In a profession strongly dominated by men, it takes strong, assertive and commanding women to take on a career in law enforcement. Officer Kristi Bennett embodies each one of these words, and over the years she has proven to be an asset not only to Texarkana Arkansas Police Department but to the entire community of Texarkana.
Officer Bennett said growing up, she always knew she would end up in law enforcement though it was never fully acknowledged by her family until she went to the police academy. “I have a long background history of family members in law enforcement. I always knew that I was going to do that even though I was the only female, I don’t think it was taken seriously until I got out of college and joined the police academy and got on with TAPD. I’m very blessed and fortunate to have such a great job,” said Bennett.
Bennett’s career began 12 years ago when she joined Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, a job which has allowed her to reach the community in different ways and become a positive influence to everyone she comes in contact with. “I’ve been in the agency for a total of 12 years. I handle any media relations, and I also deal with all of the community outreach programs,” explained Bennett.
Texarkana Arkansas Police Department and Officer Kristi Bennett have demonstrated admirable efforts in reaching out to the community, specifically youth and being exceptionally proactive in designing programs to impact the young lives of the community. “We know that in Texarkana, Arkansas by getting in with children and the youth of our community and making a positive impact, it will make for citizens of Texarkana to be better down the road. That is a long term goal that TAPD has, that is the way we can decrease the crime rate over the years, it’s by being involved with the youth,” said Bennett.
Like any profession, law enforcement comes with challenges and rewards, though Bennett’s career has proven to have far more pro’s than con’s as she’s been able to experience incredible support from her community, alongside her colleagues, who work diligently to bring safety and support to the community of Texarkana. “The biggest challenge is that almost all law enforcement officers face is the negativity surrounded with the job and how you’re perceived in the community. I think in Texarkana, the community support for law enforcement is extremely rare, we have a great outpouring of support from the community towards law enforcement,” explained Officer Bennett.
Bennett went on to say the rewards of her career sometimes come often, and sometimes the payoff is simply knowing they made someone else’s life better by offering them safety or the help they desperately needed. “The rewards of the job are sometimes daily, sometimes monthly, sometimes on a certain situation never. Obviously taking people to jail is the biggest negativity, but it’s very rewarding to come in contact with someone who needs us, and being able to help them, and then years down the road see what we’ve made a difference in their life.”
Officer Bennett strives every day to do her job to the best of her ability, always alert and mindful of those that count on her to bring justice and peace; working in a field that is mostly dominated by males has allowed her to push her boundaries.
As a woman in law enforcement, Bennett explains the qualities a woman must possess in order to be successful in this field of work. “Texarkana Arkansas Police Department has a strength of 84, and we have 10 ladies that are police officers. We have had more join in the past four years than I’ve seen since I’ve been there. It does take a special woman to want to do this job, it’s not clean, it’s not nice, it’s not pretty but when you find that female that is good at what she does, its pretty amazing to see. These women can take care of themselves, take care of their shift and take care of everyone on the street.”
Last week, Texarkana Arkansas Police Department announced Public Information Officer, Corporal Kristi Bennett, will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to be honored by the President of the United States and The National Association of Police Organizations on May 14, 2016 after being awarded TOP COP honorable mention by National Association of Police Officers.