Arkansas

YEAR IN REVIEW | No. 10: Arkansas side welcomes new police chief in Michael Kramm

TEXARKANA, Arkansas — Veteran peace officer Michael Kramm is ending his early retirement to become the third chief of the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department in 30 years.

Kramm, a self-proclaimed “training junkie,” took charge on October 24, beating out nearly 40 other applicants nationwide to succeed Kristi Bennett as boss. Bennett, the city’s first female police chief, resigned in June to take a similar position in her hometown of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

Kramm joined Texarkana from League City, Texas, where he spent nearly 30 years in the public service. He was the police chief from 2012 to 2018, when he was appointed deputy city manager. He retired in January 2022, but that didn’t last long.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, I can’t do this. I’ll drive myself and my family crazy, or I’ll spend all my money,'” Kramm said in a previous Gazette article.

It was around this time that he learned about the opening at TAPD from his friend and Texarkana native Marty Adcock. His hiring was announced at a board meeting on October 3.

“Chief Kramm’s breadth of experience and proven skills will be an asset,” City Manager Jay Ellington said at the meeting.

Officer training is Kramm’s priority.

“Law enforcement solves so many different problems for people that we can’t train for everything that a police officer will experience in a single shift, but we try to include as much as possible,” the chief said of the training. “We try to repeat it as often as necessary to make sure we get refreshed training if anything changes.”

He also wants to increase the department’s staff to about 76 officers to “maintain services that we consider to be the minimum we must do to truly serve our public justice.” However, he acknowledged the difficulties in filling the ranks.

“We are not an anomaly. We’re competing with the guys on the other side of the building,” Kramm said of the Texarkana Texas Police Department. “We compete with Nash. We compete with other agencies in the area. We compete with the Dallas Metroplex.

“We don’t have the unlimited budget to pay everyone $100,000 and say, ‘Just don’t go.'”

According to a job posting on the department’s website, the starting salary for a certified peace officer at TTPD is approximately $45,000. Kramm said TAPD’s starting salary is in the mid-40s.

The Arkansas side operates on a parity policy, in which the city uses sales tax revenue to keep fire and police department salaries comparable to their counterparts on the Texas side.

Kramm said among the things that drew him to Texarkana was the city’s sense of community, which he sees in a passion for revitalization and a determination to increase pedestrian footfall downtown.

“If you look around you see ladders and scaffolding in some of these old buildings and that’s a great sign,” he said.

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