Carroll County, Ark. Sheriff candidate speaks out after being fired by Centerton Police Department

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:02 PM CDT
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BERRYVILLE, Ark. (KY3) - Matthew Dunham, one of five candidates running for the office of Carroll County Sheriff, was fired last week from his job with the Centerton Police Department.

In a post to his campaign’s Facebook page, Dunham said he was fired on Tuesday, April 19.

“I want to take a moment and let everyone know, on the 19th of this month I was terminated from the Centerton Police Department,” Dunham’s Facebook post says. “The reasoning for my termination was for driving my patrol car to and from work while living outside of the take home limit.”

Dunham, a Berryville native, spoke with KY3 about his recent termination.

”I was terminated. I made a decision to drive my patrol vehicle home and it was against policy, and they terminated me as a result of it,” he said. “I don’t have excuses, I’m not trying to make anything up to try and justify my actions. I have no animosity against my department at all. They did what they felt was necessary and I accept the consequences for my actions.”

Dunham has been in law enforcement 17 years. He says that fact speaks more on his character than recent events. A father of six, he drove his patrol vehicle after he says his personal one broke down for the third time recently.

”It was one of those deals, either go to work or don’t go to work and I chose to go to work,” said Dunham.

Dunham hopes people realize this decision doesn’t hinder his ability to potentially serve as sheriff.

“The situation I just came out of is one that I created and I understand that,” said Dunham. “But I also understand when a working man or women is going through hard times, going by the letter of the law isn’t what you have to do. Sometimes going by the spirit of the law, having a little compassion and understanding, is the best way to approach it.”

Dunham and several other sheriff candidates were in attendance for a political forum Thursday, hosted at the Cresent Hotel in Eureka Springs. All but one candidate gathered for the forum.

That candidate, Robert Kennedy, was arrested Monday following an altercation with family members, which has him now facing multiple felony charges.

”I would think people would be smart enough not to vote for somebody with those ethics,” said one Carroll County resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

As sheriff candidates continue to make headlines, the current Carroll County Sheriff, James Ross, does not wish to make any comment about the upcoming race. Sheriff Ross announced his retirement after nearly two decades in law enforcement, the last four spent as county sheriff.

“Whoever does win, I hope they appreciate what we are leaving them,” said Sheriff Ross. “I cannot overstate my appreciation for the men and women who are quite loyal to this office.”

The office of Carroll County Sheriff is up for a vote in the May 24 Republican preferential primary.

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