Residents of Barling and officers throughout Sebastian County are mourning the death Barling Police Chief Marshall Tracy Powell.
Chief Powell died of cancer Sunday night at Sparks Hospital, according to Barling City Administrator Ray Caruthers. He worked for the city longer than anyone else, according to Caruthers.
The Greenwood Police Department posted the following statement on their public Facebook page Monday morning.
"Please pray for the Powell family as Chief Tracy Powell lost his battle with cancer last night."
Greenwood Police Chief Will Dawson posted the following statement on his Facebook Sunday night:
"Thoughts and prayers with the Powell family and our brothers at Barling PD. Tracy was one of the best and most dependable officers I know. Rest in peace brother."
Lt. Darrel Miner is filling the role as acting police chief. Chief Powell had been battling bone cancer for the past two months, according to Lt. Miner.
Chief Powell began working for the city of Barling in May 1994 as a dispatcher. He was a key supporter of the Drug Task Force and helped battle the distribution of drugs in both Sebastian and Crawford counties.
Chief Dawson recalled working with Chief Powell years ago to get drugs off the streets.
"Back in those years we were working numerous meth labs. I knew Tracy was one of those guys that you could count on to call whenever you needed help," said Chief Dawson.
Powell was appointed chief in November 2008. As chief, he is credited with keeping the police department up-to-date with the latest technology and equipment, according to Lt. Miner.
Chief Dawson says relations between the Greenwood Police Department and the Barling Department improved under Chief Powell's watch.
"We knew Barling was a department you could count on to call if we needed help."
“Chief Powell was respected and loved by all his brothers in Law Enforcement and the community,” Lt. Miner said in a statement released Monday. “He was dedicated to law enforcement and the Barling Police Department.”
Lt. Miner said the chief was more than just a supervisor to those he worked with.
“Chief Powell was the one when you needed him no matter what he was doing or where he was, he would be there for you,” Lt. Miner said. “He helped and changed a lot of people’s lives during his career.”
An avid hunter and fisherman, Powell recently married Kyla Payton on Sept. 15, according to Miner.
“He loved his family and loved spending time with them,” Lt. Miner said.
Barling Police Investigator Jerry Foley says Chief Powell will be remembered for his personality and how he was respected by members of the police department and the Barling community.
“He took care of his guys and took care of his city," said Investigator Foley. "He was well loved.”
"He's going to be hard to replace," said Chief Dawson.
Chief Powell's funeral will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at St. Boniface Church on North B Street in Fort Smith with a burial to follow at 11 a.m. at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. Visitation will be held Tuesday, Nov. 20 from 5-7 p.m. at the church. A rosary service will be held at 7 p.m.
A memorial has been set up at the Cooper Cancer Care Center in Chief Powell’s honor.
Donations can be made:
Attn: Joyce Long
P.O. Box 3528
Fort Smith, AR 72913