Law Enforcement Careers in Arkansas

For Arkansas’ law enforcement community, the stakes have never been higher. According to FBI statistics, violent crime in Arkansas has increased 4.4% between 2018 and 2019. In 2019, violent crime incidents totaled 17,643 – that’s an increase from 16,904 violent crime incidents a year prior.

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A career in law enforcement here is one that will certainly come with its share of challenges, but it will certainly be one that is incredibly fulfilling and gratifying. A love of justice, a respect for the law, and a desire to make a difference in the community are the characteristics of an exceptional law enforcement officer.

Combine these attributes with a distinct set of skills and the right training and you can become part of Arkansas’ committed law enforcement community working to protect its citizens and improve the quality of life for everyone.

Arkansas’ State Police

The Arkansas State Police serves as an umbrella organization that oversees a number of statewide divisions, including:

  • Administrative Services Division – ASP Personnel and State Trooper Recruiting
  • Highway Patrol Division – Highway Patrol Commanders
  • Criminal Investigation Division (CID) – CID Commanders
  • Crimes Against Children Division – Administrator and Area Offices
  • Highway Safety Office – Highway Safety Plans and Traffic Crash Statistics

Arkansas Highway Patrol

The Highway Patrol Division of the Arkansas State Police, which is divided into Eastern and Western Regions, includes more than 900 employees, two-thirds of which are Arkansas State Police Troopers.

State troopers also work out of the agency’s Criminal Investigation Division as special agents. These professionals investigate criminal cases initiated by the Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement agencies.

All state trooper candidates for the Arkansas Highway Patrol must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Hold a current and valid driver’s license
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no misdemeanor domestic violence convictions.

Before recruits can begin training, they must pass a department physical, a psychological examination, and a polygraph examination.

Municipal Police Departments in Arkansas

Protection of Arkansas’ citizens within city limits belongs to the professionals of the state’s municipal police departments. In addition to general patrol duties, many police officers throughout the state serve in specialized units or divisions like K-9, special operations, SWAT, and more.

Little Rock

The Little Rock Police Department is divided into an Executive Bureau, Field Services Bureau, and Investigative and Support Bureau. There are also three police stations strategically located throughout the city. The Bureaus are further divided into Divisions/Units, which include:

  • Accreditation and Staff Inspections Unit
  • Detective Division
  • Internal Affairs Division
  • Office of Emergency Services/Communications Center
  • Patrol Divisions
  • Records Division
  • Special Investigations Division
  • Special Operations Division
  • Training Division
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All candidates must be at least 20 ½ years old, but less than 46. They must also have a high school diploma or GED, no felony convictions, and have acceptable vision and hearing.


The Fayetteville Police Department consists of about 170 sworn police officers and civilian members. The Patrol Division is the largest unit, consisting of 71 officers, one captain, two lieutenants, and eight sergeants, and it is organized into the following units:

  • Bicycle Unit
  • Crisis Negotiation Team
  • Emergency Response Team
  • Honor Guard
  • K-9 Unit
  • Motorcycle Unit
  • Uniform Patrol

To qualify for a police officer job in Fayetteville, candidates must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions

Chosen candidates must also pass a physical fitness test and a field training program.


The Jonesboro Police Department, which includes 150 sworn police officers and 33 full- and part-time civilian employees, serves nearly 60,000 residents, as well as many more temporary residents of Arkansas State University that are in the area each school year.

The Jonesboro Police Department includes the following Divisions: Administrative Services Division, Uniform Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and a Special Services Division, which includes the following units:

  • DARE Program
  • Honor Guard Unit
  • Motorcycle Unit
  • Reserve Officer Program
  • School Resource Officer Program
  • Tactical Unit
  • Traffic Unit
  • Warrant Unit

Candidates for police officer jobs in Jonesboro must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and have no felony convictions. Recruits must also pass a set of agility tests, a written test, a drug screen, a psychological examination, and an extensive background investigation.

County Sheriff’s Departments in Arkansas

Deputy sheriffs in Arkansas are valuable members of the state’s law enforcement community, as they are responsible for providing law enforcement and patrol services to nearly 42% of the state’s population. Other job duties often include providing security to the courts, investigating crimes, issuing warrants, and overseeing the county jails.

Pulaski County

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department has five substations (three north of the river and two south of the river), a Patrol Division, and an Investigations Division, which consists of three squads and a Narcotics Unit.

Special Units of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department include:

  • Accident Reconstruction Team
  • Honor Guard
  • Reserve Deputy Program
  • SWAT Team
  • Water Patrol

Deputy sheriff candidates must be at least 21 years old, they must hold a high school diploma or GED, and they must have no felony or domestic violence convictions. Recruits here must successfully complete a 12-week training academy.

Benton County

The Sheriff’s Office of Benton County serves more than 200,000 residents and patrols an area of about 880 square miles. The Units of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office include:

  • Civil/Warrants
  • Courthouse Security
  • Crime Prevention
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Detention
  • DWI/DUI Task Force
  • Patrol
  • SWAT Team

Candidates must be at least 21 years old, hold a high school diploma or GED, and have no felony convictions. They must also be able to successfully pass a physical abilities test to be considered for academy training.

Washington County

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office includes a Detention Division and an Enforcement Division. Sheriff’s deputy candidates must successfully complete a physical agility test, background investigation, polygraph exam, and a medical and psychological evaluation to be considered for recruitment.

Arkansas Law Enforcement Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police officers in Arkansas earned an average salary of $42,430 as of May 2021.

The following police/sheriff’s department salary data was sourced from May 2021 BLS stats (early career = 25th percentile, senior/late career = 90th percentile).

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Police Officer Salaries

The starting salary for police officers among the largest police departments in the state ranges in the mid-to-upper-$30,000 range.

Fayetteville Police Department

Police officers of the Fayetteville Police Department earn a starting salary of about $38,390 and a top salary of about $61,040.

Fort Smith Police Department

Fort Smith police officers earn a starting salary of $35,470 and a top salary of $72,220.

Jonesboro Police Department

Jonesboro Police Department officers earn a starting salary of about $37,300. Senior-level officers earn about $50,970.

Little Rock Police Department

The starting salary for police officer recruits with the Little Rock Police Department is $38,320. Senior-level officers earn about $60,040.

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

State troopers with the Arkansas State Police earn between $36,100 and $60,040.

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for police and sheriff’s patrol officers. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, Projections Central. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed August 2022