BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Batesville Police Department is officially ready to patrol city streets.
The city hosted a ribbon cutting Wednesday afternoon for the entire community.
For more than 30 years, the Independence County Sheriff Department's Metro Patrol has served as the city's only police presence.
In December of 2014, the city moved forward with creating their own police department. Now, six months later, officers are hitting the streets.
Many told Region 8 News it will be worth the wait.
The department's new arsenal sounds a lot like the 12 Days of Christmas:
- 23 officers
- Eight black and white patrol cars
- Five body cameras
- Four bikes
- Three canine units
- One chief
"Our first week is going to be high visibility," Chief Alan Cockrill said. "They're going to see a lot of police cars that they're not used to seeing. We're gonna do a lot of foot patrol, too."
Chief Cockrill said the department's first order of business is to start forming relationships with the community.
"If we get to know the community, then we get to know the community's problems," he said. "We're going to be proactive. We're going to be out in the neighborhoods talking to people, finding out what the problems are. And then try to assist them in getting along and helping with those issues."
Chief Cockrill said the main issue in the city is drugs. For that reason, one officer will work nothing but narcotics.
The department also has three criminal investigators. The rest are with the patrol division.
Cockrill wants to remind the community all dispatch and alarm system numbers stay the same.
"Call dispatch, dispatch will notify us if it's in the city and we'll respond," Cockrill said.
Patrols start Monday at 6 a.m.