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Local officers assisting Exxon while off duty

Posted: April 9, 2013 - 10:06pm
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO    An area law enforcement vehicle is shown at the scene of the Mayflower oil spill.
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO An area law enforcement vehicle is shown at the scene of the Mayflower oil spill.

At least 19 local law enforcement officers are making extra money by working off duty, in uniform as security guards, in part for ExxonMobil Corp., local officials said.

Those local police and deputies work as security for the governments and oil giant charged with cleaning up an oil spill that dumped about 5,000 barrels of oil crude oil into a Mayflower subdivision and nearby marsh areas.

Faulkner County sheriff deputies work four shifts at about four officers per shift for $35 an hour, Sheriff Andy Shock said. Three to four officers from the Mayflower Police Department do the same work, Police Chief Bob Satkowski said.

Conway police are not working as security guards, spokeswoman La Tresha Woodruff said in email.

Satkowski said Exxon required officers to wear their uniforms. Exxon spokeswoman Kim Jordan said in email that “our understanding is whether an officer wears the uniform is up to the individual.”

In email, Jordan said: “Deputies are required on site to secure homes in the area and ensure public safety.”

Officers are allowed to wear their uniforms, even when off duty and working for a private company, if their department OKs it, said Ronnie Baldwin, executive director of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association.

The only stated rule is officers can’t work a second job while on duty, Baldwin said. Shock said his deputies can wear their uniforms. He said his deputies provide security services, direct traffic and divert people.

Shock said people had been emailing him, concerned about his deputies working. Off-duty officers working second jobs remain law enforcement. “I read today that the sheriff’s department has been purchased by Exxon,” Jim Howerton wrote April 8 in email to Shock. “Is that actually true?”

The email didn’t say where Howerton is located, and many of the emails are from out-of-state residents.

County Judge Allen Dodson said Exxon is not “running the show.”

The state, federal and county government are working with Exxon to clean up the spill. Exxon is financially responsible, Dodson said.

Local law enforcement officials were chosen first because Mayflower is impacted by the oil spill, Dodson said. Deputies and policemen have an opportunity to work and help their own communities, he said. Local officers also have knowledge of the local people and places, Dodson said.

The fact that officers are wearing uniforms is not atypical from other events across the country, Dodson said.

“I feel like these officers have a real conflict of interest,” said Mickey H. Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association. Police and deputies working off-duty shouldn’t just do everything Exxon says to do, he said.

Shock said officers are watching everyone’s property, not just Exxon’s.

“They are providing a valuable service, not only to Exxon, but to the citizens of Mayflower and Faulkner County by doing this,” Shock said.

(Staff writer Scarlet Sims can be reached by email at scarlet.sims@thecabin.net. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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fdsjfsdjfsda543543543
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fdsjfsdjfsda543543543 04/09/13 - 11:46 pm
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Exxon is indeed running this

Exxon is indeed running this show, because they are signing all the checks. $35/hour is a pittance for a company with deep pockets like Exxon.

Those full page back cover ads in the paper version of the LCD mean the paper is benefiting financially from the spill and will be unlikely to be very critical.

Everything is coming up roses in Mayflower according to Exxon. It just doesn't smell like it!

justoffcenter
768
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justoffcenter 04/10/13 - 03:25 pm
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Beats what you guys pay

$35 an hour beats what the citizens of Faulkner County pay the very same Officers and Deputies. Don't be a hater, it is extra pay for a bunch of under paid and over worked, dedicated LEO's. Mayflower will be back to business as usual in a few weeks, with plenty of fresh green dollar bills to show around.

fdsjfsdjfsda543543543
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fdsjfsdjfsda543543543 04/10/13 - 07:42 pm
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You missed my point. No one

You missed my point. No one is begrudging the cops making extra cash. Exxon should be paying them $100/hour or maybe more. The thing is, they have all these cops to keep the press or anyone else from going in and taking pictures and talking to anyone.

