classroom curriculum includes such topics as firearms training and qualifications, constitutional and criminal law, civil rights and civil liability, use of force, search and seizure, jurisdiction of agencies, defensive tactics, report writing, patrol techniques, and many other areas.
The Sheriff's Office usually conducts one (1) Reserve Deputy school each year, generally in the late Spring. The Sheriff's Office provides badges, uniforms, and some other limited equipment. Reserve Deputies must provide their own firearm (as approved by Sheriff's Office), leather gear, and body armor. The initial expense to each new Reserve Deputy can be several hundred dollars
Restitution: If the victim of a crime (whether a person or a business) is seeking restitution from someone arrested on their complaint, such as from a theft or a property damage case, it is very important that exact details of the restitution request be provided to the Investigator as soon as possible. This includes a detailed description of the stolen or damaged property, copies of any invoices or receipts showing the value, and all other pertinent information. This information has to be relayed to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office before the case is adjudicated if there is to be a chance of the court ordering restitution to the victim.
If the Judge orders restitution to be paid to you on the case, the amount of the restitution will be included in the final Judgment. Restitution from misdemeanor cases in District Court will be collected by the District Court Probation Office or Court Clerk's Office. Restitution from felony cases in Circuit Court will be collected by the Sheriff's Office and paid directly to the victim. We use aggressive means to collect all restitution that is due, including the suspension of driver licenses, petitioning the court for contempt proceedings, and filing liens against state tax refunds through the Arkansas State Income Tax Set Off Program when necessary.
Convicted Sex Offenders are required by law to register with law enforcement. The Baxter County Sheriff's Office is the law enforcement agency that handles the registration process of all Sex Offenders who reside in Baxter County with the exception of those that reside within the City of Mountain Home.
There are four (4) levels of Sex Offenders under Arkansas Law. The levels represent the likelihood the Offender will re-offend.
Level 1 - Least likely to re-offend
Level 2 - Moderate risk to re-offend
Level 3 - High Risk to re-offend
Level 4 - Sexually Violent Predator
A convicted Sex Offender, who is assigned a risk level of 1, 2, or 3, is required to come in to the Sheriff's Office every 6 months to re-register. A level 4 Sex Offender is required to come in every 3 months to re-register.
When a Sex Offender moves into the State of Arkansas, they are required to be evaluated before they are assigned a risk level. This process sometimes will take several months before the State assigns a risk level. Law Enforcement is not allowed to notify the public UNTIL a risk level has been assigned by the State of Arkansas.
The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for notifying the public of where Registered Sex Offenders live. Under Arkansas Law, we are only allowed to do public notification for Level 3 and Level 4 Sex Offenders. In 2007, a law was passed allowing us to do public notification on Level 2 Sex Offenders IF the Sex Offender was 18 years of age or older and the Victim was age 14 or under when the crime was committed.
In addition to posting the information on the website, we also do door to door notification within an area surrounding the residence of the Sex Offender. Officers use flyers showing the Offender’s picture and information about their crime, and go door to door notifying the neighbors of who the Sex Offender is and where they live.
Approximately every 3 months, we also do a mailing to the area schools, day cares, fire departments, and other places frequented by children. These packets contain flyers showing the Sex Offender and the address of their residence. This program is totally funded with donations from the public.
It is the belief of the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, that an informed public is a safer public. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our children and our community.
