Allen Edwards was sworn in as Newport Chief of Police on Friday, June 29th. Edwards began his career as a Newport Police Officer in May of 2001. This will be his 18th year with the force. He has reached the highest of certificate standards of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Standards to date. He has one more which requires 18 years of service. When living in Diaz, Allen served on the City Council and later served on the Quorum Court of Jackson County.
Allen is a 1996 graduate of Newport High School. Allen and his brothers were raised by a single mother and credits many families within the community as great influences and role models. “We spent our childhood running around the Normandy Acres neighborhood. Couples such as David and Phyllis Gregory and Kenneth and Sandy Youngblood took an active part in our lives,” states Edwards. “Those are just a few, because there are so many. This community is full of great people.” Allen is a twin to brother Ashley Edwards. Law enforcement is part of the family in that Ashley works for the Independence County Sheriff’s Department as an SRO for the Cedar Ridge School District.
Allen is married to Alyson Ballard Edwards, an active member of Wives of Armor. The couple have been married for seven years and love their blended family full of boys. The oldest, Caleb, is 25 years old with two children. Caleb is followed by three younger brothers; Eli (15 years old), Landen (14 years old) and Nathan (12 years old). Although life is very busy, the family loves to spend time at the lake and take the occasional cruise.
When asked about his relationship with Mayor Stewart and the current City Council, Edwards was quick to state the importance and thankfulness that Newport has such great leadership. “We all want what is best for Newport and that is the main goal. I have known most of them for years and respect their leadership.”
Edwards took the reins as NPD Chief on Monday, June 2nd. I asked about his fears moving into such a role. Allen is confident in his ability to run the department, but the administration part, such as grants, dealing with auditors and personnel management will be a challenge. No doubt he is up to the challenge. The department has 15 full time officers, which is a great number. He plans to add another position in the near future. Edwards smiles as he adds, “I have been told that this position can cause some sleepless nights and I believe it.”
As we talk, Edwards praises Newport as a wonderful community. This community is very supportive. “People say this is a thankless job, but that is not the case in Newport.” Newport has a strong sense of community. “The loss of Patrick Weatherford was a setback, but his hopes and dreams for the community go on with us.” This next season of leadership for the Newport Police Department will pave the way for another amazing legacy. That of Chief Allen Edwards.