(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Public Works/Environmental and Green Management
Winner • 5,000-20,000
Mayor: Scott Byrd
Arkadelphia’s “Cop Walk” program is the brainchild of police chief Jason Jackson, who initially ordered the daily police presence in schools because of the lack of resource officers in the district and has kept the order standing even after the shortage was addressed.
In 2019, Arkadelphia was facing a lack of school resource officers within its district while wanting to increase school safety and Arkadelphia Police Department familiarity among students, building positive relationships by allowing students to see police officers as allies and friends. Improved police relations that begin when students are young can provide benefits in fighting crime and providing tips to the police department.
The Arkadelphia School District has 1,786 students in the current school year with a student teacher ratio of 13:1.
The Arkadelphia Police Department’s “Cop Walk” program mandates that a different officer once a day walks the halls of one of the district’s five schools. The program allows students and police to forge relationships and for officers to gain intimate knowledge of the school campuses and personnel, which could be helpful in the event of trouble. Full patrol units are now required to walk through each school at least once a year.