Fort Smith’s first female officer honored, laid to rest

River Valley News

Pallbearer Officers Shoptaw, Taylor, Abbott, Hendricks, James, and Breedlove participated in the service, all women.

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fort Smith’s first female officer was laid to rest Thursday morning with all-female officers from the Fort Smith Police Department serving as pallbearers.

Carol Hodges, 1975

Carol Ann Hodges, 73, of Van Buren, died Sunday, March 7 at her home. She was born Nov. 2, 1947, in Safford, Arizona.

Hodges was sworn into the Fort Smith Police force by then Fort Smith Police Chief Carl W. Beyer on August 11, 1975.

She was the first female police officer in Fort Smith to pave the way for other women to join the force.

“I, Carl W. Beyer of the City of Fort Smith, Arkansas, by virtue of authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Arkansas, have this day constituted and appointed and do by these presents constitute and appoint him, the said Carol Ann Hodges of the police force of the city of Fort Smith,” a signed 1975 document stated.

She worked in real estate in Fort Smith and the surrounding area in the 1980s and ’90s and retired as a Social Worker helping abused children, teens, and women.

Hodges’ was laid to rest Wednesday, March 10, at Oak Cemetery in Fort Smith.

Pallbearer Officers Shoptaw, Taylor, Abbott, Hendricks, James, and Breedlove participated in the service, all women.

“It was a great honor to be able to send six female officers to the remembrance of Officer Hodges at the request of the family,” Aric Mitchell with Fort Smith police said. “There were not many women wearing a badge in 1975.”

“In our area, Officer Hodges was one of the very first, and she continued to support others in the community after her time here was through,” Mitchell said.

Around 10 percent of Fort Smith sworn officers are women, according to Mitchell.

Memorial contributions for Hodges may be made to Project Compassion.

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