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story.lead_photo.caption Centerton Police Department - Photo by Jason Ivester

BENTONVILLE -- Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards fired the two top leaders of the city's Police Department and now Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith is deciding whether the situation needs a more in-depth investigation.

Brian Rabal, Centerton's city attorney, confirmed Wednesday the mayor fired Police Chief Cody Harper and Capt. Kris Arthur. City Council members were notified of the firings Tuesday evening at a special meeting called by the mayor.

Harper was recently placed on administrative leave because of an investigation by the Benton County Sheriff's Office, Rabal has said.

Lt. Anthony Keck, with the assistance of Edwards, will be in charge of the department, Rabal said.

Neither officials with the Sheriff's Office nor the city have provided any details concerning the reasons for the investigation.

Smith also declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

"Investigators for the Benton County Sheriff's Office have submitted to my office findings of a review today concerning the leadership of the Centerton Police Department," Smith said. "The Benton County Sheriff's Office provided assistance to the city during their review. I will review the findings and determine in the near future whether a more formal criminal investigation is warranted."

Arthur was in charge of the department during Harper's absence, Rabal said.

Harper was hired as a police officer in 2005. He served as interim police chief in 2015 and was later hired as chief.

Rabal said the decision was made Tuesday to terminate Harper and Arthur as result of findings of the Sheriff's Office's investigation.

Rabal said city officials can't provide further details since it's an active investigation.

The city hired David Williams, a retired state auditor, to look at the finances of the Police Department and the policies and procedures, according to documents from the city. The documents didn't specify any reasons for the review.

Rabal said he hasn't received any reports from Williams.

Harper and Arthur can appeal their firings to the City Council.

Rabal said Arthur is appealling his termination.

NW News on 05/17/2018

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