E-cigs, social media posting discussed at last night’s law enforcement committee meet

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by Madeline Pyle

At last night’s Independence County law enforcement committee meeting, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) were the hot topic.

County Attorney Daniel Haney recommended the court table discussion on allowing the jail to continue selling e-cigarettes to inmates until he confirmed the jail and the county would not be held liable.

Sheriff Shawn Stephens said in the 20 days the jail sold e-cigarettes, over 180 were purchased.

Judge Robert Griffin also addressed concerns about the Independence County Sheriff’s Department’s social media posts, specifically a recent post of a female suspect on her knees in handcuffs during an arrest along with the department’s sharing a post from Lee County that leaked a potential threat against Arkansas schools.

“We need to have more uplifting things going out to the public,” Griffin said, and posts of arrests could be considered “pre-sentencing.”

Sheriff Stephens responded that the purpose of the sheriff’s department’s social media was to “educate the public.”

When asked for comment about Judge Griffin’s concerns regarding the post of the arrested female, Stephens said, “I feel it will help educate the people to know the consequences of your actions. We’re not trying to prove guilt or innocence. She was fleeing from officers, and she got caught.”

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