In 2018, Tawana Bailey was an outsider in a newly created role. Within her first year as community outreach coordinator for the West Memphis Police Department, she was named the city’s employee of the year.
Bailey launched two major initiatives there: Park & Walk, in which officers were told to engage in a positive way with citizens on their beats when crimes weren’t occurring, and #9pmRoutine, which encouraged citizens to lock their vehicles to curtail break-ins.
Last year, Arkansas Business and the Arkansas Municipal League awarded West Memphis the Trendsetter City award for public safety, citing both initiatives.
In 2019, Bailey was asked to do for the whole city what she had done for the Police Department: build a good relationship with the community. She’s been bringing different groups together since then, to tackle shared goals.
Bailey earned her communications degree from Arkansas State University. She worked in Jonesboro for 16 years, first in advertising for the public transit system and then as an insurance adjuster.
She is also president of the local Delta Sigma Theta chapter and a Girl Scouts troop leader.