Levi Risley, a captain with the Fort Smith Police Department, was hired as the Vian Police Chief by the Vian Board of Trustees Thursday, and went to work Friday. As of Friday the Vian police officers are back on the streets and back on patrol.
Risley said his primary goal was to get the Vian police officers back on the job. They were suspended after the previous police chief, Alan Ellis, was fired by the Vian board on July 24. It was explained the officers could not work, by state law, without a supervisor.
Risley said he also plans to have the Vian police officers accredited and promote standardized policies for the department. "Other than that I just need to get acclimated to the Vian Police Department," Risley said.
Risley grew up in Vian, is a 1985 graduate of Vian High School and still has family there. He said he will continue working at the Fort Smith department where he serves as a Patrol Division Watch Commander. He supervises three patrol sergeants and a troop of officers who respond to emergencies, conduct preliminary criminal investigations, investigate traffic accidents and perform proactive patrol functions.
He began his employment with the police department in 1989 as a patrol officer and has held positions as a criminal investigator, major crimes investigator, arson investigator, crime scene investigator, internal affairs investigator, domestic violence investigator and crime analyst. Prior to his promotion in 2009, he was the department's public affairs officer and was assigned to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Risley said that assignment grew out of his position with the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a master sergeant special agent at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He joined the Air Force Reserve in 1989-90 and retired in 2007.
Risley holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College. He is certified in polygraph examination, crime scene investigation, and crime analysis. Risley received the "Officer of the Year" award for 1991 and the Judge Paul Wolf "Outstanding Young Law Enforcement Officer" award presented by the Fort Smith Jaycees for the same year.
Risley said he plans to hold both jobs, with the Fort Smith Police Department and the Vian Police Department, for a short while.
"I can do both for a while," he said, "until I retire (from Fort Smith) in a few months."
Risley and his wife, Renee, live north of Van Buren, and have two daughters, ages 15 and 17.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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