The search for a new Fort Smith Police Chief has been narrowed to three candidates, with interim Police Chief Danny Baker making that short list.
Nathaniel Clark, the city’s first African American chief, announced March 27 he was leaving the post for another police job in the Atlanta area. Clark stepped into the Fort Smith chief police job on Jan. 7, 2017. Baker took over the interim role on April 8.
Interviews for the three finalists for police chief are set for Sept. 16. The finalists are Andrew Harvey of Palestine, Texas, Alice Fulk of Little Rock and Baker.
According to an Associated Press report when Harvey was named as a finalist for the Pharr, Texas, police chief search, the Palestine police chief is a native of the Texas Rio Grande Valley and was employed by the Dallas Police Department from 1996 to 2017. While in that position, he rose to the rank of lieutenant. He was named the police chief of the Palestine Police Department in August 2017, a position he still holds.
Assistant Police Chief Alice Fulk is a 26 year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department, the city’s website states. A native of Little Rock, she joined the city’s police department in 1992, becoming the city’s first female assistant police chief in 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a master’s degree in human resource management from Webster University.
Baker, an 18-year veteran of the FSPD, was named the interim chief following former Chief Nathaniel Clark’s resignation, which was effective April 8. Baker, 46, is an 18 year veteran of the Fort Smith Police Department. His duties with the force have included special operations captain, narcotic unit supervisor, street crimes unit supervisor, detective, and field training officer.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2008 and captain in 2016, prior to Clark’s arrival and establishment of the lieutenant position. In October 2018, Baker became the first FSPD Officer to achieve the rank of deputy chief.
In late July, City Administrator Carl Geffken said many people had expressed their opinion that Baker would be the best candidate for the position, but the position deserves a thorough search.
“Chief Baker has done an excellent job. However, like all critical senior executive positions in the City of Fort Smith, the city deserves the best candidate to be appointed, and that can only be done through a nationwide search,” he said.
The FSPD has just short of 160 uniformed officers and 42 staff members.
The city also has vacancies in the director of finance, director of development services and director of streets & traffic control positions.