February 25, 2015 Edition

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Kirksey named WRPD chief

Chris Kirksey (left) receives his chief's badge from Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp on Thursday at City Hall. Captain Kirksey was promoted to WRPD chief after about a month-long search. Officer Bubba Blackwood was also a candidate and has been promoted to head the new drug interdiction department.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Chris Kirksey has been named the new Walnut Ridge Police chief. Mayor Charles Snapp presented him with his badge on Thursday at City Hall.

"I feel blessed, honored and excited about this opportunity," Kirksey said. "I feel like we're going to achieve great things."

Kirksey was one of two final candidates alongside WRPD officer Bubba Blackwood. Snapp said when deciding who should take over as chief, he spoke with former and current WRPD officers, city department heads and employees of the 911 Communications Center.

"Through the process of all that, people would brag on both officers. They would speak of Kirksey's leadership and Blackwood's ability to work narcotics," Snapp said. "I felt it was a message I couldn't overlook."

Snapp decided to use both officers' talents so, in addition to naming Kirksey as chief, he also announced the new drug interdiction department within the police department, which will be headed up by Blackwood.

Kirksey and Blackwood said they are both pleased with their positions within the department.

"It's a necessity for the city to combat drug crimes and I'm honored that Mayor Snapp selected me for this position," Blackwood said.

The drug interdiction department is just one of the changes being made within the department. Snapp also announced that the department will be looking into acquiring new tasers and requiring its officers to be certified through an in-house taser class.

Kirksey said he is going to run an efficient and effective department and is looking forward to working with his officers.

"I think we have a great staff and I couldn't feel better about them," he said.

Kirksey grew up in Walnut Ridge and is a graduate of Walnut Ridge High School. He attended the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camden and graduated in 1999.

He has 17 years experience in law enforcement and has held supervisor positions at two law enforcement agencies. He has worked in the WRPD for about a year and was previously a captain.

He and his wife, Amanda, live in Walnut Ridge with their son, Trent Kirksey, who is a senior at Hoxie High School.

Glendal Floyd has served as interim chief since the former chief, Richy Thatcher, resigned on Jan. 20. Snapp thanked Floyd for his service.

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