Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Thinning Blue Line

The Arkansas State Police announced this week that they will hold a town hall style meeting for individuals who may be considering a career with the state’s largest law enforcement agency. It will be January 15th in Springdale, at the Historic Springdale High School building, 804 West Johnson Street.

They are running low on troopers, it seems. Last year, Trooper Larry Norman took medical retirement after killing Erin Hamley. Just last month, Colonel Winford Phillips
removed Trooper Thomas Weindruch from enforcement duty and ordered him not to wear the uniform of the department during an internal affairs investigation for inappropriate and hostile behavior in arresting a reporter on the bogus charge of obstructing a governmental operation. Then yesterday, Trooper Brian Garrett was arrested in Benton County for three felonies -- aggravated assault and battery in the second degree for allegedly shoving the muzzle of his duty revolver against his wife’s face and alleged misuse of the Arkansas Crime Information Center to conduct a background check on his ex-wife's boyfriend.

As many as 50 new troopers need to be hired, but it will be difficult to find qualified candidates who can meet the rigorous screening process. An applicant must be at least 21 years of age, a high school graduate or possess an equivalency certificate, have a valid driver license issued in their name, and be capable of passing a written examination, physical fitness test, background investigation, medical and psychological examinations, polygraph examination, and department interview board. Even then, some bad apples might slip through.

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