Six Pine Bluff police officers were recognized for their performance this week during the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs program sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration.
Officers Phillip Gober, Carl Dunn, Matt Wright, Christopher Fontennette, Porsha Williams and Derrick Harris each received a certificate of commendation from Interim Chief Ivan Whitfield, based on recommendations from Deputy Chief Kelven Hadley.
Regarding Gober and Dunn, Hadley wrote that they were patrolling the area of North University Drive on Jan. 11 at approximately 11:30 p.m., and while checking Tucker Transmission at 2000 N. University Drive, noticed a Ford Excursion inside the secured fenced-in area with the headlights and reverse lights on.
The owner of the business, Dan Tucker, was called to the scene, and after checking to ensure that his building was secure, noticed that there was a faint smell of something burning when he checked the Excursion. Tucker disconnected the battery to the vehicle and decided he would check it more thoroughly during regular business hours.
After checking the vehicle, Tucker contacted Lt. Billy Dixon and reported that he noticed the electrical wires around the fuse box were getting hot; after researching the problem and the vehicle, he learned that there was a safety recall on the Ford Excursion for the fuse box because of a history of those vehicles catching fire due to a defect.
Dixon reported that Tucker told him that the diligence and attention to detail displayed by Gober and Dunn possibly saved the vehicle from catching on fire and potentially damaging his business, along with several other vehicles. Tucker also said the officers possibly saved him from $150,000 or more in damages.
Officers Wright and Fontennette were recognized for their actions on Jan. 15 when they responded to University Drive and McFadden Road at approximately 4:46 a.m. in reference to a vehicle that had turned over in a ditch. When they arrived, the officers noticed that two occupants of the vehicle were submerged under water. The two jumped into the bayou and assisted in removing two females, who were given C.P.R. by the officers until paramedics arrived.
Hadley reported that one of the two females was still being treated for her injuries, while the other was taken to a Little Rock hospital because she was eight weeks pregnant.
“The officers quick response and action may have prolonged a life that could have been cut short in an instant had they not responded immediately,” Hadley said in the recommendation.
Officers Williams and Harris were cited for their actions following a shooting on Jan. 21 at 10:33 p.m. at the Executive Inn at 2902 E. Harding Ave.
When Harris arrived, he saw a male covered with blood; after assisting him to sit down, he was approached by a female who said the person who had done the shooting was the father of her baby. She then told Harris where that person lived.
Harris put the information out on the radio, and Williams went to that location, where she saw the suspect behind the wheel of the vehicle he had been driving. She drew her weapon and ordered the man out of the vehicle and on the ground, then placed him under arrest.
While in custody, the man told police there was a gun and drugs in the vehicle, and those were seized by detective and vice and narcotics officers.
“This was a great job by our officers to catch a suspect within an hour of a crime that was committed,” Hadley said in the recommendation.