JONESBORO, Ark. – In a scathing editorial penned by Josh Brown, a top Jonesboro business developer who co-owns Haag-Brown Commercial, accusations flew regarding the termination of Rachel Anderson, a celebrated figure within the Jonesboro Police Department’s digital media.
Brown, who acknowledges personal issues with the mayor in the past, unleashed a barrage of criticisms, asserting that Anderson’s firing right before the festive season was a severe blow. Brown also makes it clear that he believes Mayor Harold Copenhaver to be responsible for the decision.
Brown’s Facebook editorial has been shared over 200 times as of this publication. In it, he highlighted Anderson’s accolades, noting her Crimestoppers award as the “Police Officer of the Year” in 2021 and praising her pivotal role in fostering positive community relations through her digital media presence. He vehemently condemned the alleged circumstances of her abrupt dismissal, citing Chief Elliott’s apparent reluctance during the meeting where her termination was discussed.
The social media post asserts that Anderson had no prior warnings or strikes against her, with Brown underlining Chief Elliott’s seemingly forced compliance with the termination in contrast to her work history. Brown’s incendiary words paint a picture of a dysfunctional system, alleging that a group of older men within the city administration bullied a young mother without proper justification.
Moreover, the editorial lambasted the mayor and city administrators for their decision, portraying it as an act stemming from ego and agenda rather than a justifiable cause. Brown’s words, dripping with anger and frustration, emphasized his belief that Anderson’s dismissal was a blatant misuse of power.
Not only that, but Jonesboro’s crime issues were a topic in the post. Brown didn’t shy away from expressing his personal fear either, boldly stating that he’s never felt less safe in Jonesboro, attributing this sentiment to what he perceives as a decline in safety measures under the current city administration.
In an unabashed manner, the editorial directly questioned the mayor’s character, rejecting the notion of him being a “nice guy” and instead painting him as someone who would willfully terminate a new mother right before Christmas for personal reasons.
The editorial concluded by urging readers to delve into the available information, including news articles, recordings, and the termination letter, to form their own conclusions about the situation. Additionally, readers were encouraged to engage with the city council to voice their opinions and concerns.
Fair and Balanced
NEA Report contacted the mayor’s office for comment. Communications Director Bill Campbell said Brown could have reached out to the mayor or the police chief about his concerns on crime but he did not. Campbell said the city is always concerned about crime and is not ignoring that statement, but he added that in the next month, crime statistics will be released for the city that will clear up the discussion. He also briefly mentioned that the mayor and police chief were planning on Christmas shopping patrols with plain clothes officers as well as uniformed officers, to help ensure all out-of-town shoppers feel safe during the holiday shopping season.
“We’ve got so many things we’re working on right now that Josh Brown or a lot of the misinformation going around social media doesn’t hit the radar,” Campbell said. “But it’s clear he has his own personal motivations and we can discuss those another time.”
The mayor’s spokesperson also added that the reason the mayor isn’t responding personally is out of respect for the institution of the office he holds.
Read the Original
The original post is visible on Facebook and we have embedded it below. It has been updated several times, including with a link to the audio recording obtained by NEA Report of the termination meeting. With permission from Brown, we are republishing the full text below:
Jonesboro’s mayor just fired a new mother right before Christmas. This wasn’t just a new mother, it was Rachel Anderson, the face of Jonesboro Police Department’s digital media that has grown a following of over 70,000. The “Police Officer of the Year” by crime stoppers in 2021. She has helped build a bridge between the police and the citizens of Jonesboro and has worked diligently for the detectives and officers of JPD to solve crimes. I do not know Rachel personally, but I know many people she has helped with crimes against them or with insurance stuff etc… She took calls on maternity leave just to help colleagues and friends in need. She is a phenomenal employee. Chief Elliott praised her work in the meeting in which she was being fired. I listened to it and it DID NOT sound like he wanted to do what he was being made to do. She had no warnings or strikes against her. The crime index score in Jonesboro is out of control at no fault of JPD. We haven’t had a fully staffed police department in years. And you fire one of your most valuable employees because they dare to speak in public? And he didn’t even do it himself. He made someone make someone fire her. A bunch of older men bullying a young lady is infuriating to me as a father. Rachel went from employee of the year to unemployed without insurance for her and her newborn right before the holidays.
So, what did she do to get fired? She spoke at a public city council forum about a proposed new crime center. A forum specifically held for the public to give comments on projects being proposed by our mayor. She questioned one of the projects being proposed. That’s it. Literally. She thought it was the right place to give her input. She was off the clock and was not in uniform. She identified herself and gave her home address. She explained to the council her concerns in under 3 minutes and quickly sat down. She was polite, factual, and didn’t criticize the mayor nor any other city employee. She runs the crime center in question, so one would think her opinion is relevant. She had reached out to the mayors office repeatedly to visit and could not get time with them. When she asked for their reasoning, city administrators said the termination was for “unprofessionalism” and “disrespectful” but in the same breath spoke on her overwhelming popularity both inside and outside the government.
Where is the grace? I know I need it all the time. I mess up. We all do. Where is the decency? Where is the gratitude for years of service and helping solve hundreds of crimes.
Full Disclosure: Anyone who has worked with me in the last year knows I am frustrated with the city’s leadership. I have pleaded for many changes in the mayor’s office. It feels less safe in Jonesboro today than at any point in my life. We are not trending in the right direction by any measurable standard. I am scared property values are going to fall like a rock if we do not acknowledge it and do something quick. I’ve never heard a person disagree with me about the mayor on these things. What I have heard is that, “he is a nice guy.” A man who does this to a new mother right before Christmas because she affected his ego or agenda is not a nice guy.