Arkansas City is home to many dedicated public servants, including its police force.


Photo courtesy of Blythe Colquhoun

“Our officers and department afford citizens many things that sometimes are taken for granted,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez.

“They give us peace of mind by their presence, they serve as community role models, they are our first responders in a crisis and they can go home at the end of the day, knowing they accomplished something for the good of the community.”

Officers of the Arkansas City Police Department (ACPD) protect the community as part of their job duties, but often can be found interacting with the youth of the city in a positive way.

“Today, those who enter the profession see it as a calling and not just a job,” said Police Chief Dan Ward. “If you have the right passion for helping others, it truly is the best profession one can choose.”

ACPD currently has three unfilled officer positions and that will increase to four in July. When fully staffed, the department has 18 officers.

“It takes eight months from initial advertisement to making a job offer,” Ward said.

“Once an officer is hired, they must complete the basic (law enforcement) academy, which is 14 weeks, and then the field training program, which is another 15 weeks. Normally, it is 12 to 15 months before an officer’s position can be filled with a fully functioning and productive officer,” Ward said.

He also said law enforcement can be seen as a daunting profession, under certain circumstances.

“If it’s something that you want to do, make sure you’re going into it with an open mind,” ACPD Sgt. Eric Mata said in a recent interview.

There are sacrifices to be made in the profession, but those sacrifices are made gladly, said Mata, who was honored last month as the Optimist Club’s Officer of the Year.

The ACPD application process begins at

“You will have the satisfaction of doing a challenging job that makes a difference and enjoy the respect of your fellow citizens,” the application states.

To be pushed through to the next phase of application, those who apply must not have had any felony convictions or disqualifying criminal history.

They also must complete basic training requirements within 18 months of their hiring and maintain training requirements as required by Kansas statutes.

A successful applicant must be 21 years of age or older; pass post-offer, pre-employment drug and alcohol screenings; and also pass a physical capacity profile evaluation, background checks, and psychological and polygraph examinations.