Message From Sheriff Tim Ryals
Since taking office in 2017, I have been an advocate of integrity, professionalism, and transparency. I hold my deputies and investigators to the highest of standards to protect and serve the residents of our community.
On Tuesday I was notified of a use of force incident that occurred on November 9, 2020, involving Investigator James Freeman. The incident occurred at 76 Autumn Hills Road where Investigator Freeman fired his service weapon at an animal. Investigator Freeman was doing a compliance check on a registered sex offender, and went to the property listed as the subject's address. There are several mobile homes at the 76 Autumn Hills Road address that are not distinguishable by letter or number. Upon arrival, a juvenile female informed Investigator Freeman that the sex offender lived next door to her. Investigator Freeman approached the mobile home, and a dog came from under the building and started barking and growling. Investigator Freeman told the dog to get back. The dog then went back under the mobile home after being called by his owner from behind the mobile home. Investigator Freeman began to walk towards the back of the mobile home. However, after taking a few steps, the dog approached him more aggressively. Investigator Freeman was placed in an unfortunate situation with his back against the mobile home and no way to escape the dog. He again told the dog to get back and the dog lunged at him. As a result, Investigator Freeman deployed his weapon on the animal.
At my request, Faulkner County Investigators have been working diligently over the last week to determine whether or not Investigator Freeman violated any state law and/or our agency's policies and procedures. During that time, Investigators spoke with multiple witnesses who stated the dog had a history of acting aggressively towards humans.
After a thorough investigation, we have concluded that no policies or laws were violated. We, in law enforcement, answer calls every day that require split-second, life and death decisions. We strive to be right 100 percent of the time. Our Department is saddened by this unfortunate incident and sincerely apologize for any distress it may have caused.