Non-Binding Resolution Could Ask Civil Service Commission To Overturn Fort Smith Police Officer Hiring Policy

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- On Tuesday ( June 6) a non-binding resolution will be presented to Fort Smith Board of Directors.

The resolution, if at least four members vote to move it forward, will ask the Fort Smith Police Department's Civil Service Commission to overturn a decision they made at the end of May. That decision denied the Fort Smith Police Chief, Nathaniel Clark his request to hire external applicants.

Currently, any position with the rank of Sergeant or higher is filled from within the Fort Smith Police Department.

As expressed in public emails, City Director Mike Lorenz said if the resolution does not send a clear message to the Civil Service Commission other options may be explored.

"My preference is that we let the Chief operate his department and run his department as he sees fit, within the compounds of what the city expects from our department head," Lorenz said.

On the other side of this issue is the Fraternal Order of Police representing a portion of Fort Smith Police employees who said they don't want outside officers who haven't put in the time or know department rules and regulations to be hired over them.

F.O.P. member Jeff Taylor called it a morale killer. "You have to be here five years to test for Sergeant. So, you got guys five and six years into their career and they start testing then all of a sudden someone from some Arkansas P.D. applies and gets promoted over him," said Taylor, "what does that do for our morale?"

Fort Smith Board of Directors are expected to vote on the resolution June 6.

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