By Tammy Moore Teague
The City of Lavaca’s Police Chief, Charles Toon is a cornerstone in the community in which he lives and works. The Lavaca native has been in law enforcement for over 23 years and plans to continue this labor of love until he is ready to retire.
Toon began his career as a animal control officer for the City of Greenwood. After working as a reserve officer for Lavaca, he began working his way up the ranks until being named Chief earlier this year.
Its not just the title in which he holds that separates Toon from others in the field. He has a passion for the work he does and the community which he serves. Additionally, he is quick to give credit to those who work with him. “A group that works this well together, it makes it easy to enjoy the job,” Toon explained.
His second in command, Sergeant Jeremy Smith, is according to Toon, an amazing asset to the department. Adding that “the school and the community love him.” Smith has been with the LPD for four years. He began his career in Barling as a reserve officer and worked at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith as a campus policeman.
The department recently moved into its new facility located at 405 Dogwood Street. It is staffed with three full-time, four part-time and three reserve officers. Because the department is dependent upon limited funding, vital equipment such as body cameras and police radios have been acquired through outside contributions. That call has been answered by the community and local politicians. State Representative Charlotte Douglas, Arkansas House of Representatives District 75, purchased and donated a base radio station to the department. The furniture at the new station was donated by local businesses and the flooring and five new bullet proof vests were donated by Belle Point Beverages. Most recently, the Punishers L.E.M.C., a Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, held a fundraising event and raised enough money for the department to purchase body cameras. The event was so successful that they are already making plans to repeat it next year.
Although the department is still in need for four more radios and a generator, Toon remains optimistic and states that “Every dime is spent to make us better.” Three words define the department, which directly reflects Chief Toon, passionate, committed and professional.
By Tammy Moore Teague