Pine Bluff police chief addresses weekend homicides, new equipment

Pine Bluff Police Chief Ivan Whitfield says there is not widespread violence in the city. (Photo: KATV)

The police chief in Pine Bluff says there is a small group of individuals causing problems for the city, and the violence isn't wide spread.

This comes after police responded to two homicides over the weekend.

Around 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, a car crashed into a house at 27th and Cherry Street.

Police say the driver 30-year-old David Ibemesi had been shot. He later died at the hospital.

Then Sunday around 9:30 p.m., police found the body of 29-year-old Jordan Deshawn Turner at 6th St. and Myrtle in the middle of the road.

"They're still running down leads, talking to witnesses, trying to locate other witnesses," said Chief Ivan Whitfield, with the Pine Bluff Police Department.

In 2016, Pine Bluff had 10 homicides. So far, in 2017, the city has six.

"Some were clearly domestic related, some was drug related, but we're investigating them all, because all of them were important, because a life was lost," said Whitfield.

Monday, the city council approved the police department financing $778,439.93 to get 17 new patrol cars, 40 in-car cameras and 40 body cameras.

The cars will be financed over a three-year period, and the cameras will be financed over a five-year period.

According to Whitfield, many of the department’s vehicles are high mileage and need to be replaced.

“Our vehicles run 24/7,” said Whitfield. “I mean don’t just shut down because it’s Friday evening. That patrol unit it still moving, and they can’t just go to a parking lot and park there. They have to be on patrol, therefore the mileage creeps up every day.”

While the department does have body mics, Whitfield said the body cameras will help them be more effective.

“If there’s a complaint filed, then we’ll be able to show them what the officer did, and why they did what they had to do as well as it protects the officer,” said Whitfield. “So, if somebody came in and filed a false complaint, when you go back and look at that body cam, it tells the whole story.”

But Whitfield says no amount of equipment can stop homicides.

"If someone is in the mindset to do ill-will or to do a drug deal that goes bad, nothing you can buy can stop that from happening," says Whitfield.

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