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story.lead_photo.caption Kristi Bennett addresses the crowd Wednesday following her pinning ceremony as the first female chief of the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department as Mayor Allen Brown stands behind her at Crossties. Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Ark.— Texarkana Arkansas Police Chief Kristi Bennett officially received her Chief of Police badge Wednesday in a ceremony at Crossties, a venue on Broad Street.

Bennett was appointed police chief in late March. She is the first female police chief in Texarkana Arkansas and first new police chief in 31 years.

"I've been overwhelmed with support and love during this transition," Bennett said. "TAPD is going to do amazing things and I'm honored to be a part of this city."

Bennett's husband Joe Bennett pinned the badge on his wife.

"I am so proud of you," he said. "You are an inspiration to me and to all of the officers. Stay the course."

A number of local law enforcement officers and city officials attended the ceremony.

Kristi Bennett holds a master's degree from Southern Arkansas University and has served as interim chief since Sept. 1.

Bennett joined the department in 2005 and became its public information officer in 2008.

She also started the PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort) program for at-risk students in Texarkana Arkansas.

In 2016, she was honored for her efforts by the National Association of Police Organizations in Washington D.C.

Texarkana Arkansas Mayor Allen Brown spoke about his positive working relationship with Bennett.

"I met her and she was a sweet person. But I learned she was tough and could trash talk," Brown laughed. "Our police department is in good hands. I've enjoyed working with her and could not be more proud of her."

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