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Fort Smith Police Department Welcomes First African-American Female Officer

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) -- The Fort Smith Police Department celebrated a milestone hire Wednesday.

For the first time in the department's history, they have an African-American woman wearing the badge.

FSPD recently made a big push to have a more diverse force that reflects the community.

The new class of officers spoke about how they feel about being a part of this new wave.

"Building community relationships and having people look at the Police Department as a friendly face as help and seeing our smiles and our willingness, because like I said, a lot of us are really excited about being able to help everyone," said new officer Areille James.

New Officer Joseph Underwood said diversity is positive for the future.

"It's 21st century law enforcement. Diversity is important," Underwood said. "The more we can reflect the community, I think the better we can serve the community, and I think its great the department is going in that direction."

The four new officers were sworn in Monday and should be on the streets in the next few months.

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