Several members of the Pine Bluff Police Department’s Violent Crimes Task Force were recognized for their actions recently, which included the seizure of several weapons that may have prevented a shooting incident on the east side of the city.


At the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration, PBPD Chief Kelvin Sergeant also recognized a crime scene technician who teaches at the Jefferson Area Technical Career Center and whose students won a state competition.


In a report to Deputy Chief Billy Elliott, Sgt. Brett Talley, who is a supervisor with the task force, said Sergeant contacted him and Lt. Marcus Smith about citizen complaints in the area of 1700 S. Dakota St., and officers assigned to the task force were sent in to saturate the area due to intelligence that there would be a possible shooting at an unspecified time on April 12.


While in the area, Officer Terrance Anderson saw a silver Grand Marquis with four occupants stop in the middle of Sixth Avenue to speak to a female that was walking. Anderson and Officer Mario Brown continued to watch the car as it turned into the Broadmoor Plaza Apartments and stopped. No one got in or out.


Other task force officers in the area were notified, and when the vehicle failed to use a turn signal at 11th Avenue and Dakota Street, officers Anthony Kirkpatrick and Jeremy Crosby attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The vehicle fled and a pursuit ensued until the vehicle was involved in an accident at 28th Avenue and Fir Street.


All four male occupants of the vehicle were taken into custody, and during an inventory search of the vehicle, an AK47 pistol, a nine-millimeter handgun and a .380-caliber handgun were located, along with an orange mask. The AK47 had been reported stolen, and two of the occupants of the vehicle were convicted felons.


Crosby and Kirkpatrick, along with Lt. Billy Dixon, were also recognized for their actions in the seizure of more than 16 pounds of marijuana, a handgun and more than $13,600 in cash on March 30


In a note to Assistant Chief Ricky Whitmore, Elliott said Crosby and Kirkpatrick were in the area of 33rd Avenue and Mississippi Street trying to locate the source of gunshots when they encountered a vehicle occupied by two males.


When they approached the car, the officers smelled the odor of marijuana. The vehicle fled, and the officers pursued it until both subjects were in custody. Dixon backtracked the path of the pursuit and located a black duffel bag containing 14.81 pounds of marijuana. When officers searched the car the suspects had been in, they found an additional 1.36 pounds of marijuana, $13,618 cash and a nine-millimeter handgun.


Also Tuesday, Sergeant recognized Erin Mothershed, who works the evening shift as a crime scene technician and works during the day as an instructor at the Technical Career Center. One of the classes she teaches is Crime Scene Investigators, and from April 9 to April 11, she took 30 of her students to Hot Springs to compete in a statewide competition in several areas, including crime scene investigations.


Her team came in first place and each student won a two-year scholarship. The win qualifies them for the national competition in Louisville, Kentucky, during the last week in June. If they win there, each student would receive a four-year scholarship and up to $25,000 in cash prizes.


Lieutenant David De Foor and Officer John Looney, who is a part-time officer, were recognized for their work while conducting active shooter training not only for officers, which was done in April, but for a number of individuals and groups around the city and county.


Whitmore, in a letter to Sergeant, said, “In the current environment of school and other shootings, it is incumbent on any law enforcement agency to remain informed and current on training as it relates to how to respond whenever there is an active shooting incident in progress.”


Whitmore said De Foor “did an outstanding job in his research of the topic.”


He said De Foor and Looney then “applied that research to possible situations that might arise and provided practical exercises to allow each officer an opportunity to see what their reaction would be just as if the situation was real. Much thought and time was done to provide this valuable instruction to this agency.”