Friday, July 01, 2011

TOP STORY >> Ward looks for new police chief

Leader staff writer

Ward Police Chief Charlie Martin turned in his badge and resigned Wednesday morning. Martin recently qualified for retirement benefits and will leave his post July 8. He has led the police department since 2006.

Mayor Art Brooke will serve as interim police chief with Lt. Eric Sims heading daily operations. Sims is the leading candidate to fill the position, if Sims chooses. Sims has been with the Ward Police Department for 15 years starting in 1996 as an auxiliary officer.

The mayor said if Sims declines, he would offer the position to other officers in the police department.

Brooke said Martin left the police department in good shape, the budget was good and he had 19 of 20 positions filled. The department has an opening for a part-time officer.

“He was in good spirits when he left,” Brooke said.

Martin is a former three-term Lonoke County sheriff. He has 40 years in law enforcement including being an officer at the Jacksonville Police Department and as a Lonoke County sheriff’s deputy.

Martin said he and Brooke had differences of opinions on who should run the police department.

“I decided to move on — it was time for me to go,” Martin said.

For the short term, Martin is going to relax.

“I’m going to spend time with my grandkids, rest up, do a little fishing and work around the house,” Martin said.

Martin said the door is still open on his law-enforcement career, hinting he might run for sheriff again.

“You never know what will come up. I still have a lot to offer the county,” he said.