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Falsified report leads to Fort Smith police firing, resignation

by Thomas Saccente | May 3, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

FORT SMITH -- One police officer was fired, another reprimanded and a police sergeant resigned amid an internal investigation into a falsified accident report.

The personnel actions stem from an accident in which a department vehicle was backed into a dumpster on private property, Police Department spokesman Aric Mitchell said. The accident report was dated Feb. 16 although the accident happened Feb. 12, he said.

Mitchell didn't say why the date was changed.

One of the officers reported the falsehood to the department, Mitchell said. The officer received a written reprimand for not coming forward sooner. A second officer, who didn't come forward, was fired April 13, he said.

The supervisor who directed the false report to be made resigned March 29 while under investigation, Mitchell said.

The department isn't releasing the name of the officer who was fired because he appealed his termination to the Fort Smith Civil Service Commission. The department is only required to release personnel records in the event of a suspension or termination under the Freedom of Information Act and only after all administrative appeals have been exhausted.

The former supervisor requested an Arkansas attorney general's opinion on whether the investigation involving him is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act because he resigned in lieu of termination, according to Mitchell.

Mitchell said more information will be released at a later date.


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