Thursday, March 19, 2009



Dear Citizens:

I have had many queries since the purse snatching incident at our local Wal*Mart Store 714. It is unfortunate that any crime is ever committed and the police are investigating the purse snatching as a robbery. However, the bigger issue for most of you is the rumor about gang initiation.

I am aware of emails being circulated advising you to be on high alert. My advice is the same. This alert is not connected so much with the Wal*Mart incident or the rumor but the simple fact that we no longer live in a time where we can take safety for granted. We must manage our safety. We should take every precaution including being accompanied whenever we can by a person of trust. We should not leave valuables within plain sight in our vehicles. We should not leave our vehicles unlocked. We should avoid displaying large denominations of money or just displaying cash at all. Finally, we should not hesitate to alert the police department. Every second counts. Each second counts for the victim if the police are quickly notified and dispatched. However, each second counts for the criminal, if there is any delay in getting the police involved.

Police have the best opportunity to resolve crimes when there is a fresh pursuit and before the criminal stashes the evidence or creates an alibi.

Because our police department is concerned, we have ramped up our presence at Wal*Mart. We doing regular routine rounds through the store and parking lot. The Chief and Assistant Chief have or will be present at Wal*Mart to assist with these patrols. We are doing this because the purse snatching mixed with the rumor has struck fear in the hearts of minds of so many of our citizens. Therefore, we are acting out of an abundance of caution to try to assure the safety of everyone.

Below is a paraphrased internal memo from Wal*Mart:

There have been a number of threat incidents reported
 across the country since yesterday that refer to a potential
 threat of violence involving a Walmart Store.  The threats
 vary from referencing gang initiation ceremonies to the
 mention of shootings or other violent threats that will
 occur at a Walmart store.  Some messages have been received
 by associates and customers through the text messaging and
 other text messages have been intercepted intercepted by
 police.  They have occurred in the Midwest, Southeast and
 Northeast.  None of the threats have been acted out and we
 have reason to believe this is an 'urban myth'.

 The Analytical Research Team looked into the matter and
 found that a website, "",  validates
 that these types of threats are false and have no factual
 basis. Please see the email and website attached.

 Please use the link below to find out more information
 regarding this issue. is a very good website
 that will either validate or quash rumors or "urban
 myths."  Snopes has declared this rumor to be false and
 provides detailed background information, to include the
 origin of the rumor.  While this bit of information notes
 that the initiation for the potential gang member involves
 killing a boy or girl at a Walmart, there are many other
 versions that are nearly identical or very similar (kill a
 woman and a small child, kill African American females,

This myth has been circulating for years in many
 different formats and is often spread quickly before anyone
 has had time to research the issue.  If you need any further
 information please do not hesitate to contact me.

I have read the article on I have read the history. The information on there is current to today's date. I believe it and believe that it is reliable.

Remember, the gang initiation rumor is FALSE. However, you must continue to be vigilant by being good and watchful neighbors. Together we can protect each other from the criminal element.

Feel free to contact our police chief, Colonel  Fred Fielder or his assistant, Major Ronald Scott for more information.

Fred Fielder, (870)714-1449 Cell,, Email
Ronald Scott, (870)995-1010 cell,, Email

Here is contact information on other city officials:

City Administration-Council-and-Department Heads


James F. Valley
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