Public Safety Trendsetter
Batesville’s recent acknowledgment with the 2017 Trendsetter Award for Public Safety, which it competed for among communities of up to 20,000 across Arkansas, comes after several years of increased attention for local and state-wide outreach in public safety. The relatively new Batesville Police Department formed, in addition to the county’s existing agency, to expand and improve upon what was already being done. Local organizations partnered with the police to provide vital support by fundraising and generating free programs for the public. These innovative and cooperative efforts continue to draw acclaim from outside the district as Batesville becomes a leader in law enforcement and impacts communities beyond Independence County.
The Batesville Police Department aimed for high visibility when launching the force in 2015, with a focus on fostering positive interaction in the community. The department hoped to not only target crime in the area, but to connect with citizens to find out the issues on their minds, to provide learning opportunities, and to pave the way for community members to feel involved and informed. The BPD set up officers to patrol in cars, on bikes, and by foot, as well as designating specialized investigators. They offered opportunities for citizens to participate in a ride along program or to act as volunteer officers for events. Among its efforts to advance care for the public, Batesville became a forerunner city by requiring on-duty officers to carry trauma kits for emergencies, which include NARCAN spray, a drug that has reversed overdoses multiple times in the city since the implementation of the policy.