Feelings about the Village Compliance Department tend to run the full gamut of the spectrum from love to hate. The Compliance Department is tasked with code enforcement which is all about protecting property values and quality of life in the Village.
The Hot Springs Village Compliance Department is overseen by Charlie Brown, Director of Compliance & Contract Management, who has a big task in running this department and he deals with a wide range of issues and has over 500 plus miles of roadway, 26,000 acres, and 10,000 homes to cover.
Brown said, “everybody knows how we help protect the property values, and that is enforcing our Protective Covenants, General Rules and Regulations, and other governing documents.”
“We protect member’s investments, in the sense that is deed protection – value protection,” added Brown
When a Villager is found doing something that does not comply with the Village rules and regulations, they are notified by the Compliance Department that the situation needs to be remedied. If remediation does not occur, a possible fine may be levied. When that happens to someone, it is understandable that sometimes the rule violator may not consider the Compliance Department, their best friend.
Most often, it is business as usual in Brown’s division or just “Another Day in the Neighborhood.” But sometimes, something out of the ordinary occurs.
There are times when the Compliance Division encounters something different. On Monday, September 26, 2022, that is exactly what happened when Compliance Investigator, Tom Benfield, was out on the job. He was driving along and happened to notice a cane lying in the middle of the road. As this indicated there could be a potential problem, Benfield stopped to pick up the cane. He noticed one of the homes had the garage door open. At first, he thought the cane had been placed on the car and had fallen off when the individual backed out of the garage. Leaning the cane up against the garage door, he returned to his vehicle. At this point, he noticed the top of a golf cart in a ravine off the side of the road. He thought maybe someone ran their golf cart off of the road and probably returned home to elicit help in the rescue of the cart.
The investigator approached the cart on foot and noticed there was a female in her early 80s lying on the ground by the cart. Quickly, Benfield checked for a pulse and signs of breathing. Of interest, Benfield is also a skilled Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Benfield said, “In my opinion, she was deceased.” Benfield called 911. The authorities investigated and also determined that the lady was deceased.
Benfield suspected she had been lying there, unseen, for approximately one and a half to two hours. “Nobody really knows. The neighbor had last seen her taking out her garbage can about three hours prior,” stated the officer.
Speculating from the analysis of the scene, “they think the cane probably fell out of her golf cart, and then when she turned the golf cart around to pick it up, she probably turned too wide and went off into the ravine,” Benfield shared.
According to a neighbor, the lady rarely drove the golf cart and was not an adept golf cart driver.
Benfield said this was a shocking occurrence. “Your adrenaline gets going, and you start thinking, ‘what can I do? What should I do first? It was a rough morning,'” explained the investigator.
In addition to the above incident, there was also another situation that happened on Saturday, November 5, 2022. Benfield said, “I was out in the neighborhoods doing my job. Benfield is scheduled to work one weekend day a month. “I was glad I was working that day because I came across a man with his dog, lying down in the street, obviously in distress.”
Benfield asked the man if he was okay, and he said, “well, I just can’t get up.”
“The man had a laceration on his hand that bled quite a bit on the road. Responding to Benfield’s offer to call an ambulance, the man said, “No, don’t call one.”
Benfield said, “What can I do for you?”
The man said, “Just help me get up and help me get home.”
After helping the man get up and into Benfield’s POA vehicle, the investigator took the man to his home and inquired as to what else he could do to help make sure he was safe.
The man answered, “no, I am just fine now that I am home.”
Benfield notified his supervisors, Charlie Brown and Larry Thomas, HSVPOA Code Enforcement Supervisor. The supervisors instructed Benfield to notify the Hot Springs Village Police Department for a welfare check on the man. This check was done about an hour later.
The man estimated he had been lying in the road, unnoticed, for approximately ten minutes.
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By Cheryl Dowden