The fees that Sheriff's may charge for service of various court process are designated by law in Arkansas Code 21-6-307. The collection of these fees is mandatory by law. They may not be waived or set aside. The fees are:
|* For serving every summons, capias, scire facias, attachment, writ of garnishment, writ of injunction, or subpoena||$50.00|
|* For serving a writ of execution||$120.00|
|* For commission for receiving and paying money on execution or process where lands or goods have been taken into custody, advertised, or sold||10%|
|* For every return of a writ, summons, or subpoena, original or judicial||$30.00|
|* For executing a writ of inquiry||$20.00|
|* For executing a certificate of purchase for real estate under execution||$20.00|
|* For making, executing, and subscribing a sheriff's deed to be paid for by purchaser||$30.00|
|* For serving each order, notice, or rule of any court||$50.00|
|* For serving each notice to vacate||$30.00|
|* For advertising goods or lands for sale||$30.00|
|* For returning each execution or attachment||$20.00|
|* For advertising elections in each voting precinct||$20.00|
|* For delivering voter registration books for each voting precinct||$20.00|
|* For serving warrant or order of arrest from any court||$50.00|
|* For taking and entering every bail or delivery bond||$20.00|
|* For attending every trial or a criminal or civil case of confession in open court||$20.00|
|* For serving subpoena for special jurors||$20.00|
Sheriff’s Sales are made pursuant to writs of execution issued by courts in civil cases. A writ of execution orders the sheriff to seize real property and/or personal property from a judgment debtor and then sell it in order to satisfy a monetary judgment issued by a court in favor of a plaintiff (judgment creditor).
If a defendant (judgment debtor) is ordered by a court to pay a monetary judgment to a plaintiff (judgment creditor) but fails or refuses to do so, then the plaintiff may petition the court for the issuance of a writ of execution to send to the sheriff to command him to seize and sell property.
The sheriff generally has sixty (60) days from the date the writ was issued to either serve the writ and seize property to sell, or to return the writ back to the court as a non est inventus return, which means the defendant does not own any real or personal property that the sheriff can find upon which to seize and levy.
Prior lienholders have priority and precedence on the proceeds of any property seized and sold by the sheriff.
Not all property in possession of a judgment debtor is subject to levy. There are exemptions.
There is a set fee a plaintiff must pay to the court for the issuance of a writ of execution and a set fee the plaintiff must pay to the sheriff for service of a writ of execution. These fees are set by state statute.
The Sheriff is entitled by law to withhold a 10% commission fee from the sale. 25% of this commission goes to the Sheriff’s Communication and Radio Fund, while the remaining 75% of the fee goes to the County General Fund to appropriate as the Quorum Court sees fit.
There are specific requirements in the law for the posting of notices and publication of Sheriff’s Sales.
Non-Consensual Towing: The Sheriff's Office has authority to impound and tow vehicles under limited circumstances. These are:
* When the driver of the vehicle was lawfully stopped by law enforcement and the vehicle has been seized, with or without the driver being arrested.
* When the vehicle has been disabled in a traffic accident and the owner/operator is not at the scene or is incapacitated and unable to make or request specific arrangements for the removal of the vehicle.
* When the vehicle is illegally parked in violation of Arkansas Statutes or County Ordinances. Examples would include handicapped parking violations, blocking the roadway, parking within an intersection or crosswalk, parking too close to a fire hydrant or traffic control sign, and several other reasons.
Towing from Private Property: Private Property owners may, themselves, arrange for the towing of any motor vehicle that has been left or abandoned without permission or consent on their property. The Property Owner will be responsible for contacting a towing service to have the vehicle removed. The Sheriff's Office cannot become involved in that procedure. The Sheriff's Office cannot tow or remove a vehicle from privately owned property unless the vehicle has been seized by the Sheriff's Office as the result of a criminal violation.
Recommendation of Services: The Sheriff's Office is prohibited by law from recommending the services of any particular tow company or wrecker service.
WHERE TO PAY:
All fines, court costs, and restitution on all Baxter County Sheriff’s Office cases (as well as Arkansas State Police arrests made in the unincorporated areas of Baxter County) will be payable at the Sheriff’s Office Administration Building. The only exception is for restitution ordered on misdemeanor cases by the Baxter County District Court. The District Court Probation Office is usually responsible for collecting those. We accept cash, cashier’s checks, money orders, and personal checks as payment under our payment guidelines. Personal checks will be verified with the issuing bank for availability of funds before they are accepted. We will NOT accept payment by personal check on any fines or restitution arising from violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law. We also recently began accepting payment by credit card, under specific guidelines. Fines may be paid by credit card for any amount. There is no minimum. If paying in person at the Sheriff's Office, fines can only be paid during normal office business hours (Mon.-Fri. 8AM to 4:30 PM, holidays excepted) or by mail. Fine payments can also be made online with a credit card at http://www.myfinepayment.com or by calling 877-591-8768.
