December 29, 2010 Edition

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Ellison says LCSD
will be in good hands

Sheriff Dan Ellison works with sheriff-elect Jody Dotson as he prepares to pass the badge on Saturday.
Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

Jody Dotson will officially accept the office of Lawrence County sheriff at midnight on Jan. 1. A 10-year veteran of the department, Dotson says he hopes to continue the legacy of his predecessor, Dan Ellison, who he feels has done much to modernize local police procedures.

Ellison, who has served for 40 years in law enforcement, has spent the last six years in the office of Lawrence County sheriff.

"Dan has done much to improve and modernize our department," Dotson said. "He brought us into the current century."

"When I took office there wasn't a single computer in the whole department," Ellison said.

The department has made many advances both in communications and in information exchange including the implementation of a wireless network AWIN (Arkansas Wireless Information Network), which allows response agencies to communicate on a common system.

Dotson plans to implement a UHF system as well, which will allow him to communicate with deputies from anywhere.

"I can be in Little Rock and if I need to talk to one of the deputies I can, using the UHF frequencies," Dotson said.

Ellison sought grants to streamline and improve procedures such as fine collection, fingerprinting and operation of emergency communications. It was Ellison's idea to separate the job of answering emergency calls and dispatching emergency personnel from that of the jailers.

"Emergency calls require a full-time staff, and it was necessary to create a separate office to best serve the needs of the community," Ellison said.

Ellison also expressed his gratitude to the quorum court, elected officials and to local and state police agencies for excellent working relationships. "We have been very fortunate in having the support of the community as a whole," he said.

"I have always emphasized that the sheriff's department is here to serve the community," Ellison said. "I tell officers it's not only our job to respond to the needs of our community, but it is also our job to enforce the law. That's what we are sworn to do, enforce the law."

Dotson said he is looking forward to his new role in county law enforcement. "I never dread coming to work," he said. "Every day is a challenge and there is always something new."

"Jody has the ability and knowledge to continue to improve the department," Ellison said. "I think we are fortunate to have him."

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