This is a humongous environmental disaster. It'll never be the same as before no matter how many paper towels exxon uses. This is tar sands oil, very difficult stuff if not impossible with current technology to clean up. There was a spill of this bitnum in the Kalamazoo river several years ago of this stuff and they still haven't cleaned it up. You're naive if you think it will all be over in a few weeks.

mikeng1994
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mikeng1994 04/10/13 - 08:49 pm
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Maybe you should ask the

Maybe you should ask the people of Prince William Sound if they think this spill is humongous. I'm not saying it isn't bad, it is bad, lets just keep things in perspective.

fdsjfsdjfsda543543543
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fdsjfsdjfsda543543543 04/11/13 - 11:20 am
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What a silly comment. This

What a silly comment. This spill isn't anything like Prince William Sound. That was plain old crude oil, this is something totally different. This is a bitnum spill, you can't just skim this stuff off the top of the water. The kalamazoo river oil spill was a much bigger one but the same kind of tar sand oil mixed with a natural gas condensate. They're still dealing with the stuff almost three years later. Rather than floating on water like oil does, when diluted bitumen spills is the diluant, the natural gas condensate, will evaporate off, causing a toxic benzene cloud, and leaving behind a very heavy dense bitumen which will sink to the bottom, particularly of waterways. So that lovely smell from the oil spill was the benzene evaporating off. Benzene is well established as being carcinogenic.

Tar sand oil, or bitnum, is too thick and heavy to pump through these pipes by itself. It's diluted with a natural gas condensate to create a slurry that can then be pumped at much higher temperature and pressure than plain crude oil. It's also got sand in it, so it's abrasive to the pipes it flows through. They were pushing this abrasive stuff through a 60 year old pipe at high pressure. It's not really a surprise that the pipe failed considering all this. To Exxon though, it's cheaper to "clean up" a mess when it happens rather than preventing it in the first place.

My point here is that Exxon is controlling the flow of information here since they are speaking for everyone, federal, state, and local. All this "security" is to make sure the press doesn't take any pictures or find anything out that the official exxon press people don't want you to know about.

justoffcenter
768
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justoffcenter 04/11/13 - 10:16 am
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Nope, hardly a disaster at all

"This is a humongous environmental disaster. It'll never be the same as before no matter how many paper towels exxon uses."

Nope, looking at some real disasters from the past, this one is small. 14 ducks, a snake, and a coon, most of these would have been hit in the head with a boat paddle if you were fishing and they got in the boat with you. Some new dirt and sod (and a few million Exxon dollars) Mayflower is better than ever.

Panic on trusted citizen.

conwaygerl
5626
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conwaygerl 04/11/13 - 10:19 am
5
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no disaster

Until it reaches Lake Conway, I've read reports that last night's storm unbarricaded the culverts leading to the lake. That might be of concern.

sonicstring
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sonicstring 04/12/13 - 12:31 pm
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and pray tell

Where did you read those "reports" ? Facebook World and news reports ? How often have you driven through these areas lately ? Not all of them are barricaded and guarded you know.. It might help some of your fears if you actually came down and looked over the area you speak of.

fdsjfsdjfsda543543543
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fdsjfsdjfsda543543543 04/11/13 - 11:22 am
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You're wrong

See my above comment to mike. This is not like the oil spills of old. Google "Kalamazoo River oil spill" to get an idea about cleaning this stuff up once it reaches a body of water.

odoketa
393
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odoketa 04/10/13 - 12:50 am
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serious problem

I was fine with this right up until the part where private citizens, working for a private corporation, are dressed in uniforms which suggest they are enforcing the law. If they are acting in an official capacity, they should wear the uniform. If they are not, they should not. If you tell me to leave somewhere, or not take photos, and you are in uniform, I am going to assume you are acting as an officer of the law, not as an employee of a corporation. This is a bad decision, on the part of both Sheriff Shock and the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association, for everyone involved.

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