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Benton County JPs approve 'pro-life' resolution

Also, Benton County honors slain Pea Ridge officer by Mike Jones | July 30, 2021 at 3:13 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- The Benton County Quorum Court passed a "pro-life" resolution Thursday night.

Justices of the peace opted to go with a resolution originally presented by Justice of the Peace Richard McKeehan of Rogers.

The vote was 13-1 with one member absent. The Quorum Court is made up of 15 Republicans.

Justice of the Peace Joseph Bollinger of Bella Vista and McKeehan each brought forward resolutions with a slight difference in wording, but with the same intent -- to declare Benton County a "pro-life" county. They later agreed to co-sponsor a combined resolution.

The Committee of the Whole at its July 20 meeting voted to forward that resolution to the Quorum Court. At the end of that meeting Justice of the Peace Tom Allen of Rogers said he would sponsor McKeehan's original resolution, and it also was moved to the Quorum Court for consideration.

Section one of McKeehan's resolution states, "​It is the policy of Benton County, Arkansas, to promote and protect the dignity and humanity of all persons at all stages of life from conception until natural death."

An amendment to the approved resolution that would indefinitely postpone the combined resolution also was approved.

McKeehan's resolution was more succinct and to the point compared with the combined one, Allen said.

"There is no question about its intent," he said.

McKeehan said many of his constituents had voiced their support for a "pro-life" resolution.

Bollinger said he was OK going with McKeehan's resolution. "I'd like to see one get passed. I have no problem going with the other," he said.

Justice of the Peace Susan Anglin of Bentonville, who cast the lone no vote, said she struggled with both resolutions.

She said she respected the other justices of the peace's votes, but she did not feel the resolution was the appropriate step to take.

"It's a very personal thing," Anglin said. "I am pro life. The resolution doesn't change a thing."

She described the resolution as a divisive issue that state laws address instead of being an issue for county government.

The Washington County Quorum Court passed a "pro-life" resolution at its meeting July 16.

A resolution, and not an ordinance, "is merely a statement of support or of opposition to an issue from the quorum court without the effect of enforcement," Chris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties, previously said.

A resolution honoring Pea Ridge police office Kevin Apple was unanimously approved by the Quorum Court. Apple was killed June 26 at a Pea Ridge gas station when he was hit by a Jeep and dragged 149 feet, according to court documents. Apple, a Pea Ridge officer for three years had a total of 23 years in law enforcement.

Ceremonial framed copies of the resolution were presented to Pea Ridge Police Chief Lynn Hahn and Apple's mother Dalene Hart. Another framed copy will be retained by the county. A video honoring Apple was shown at the meeting.

Dec. 12 will be observed as Officer Kevin Apple Day in the county, the resolution sponsored Justice of the Peace Brian Armas of Pea Ridge states. Apple's badge number was 1212.

The resolution asked that the section of Arkansas 72 from Bentonville to Pea Ridge be named "Officer Kevin Apple Memorial Highway" in honor of Apple.

Shawna Cash, 22, of Pine Bluff and Elijah Andazola, 18, of Bentonville were arrested in Apple's death. Prosecutors haven't filed formal charges against the pair.

The Quorum Court also passed a waiver to allow an increase in salary for various Central Communications employees because of pay equity with regional location positions. The center handles more communications, but pays less than smaller city centers in the region, justices of the peace were told at the Finance Committee meeting earlier this month.

County Judge Barry Moehring's proposal will raise the base pay of a starting level dispatcher from $16.30 an hour to $19, with the rest of the pay scale increasing in proportion. There would be no budget increase. Also, because the center has had so many vacancies, the money saved on pay so far this year means the increase will fit in the already-approved yearly budget.

Print Headline: JPs approve 'pro-life' resolution


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