Fairfield Bay may be known as a relatively quiet resort and retirement community, but its public safety department is anything but sleepy.
Home to 2,338 full time residents and many part timers, Fairfield Bay is on the north shore of Greers Ferry Lake in the Ozark foothills. The 40,000-acre stocked lake is popular for fishing, water skiing and boating, and the resort operates a full-service marina, and Fairfield Bay Resort’s two 18-hole championship golf courses have been sites for numerous state PGA tournaments.
The small community has one of the most complete, rural public safety departments in the state, consisting of a police department, fire department, emergency medical service and its own 911 dispatch center. All of this reflects on Fairfield Bay’s commitment to investing in the community’s safety and well-being.
By late 2018 alone, the police department’s staff of seven full-time officers had made 264 traffic stops, answered 93 disturbance calls, 54 alarm calls, 144 rescue calls and 895 public service calls. Fairfield Bay’s police department has also covered 30 accidents, assisted other agencies 50 times and covered 29,730 miles while conducting official patrols.
In addition to the seven full-time officers, Fairfield Bay has recruited and certified eight volunteer reserve officers to assist the department.
“We have also certified five trained offers that can teach courses to surrounding area officers in law enforcement such as firearm safety, criminal investigation and instructor development,” said Fairfield Bay Mayor Paul Wellenberger. “Not only has this made us one of the most highly trained and efficient police forces, it also saves us offsite training dollars.”
But the job doesn’t stop there. Police officers in Fairfield Bay are committed to giving back to their community in a variety of ways. The department hosts an annual bicycle safety rodeo. Every child that participates is given a new bicycle helmet, and if they don’t have a bike they are given one.
Officers also provide a vacation watch program and will patrol residents’ homes while they are away.
The 911 operators in Fairfield Bay also remained busy in 2018. By late in the year they had logged more than 3,629 calls in the operations unit alone. Fairfield Bay’s assistance during 911 calls has ranged from helping a mother deliver a baby at a gas station to giving CPR instructions while waiting for ambulances to arrive.
In addition, two dispatch operators participated in a tactical dispatch class in Bentonville designed to train operators in a command center/active shooter scenario.
The community’s fire department consists of a fire chief and assistant fire chief along with 42 trained volunteers. There are three stations around town along with a fleet of firefighting vehicles.
The firefighters are constantly undergoing training. In addition, the department conducts fire safety classes for the community. The officers are often speakers at the Rotary Club, chamber of commerce and numerous church groups.
Fairfield Bay’s EMS department is one of the most actively trained in the state. It offers college-level training through a cooperative agreement with North Arkansas University. The Fairfield Bay EMT training has become so well known that personnel come from different cities to take classes.
“In summary, the Fairfield Bay Public Safety Department, manned mostly by highly trained volunteers, is one of the most efficient, highly trained, community-minded departments in the entire state, regardless of size,” Wellenberger said.
"If that isn’t enough, many of the personnel also volunteer with the other departments in the Fairfield Bay Public Safety Department. They make Fairfield Bay a ‘Great Place to Love’ and to visit.”