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Assistant police chief fired in Helena-West Helena amid investigation

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. —  A leader in the Helena-West Helena Police Department was fired Friday morning amid an investigation into timecard discrepancies.

Police Chief James Smith said Ronald Scott, who served as the department’s assistant police chief for 11 years, would claim he was working when he was actually on vacation, potentially costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in unearned pay.

“This guy actually wanted to have an opportunity to resign, but it was too late,” said Smith.

Smith said he made the recommendation to fire Scott two weeks ago and that Scott’s alleged misconduct goes back at least three years.

Smith said others are being investigated, but declined to say how many, and said federal authorities could start investigating.

He also said Scott could be looking at criminal charges.

“Public corruption has killed this city,” said Smith, who took over as police chief in April, when then-chief Virgil Green was abruptly fired. “It’s not gonna happen again.”

No one answered at Scott’s home when WREG stopped by Friday afternoon.

One of Scott’s longtime neighbor’s said the news came as a surprise.

“He was doing something right, in my opinion, so hopefully he’ll be all right and the city of Helena will be all right,” said Carl Miller.

Scott is still listed as a vice president on the website of the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police.

WREG reached out to the association to see if Scott would retain this position but didn’t hear back.