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Jonesboro police Chief Tommy Henderson discusses changes and upgrades to the department during the Jonesboro City Council’s Feb. 1 work session.

JONESBORO — Jonesboro City Council has approved three requests by the city’s police chief for upgrades to the department.

The items were discussed during the Feb. 1 work session and unanimously approved during the board’s Feb. 8 meeting.

The first request was an approval to purchase a sergeant promotion exam at a cost of $4,250.

Police Chief Tommy Henderson said the written and oral exam will help with promotions and “level the playing field” in the department.

Henderson said he is expanding the chain of command within the department, which will make an officer’s move to sergeant more competitive.

The chain of command expansion includes the creation four new positions at the rank of corporal. The inclusion of corporal, and anytime a promotion is granted, requires a new badge. Henderson said the current vendor requires a 16-week turnaround time. The change in vendor will shorten the time to four to six weeks and includes a lifetime warranty on each badge. Additionally, a die cast will be made at a one-time charge of $2,500. The cast will allow for unlimited usage at a cost of $107.50 per badge.

Finally, while evaluating the department, Henderson said he found that firearms used by officers need both upgrading and standardizing. The department is currently using two different caliber of weapons and some are more than 20 years old.

He intends to change all weapons to fifth general Glock 17 9MM.

Doing so the department will need to purchase only one caliber of bullet, saving the department money and allowing for the sharing of ammunition during emergency situations.

Henderson said the department will receive a trade-in value of $350 per gun, bringing the cost of the new weapons to $78 each. A total of 35 weapons will be purchased at a cost of $2,747.50.

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