Meet the candidates: Fort Smith Police Chief


FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — Three candidates vying to become police chief made their pitch to city leaders on Monday.

The top candidates are Little Rock Assistant Police Chief Alice Fulk, Palestine, Texas Police Chief Andy Harvey Jr., and Fort Smith Interim Police Chief Danny Baker.

Fulk is a 27-year police veteran.

She has served as the Little Rock Assistant Police Chief for the the last four and a half years, and Interim Chief of Police for two months in 2018.

“It helps that I come from the largest municipal agency in the capital city,” she said. “I have learned plenty of community policing methods in Little Rock. I’ve seen the partnerships and I’ve seen how productive that can be. That’s something I would like to jump in and immediately start.”

Harvey junior hails from east Texas, serving as the Palestine Chief of Police for the past two years. He spent 21 years at the Dallas Police Department.

“I feel like I can take on a bigger challenge,” Harvey said. “Part of my career from Dallas to east Texas has prepared me for a city this size, and I think it fits me better.”

Danny Baker has served as the Fort Smith Interim Chief of Police since April 2019.

He’s been with the department since July 2001 where he began as an officer.

“I intend to be here for considerably longer, and I want to be sure the investment that’s being made is in this community is the right investment,” Baker said. “I’m really trying to lay the groundwork for us to continue progressing and moving forward in the direction that we’ve been moving. Jail diversion is just one of those topics, crisis intervention. There’s a lot of things we’ve been working on behind the scenes.”

Fort Smith is the second largest city in the state.

The police department made up of 164 sworn officers and 54 non-sworn staff members.

FSPD was most recently under fire for the questionable conduct of one of its dispatchers who was on the phone with Debbie Stevens moments before her drowning.

An internal investigation into its policies, responses, and dispatch center is still ongoing.

“I’m constantly submitting things to my staff that we need to make sure we’re looking into, things we are considering. We were in that process and began that process within just a couple of days of that tragic incident,” Baker said.

When asked about the incident, Harvey says, “from what I saw, I do believe the police department could have handled it a little differently, a little better. I’m not criticizing to criticize. In times of crisis, we need to know how to manage those.”

“If here, definitely that would be something that I would want to review immediately,” Fulk said.

City Administrator Carl Geffken will make the final decision with input by the city Board of Directors.

There is no timeline for when this decision will be made.

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