LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Jefferson County has enacted a policy that prevents deputies from going to bars and night clubs when they are off-duty.
"We've had mixed feelings about this," said Lafayette Woods of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.
A new controversial policy is in place in Jefferson County after the sheriff received numerous calls from concerned citizens about deputies frequenting bars and night clubs.
"The policy was not to infringe on anybody rights," Woods said.
Off-duty deputies are no longer allowed to go to bars and nightclubs within Jefferson County lines, but Pine Bluff residents don't think it's fair.
"I don't think their off time should be regulated," said Virgil Wesley, a Jefferson County resident.
"You ought to be able to drink or do whatever you want to do if you're off duty," added another resident. No one THV 11 spoke with in Jefferson County agreed with any portion of the policy.
Wesley continued, "If I'm off duty, I ought to be able to carry myself in a manner that's acceptable to the department."
Wesley went as far to say he thinks it will actually lower morale within the department. He said, "When morale is down, you're not going to do a job effectively."
But, the sheriff's department said if regulations aren't put into place, a conflict of interest could arise.
"When the very people we're arresting on Monday and Tuesday morning through the week, yet Friday and Saturday night we're out mingling with these individuals, it's not a good practice," explained Wesley.
Woods said law enforcement and public safety workers are to be held to a higher standard because of the position they hold in the community.
"Depending on what you're doing and who you're with and who you're surrounding yourself with, that can reflect negatively sometime on your professionalism," Woods continued.
As long as these deputies are working for Jefferson County, they will be considering where they go and who they fraternize with not only when they are wearing this uniform, but even when they're off the clock.