BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - In a few months, Batesville police will patrol the city streets.
For more than 30 years, the Independence County Sheriff Department's Metro Patrol has served as the city's only police presence.
In December 2014, the city moved forward with creating their own police department.
Batesville Police Chief Alan Cockrill told Region 8 News that since then, it has been hectic to get everything in place.
"When you call for advice from a lot of the state agencies, this hasn't been done in years so everybody has to research our questions including us," Cockrill said.
Since December, the city leased a former car dealership building on the corner of Central and Boswell to serve as the police department.
Cockrill said the city will lease the building for two years and in that time, look for a more permanent home for the department.
Cockrill said they plan to be moved into the building by the end of March. After that, interviews will start.
As they are starting the department from scratch, Cockrill said they have a lot of positions to fill. So far, the police department consists of Chief Alan Cockrill and Lt. John Scarborough.
"We will have three criminal investigators, a narcotics investigator and of course the patrol division that will consist of three sergeants and then the remainder of the 24 personnel will patrol positions," Cockrill said.
Cockrill told Region 8 News they've received 40 applications for those 24 positions.
Cockrill said as they'll begin interview on April 13, he's hopeful to be fully staffed by the time patrol officers hit the streets on June 18.
"Our goal is to have five on duty around the clock, where right now, with our interlocal agreement, we've got between 2-3 on duty in town," Cockrill said. "So we're gonna actually put more officers on the street for roughly the same amount of money and have a lot more visibility."
As they are starting a new department, Cockrill said they hope to hire already certified officers. However, Cockrill told Region 8 News that he has reserved three spots at the next police academy in Pocahontas in anticipation of hiring a few people who are not yet certified officers.
Though it's been a hectic past few months getting the department up and going, Cockrill said he's excited for what's to come.
"It'll be a proud moment when people wake up on June 18 and see black and white patrol units on their streets," Cockrill said.
Cockrill said if everything falls into place, they might be able to start patrols before that. However, June 18 is the day they must start the Batesville Police Department.