Pine Bluff Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant was given City Council approval Monday night to use money that had not been spent on salaries during the first two months of this year to offer rewards for information leading to the arrest of homicide suspects.
The City Council approved a budget adjustment moving $50,000 from the salaries line of the Police Department budget to the reward fund line.
At a meeting of the council’s Public Safety Committee earlier this month, Sergeant brought up the idea of using money not spent on salaries to boost rewards for information. At that time, he said the city had recorded five homicides since the beginning of the year, and no arrests had been made.
A sixth homicide occurred last weekend, and there has not been an arrest in that case either.
He said his 2019 budget includes $2,000 to pay rewards, and an additional $500 can be obtained from Central Arkansas Crimestoppers. But he stressed that more is needed in order to get information.
During the council meeting, Council member Bruce Lockett asked Sergeant if the reward amounts would vary depending on the information, and Sergeant said they would. The rewards would be paid for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
In public comments before the council meeting, the Rev. Jesse Turner, executive director of I.C.V.R., which sponsors the monthly Coffee with the Chiefs, supported Sergeant’s request for the additional money.
“It’s another tool the chief can use,” Turner said. “I urge you to support this and give the chief the additional funds.”
Police are seeking information on the following homicides this year:
• Jan. 10 — Marquis Williams, 28, who was found shot to death in the area of 10th Avenue and Juniper Street around 9 a.m.
• Jan. 19 — Tony White, 18, who was found shot at an apartment complex at 2402 McConnell Circle at 9:21 p.m. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where he died.
• Jan. 23 — Celestine Holder, 53, who was found shot to death in the intersection of West 24th Avenue and Linden Street at about 12:30 a.m.
• Feb. 26 — Amanda Lee, 22, who was found shot inside a vehicle in the 3700 block of Camden Road at about 9:30 p.m. She was taken to JRMC, where she was pronounced dead.
• March 2 — DeShon Cobbs, 35, who was found shot to death in the area of 26th Avenue and Indiana Street just after 9 p.m. Four other people were also shot and were treated for what police called “non-life threatening injuries.”
• March 16 — Ashton Jackson, 34, who was found shot to death inside a vehicle on the Martha Mitchell Expressway between Larch and Blake streets at around 4:40 a.m.
Anyone with information on any of these homicides should call the Detective Division at 730-2090 or the dispatch center at 541-5300.