We cannot make or agree to any changes or alterations to the minimum monthly amount the Judge orders a person to pay. We will accept any amount a person pays toward fines, costs, and restitution. However, failure to pay the minimum amount per month the Judge has ordered may result that person being held in Contempt of Court and his/her driver license being suspended, as well as initiating Arkansas State Income Tax Set-Off proceedings. Only the Judge can modify the order of the court relating to payments.
PAYMENT OF “BONDS” ON TRAFFIC TICKETS:
Persons who receive traffic citations or citations for some misdemeanor offenses in the Sheriff’s jurisdiction that do not require a court appearance, can post a “BOND” on that citation at the Sheriff’s Office during normal office hours up to the day of court. These BONDS will be forfeited in full settlement of the fines and costs if the person does not appear in court.
Defendant under age 18 may pay if parent/guardian is present and signs citation or Appearance Plea/Waiver.
The Sheriff's Office may be able to assist with a vehicle unlock if a deputy is available. This is a service call that we will attempt to accommodate when possible, but is not a priority if deputies are needed elsewhere.
Deputies will attempt to gain entry, but there is no guarantee they will be successful. The Sheriff's Office assume no liability for damage to any vehicle or equipment as a result of attempting to unlock a vehicle as a public service.
The Sheriff's Office maintains thousands of Warrants of Arrest issued by the District Court and Circuit Court. All of these warrants constitute public records under the Freedom of Information Act. Any person can obtain information on arrest warrants pertaining to himself or herself or any other person by placing phone call to the Sheriff's Office. Such information as the date of the warrant, charge(s)specified on the warrant, bond amount, and issuing court can be provided.
Many arrest warrants are served by deputies working in the field, either during vehicle stops or by visiting the last known home address or work address of the person named in the warrant. Other warrants are served when people voluntarily surrender themselves to the Sheriff's Office after learning a warrant exists for their arrest.
Most warrants will have a bond specified by the court that a person in custody is required to post before being released. Other warrants are "No Bond" warrants, and the person must remain in custody until appearing before a Judge for further proceedings.
On those warrants that have a bond amount specified, the Sheriff's Office will accept either cash for the bond or a surety bond issued by a professional licensed bail bonding company. The Sheriff's Office generally will not accept or approve an O/R Bond (release on own recognizance) or a property bond.
Misdemeanor arrest warrants may be served anywhere in the State of Arkansas. Felony arrest warrants are extraditable from anywhere within the United States. The Sheriff's Office is very aggressive in serving arrest warrants, and extradition will generally be authorized whenever we are notified a person is in custody in another jurisdiction on a Baxter County warrant.
Any person wanting information about an arrest warrant or how to take care of an active warrant should contact the Sheriff's Office. We will make every effort to make a reasonable accommodation to allow the person satisfy the warrant within the boundaries of the law and department policy.
The Sheriff's Office frequently receives requests to perform what we term a "Welfare Check" on another person. These generally occur when people are unable to reach a family member or close friend in Baxter County and are concerned about the personal health and welfare of that person. We will generally dispatch a deputy to the address provided by the caller to see if contact can be made with the person in question. If contact is made, and if deemed appropriate and necessary, the deputy will conduct a brief ,cursory and informal investigation to determine the physical and/or mental health and well being of the person, without violating his or her privacy rights. The deputy or dispatcher will then re-contact the caller to provide information on what was learned.
Another frequent request is one from a parent for a deputy to check on the "welfare" of minor children in the permanent or temporary custody of the other parent. The Sheriff's Office will generally agree to make one (1) such welfare check on the children, provided the parent making the request can provide specific reasons based on facts that the welfare of the minor children is somehow being jeopardized. We have a specific written department policy dealing with these issues. Deputies will NOT be used by one parent as a tool to harass or intimidate the other parent because of a custody issue or dispute that remains unresolved by the courts.