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Certifications missing from police department, final deadline given

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SHANNON HILLS -

Policing the police continues as a large challenge in one central Arkansas city.

The Shannon Hills Police Department remains under a dark cloud by the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.

Numerous documents from the agency, started five months ago, outline various certifications and tests that can't be accounted for in Shannon Hills –

Wednesday the police chief tells us the city has the documents, but no one at the state office has seen them yet.

Shannon Hills is a pretty quiet, little town lying in both Pulaski and Saline County, but it's causing quite a commotion in the commission of law enforcement standards.

Filings received from state standards by way of the Freedom of Information Act show which exact requirements were absent from officer's personnel files.

This included things like Arkansas State Police and FBI returns, background investigations and even fire arm qualifications.

The Shannon Hills Police Department's front door was locked when we tried to visit with Chief Bobby Hale Wednesday.

Hale was one person without all three of the must-haves mentioned. After a couple hours of trying to find him, he pulled up at the police station and agreed to speak with us.

"That stuff is all there now. It's all there," he said when questioned about the missing files.

According to the state office, it's not anywhere. Letters to Shannon Hills show the commission's office has been pleading for it since October, but still much of it remains missing.

In one letter addressed to Hale on December 18th, the commission states:

"…there has been no attempt by your agency to correct those deficiencies..."

The letter goes on to read, that it "…found the same deficiencies existed for all officers on your agency roster."

When going through the list with Chief Hale, we wanted to know how this could happen.

"It wasn't that we were lackadaisical," he told us. "We did things we thought would bring us into compliance, then we'd be told ‘no that wasn't acceptable.'"

The police department is also responsible for keeping its active roster up to date with the office of standards. However, it shows numerous officers on its list that are no longer with the department.

A couple of files the state office are still working to find are ones showing the F-1 paperwork involving the hiring of a former female officer, and the letter saying she no longer works there.

At this stage, although she worked there, standard's officers have no proof she was ever a certified officer in the city.

As if it needs anymore time, the ACLES is giving the police department yet another deadline to meet standards, which is set for March 14.

Shannon Hills Mayor Mike Kemp told us Thursday it will provide all of the needed documents on that date -- but he wasn't able to show them to us today.

If on that day the correct documents aren't provided, the commission is expected to decertify officers who don't have the proper certifications. If they continue to work at Shannon Hills, then the board and Attorney General's Office would be involved with the department.