Community Reflection

Fire Departments, Law Agencies Seek To Look More Like Communities

Posted: January 26, 2014 at 5 a.m.

Omar Carrillo, a firefighter and paramedic, inspects a Rogers Fire Department ambulance at the start of his shift on Thursday Jan. 23 2014 at the main fire station downtown.

Northwest Arkansas law enforcement agencies and fire departments are comprised of mostly white men despite active recruiting effort and an increasingly diverse Northwest Arkansas population, department records show.

By the Numbers


Northwest Arkansas fire departments and law enforcement agencies often struggle to recruit and hire people who are from diverse racial backgrounds or who are women. The number of firefighters, deputies and police officers from minority groups remains low despite recruiting efforts. The current makeup of Northwest Arkansas agencies:

• Springdale Fire: 114 firefighters, two Hispanic, two of mixed ethnicity

• Springdale Police: 122 police officers, four women, three black, 11 Hispanic and two Native American

• Rogers Fire: 111 firefighters, one black, one woman and two Hispanic

• Rogers Police: 97 police officers, eight Hispanic, two Hmong, one black and four women

• Bentonville Fire: 66 firefighters, one Native American

• Bentonville Police: 65 police officers;, 60 white, one black, three women and four Hispanic

• Fayetteville Fire: 110 firefighters, one black man, one woman, one Hispanic

• Fayetteville Police: 112 police officers, 104 white, two black , one Hispanic man, one Hispanic woman, four white women and three officers listed as “other”

• Washington County Sheriff’s Office: 156 deputies, 27 women, including one black woman; one black man, one Hispanic man and one Native American man *

• Benton County Sheriff’s Office: numbers not provided by deadline

  • Hiring at the county level is different than at the city level, so numbers are not be comparable.

Source: Staff Report

The Census

City Minorities

• Bentonville: Top two minority groups are Hispanic or Latino at 8.7 percent and Asian at 8.3 percent. Women make up 51 percent of the population.

• Fayetteville: Top two minority groups are Hispanic or Latino at 6.4 percent and black at 6 percent. Women make up 49.7 percent of the population.

• Rogers: The largest two minority groups are Hispanic or Latino at 31.5 percent and two or more races at 3 percent. Women make up 51 percent of the population.

• Springdale: The largest Hispanic or Latino community in Northwest Arkansas at 35.4 percent. The next largest minority group is Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander at 5.7 percent. Women make up 50 percent of the population.

Source: 2010 Census


To see a recruiting video from the Springdale Police Department, go to

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