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Centerton police leaders fired

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Photographs by Jason Ivester

Centerton Police Department

BENTONVILLE — Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards fired the two top leaders of the city’s police department.

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

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

Neither officials with the sheriff’s office nor the city have provided any details concerning the reasons for the investigation.

Meyer Gilbert, the chief deputy for the Sheriff’s Office, said the investigation didn’t find any criminal wrongdoing, but may have uncovered ethical issues or violations of policies with the city. Gilbert said the sheriff’s office consulted with the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and determined no criminal charges should be filed.

Arthur was put 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.

The city did enter into a contract with 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 did not specify any reasons for the review of the police department.

Rabal said he has not received any reports from Williams.

Harper and Arthur can appeal their firings. The city council would hear the appeals.

Rabal said he believes Arthur has already requested an appeal of his termination.

Tracy M. Neal can be reached by email at tneal@nwaonline.com or Twitter @NWATracy.

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