Searching For The Next Fort Smith Chief Of Police

FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- With the resignation of Fort Smith Police Chief Nathaniel Clark many are already wondering who will fill his shoes.

City leaders say Clark is a good measure for what the city is looking for as they begin to interview people to fill that crucial seat.

They say in his brief time as the chief Nathaniel Clark was able to accomplish a lot.

In 2018, Clark was among eight Arkansas police chiefs nominated for Chief of the Yearby the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police.

Mayor George McGill says Clark's professionalism, career, and engagement with the community are qualities the city is looking for in the next chief.

"We`re looking for someone who knows how to build a professional police force, maintain one, that is focused on community policing. Policing in a manner where we have low contact rate with those citizens that they may come in contact with," said McGill.

The mayor says the next chief will help make police officers a part of the fabric of the community.

"Viewed as the protecting force and a friend and so we want someone to make sure that our police department continues in a fashion where it`s embedded into the community," said McGill.

The next step in the process will be announcing an interim police chief and to begin searching for Clark's replacement. The city's administrator says they will be using a hired firm in the search for a new police chief.

"What`s important about that is that we will be going out for a nationwide search. Fort Smith deserves the best that it can hire and doing a nationwide search does achieve that goal," said Carl Geffken, Fort Smith City Administrator.

In the meantime, Mcgill says the city wishes Clark the very best.

"I`m not surprised that someone would pluck him from our city. We have to make sure that when we get good people, that make a good difference, that we do all we can to keep them," said McGill.

Thursday, the board of directors will start discussing the appointment of interim police chief at a meeting.

Geffken says one will officially be named about a week before the chief's last day on April 8.

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