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Quorum Court strikes boat ramp closures from ‘Cooper’s Law’

by Bradly Gill | August 4, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Bradly Gill The Ouachita County Quorum Court amended language in an ordinance that would have closed all access points to the Ouachita River, pictured here, when it reached flood stage. That part of the ordinance was stricken, but parts recommended floatation devices and the installation of thrown ring devices remains in the ordinance.

The Ouachita County Quorum Court amended a controversial water safety ordinance and approved a one time $5,000 stipend to all full-time law enforcement officers employed by the county at Tuesday night's Quorum Court meeting.

Language was removed Tuesday evening from Ordinance 2022-15, unofficially known as "Cooper's Law" after 17-year-old Cooper Daugherty, who drowned in the Ouachita River in March. The ordinance originally called for closure of boat ramps along the Ouachita River once it reached a flood stage of 26 feet, but at a subcommittee meeting in July, County Judge McAdoo explained that the County only owned two boat ramps and would not be enable to enact the closures.

The ordinance still recommends personal flotation devices for everyone on the river and calls for the implementation of throwable flotation devices at all public access points including Tate's Bluff, Sandy Beach, Britain, Riverwalk, Frenchport Landing and Spoon Bend.

Signage designating danger levels will also be placed at points along the river.

Justice Dennis Truelove proposed that the ordinance be given a first reading, with the second and third reading to be held at next month's Quorum Court meeting. The proposal passed unanimously.

The Quorum Court then unanimously approved an appropriation of $148,200 in state funds to give a one time $5,000 stipend to Ouachita County Sheriff's deputies.

"This is the governor-approved, one-time stipend of fully ALETA (Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy)(-certified) officers," McAdoo said. "This money comes form the state and it has to be filtered through our budget, so that's why we have to appropriate it."

In 2022, the Arkansas Legislature appropriated Law Enforcement Stipend Grants for fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.

In other business, a resolution authorizing Ouachita County to apply for a $3,167.45 grant from the Association of Arkansas Counties was unanimously approved.

The grant will be used to upgrade the firewall for the Circuit Clerk's office.

Print Headline: Quorum Court strikes boat ramp closures from ‘Cooper’s Law’


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