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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
The COPS Office is pleased to feature the Arkansas State Police as a 2020 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest. The winning photo captures a spontaneous moment between Trooper Jerry Oglesby and one-year-old Aubrey Wright, who was interested in the trooper’s shiny badge.
On March 19, 2020, the Arkansas State Police (ASP) celebrated its 85th anniversary of protecting the lives, property, and constitutional rights of Arkansas residents. The organization’s jurisdiction covers the state’s 53,179 square miles of diverse geography, ranging from the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges to dense forestland and the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.
The ASP currently upholds this large undertaking with 558 troopers and 440 civilian employees, under the Arkansas Department of Public Safety. To reach its various communities, the ASP is divided into twelve troops—A through L—stationed throughout the state. “Each troop has its own special relationship with the community they serve, as the counties in Arkansas are incredibly different,” said Corporal Elizabeth Chapman.
Within each troop, there is a main community affairs trooper, tasked with leading community affairs efforts and ensuring fellow troopers are involved. “We have a team of troopers around the state that are focused on public relations and community policing, but every single trooper within the Arkansas State Police knows their job is not only to protect the public, but also to make them aware of our presence—and that we are here for them.” The ASP troopers understand “that every single interaction with the public is an opportunity to change the outcome of a [person’s] day, week, or sometimes even their lives.”
The ASP prides itself on its commitment to each and every citizen. “Every day we put on our uniforms: the vest, the belt, the boots, the big hat, but most importantly, the badge. It stands for everything we represent, everything we vowed to uphold and protect.”
The badge represents the ASP’s main principles: Honor, respect, integrity, duty, and excellence. Those core values are “the backbone of everything [ASP] does.” These values are instilled during a strenuous training process at the ASP’s Troop School. “[Our] Troop School is known across the country as one of the hardest recruit schools,” said Chapman. “For 21 weeks, the recruits of the Arkansas State Police are pushed to their limits physically, mentally and emotionally to prepare them for the career of a lifetime—to protect the state and the people they love.”
The winning photo was taken during a filming for the Troop School’s recruitment video. Trooper Jerry Oglesby was waiting to film a scene when he met one-year-old Aubrey Wright. The little girl saw the shiny flash of his badge and wanted to investigate. “She made it known very quickly that [the badge] looked appetizing,” said Chapman. “It was one of those moments that made you stop and stare, and we were lucky enough to have caught it on camera.”
“Behind the badge lies not only the heart of a servant, but the heart of a human being who loves the community they serve. The heart of a trooper is protected by the badge. The heart of the community is protected by our troopers.”
Written with contributions from Corporal Elizabeth Chapman of the Arkansas State Police. Photo Courtesy of the Arkansas State Police.
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