Being a law enforcement officer isn't just about writing tickets and making arrests. Conway officer Liza Prophete said it's also about making a difference and building relationships with those who make up the community she serves.
While some negative views of law enforcement linger, Prophete said she believes the Conway Police Department can win the hearts of the residents its officers serve.
"I personally like to get out with citizens and just talk to them [and] see how they're doing," she said.
Handing out stickers to young children out playing in their neighborhoods is one way she and other Conway officers build rapport with Conway residents.
"Little things like [that] can go a long way," Prophete said. "Build[ing] a good relationship with the people is one of my many goals. I don't think being a police officer is all about citations and arrests. [It's about] being a selfless servant to your community."
Prophete joined the CPD team in August. Before that, she was a military police officer in the Army National Guard.
Since was she young, the Conway woman said she felt a calling to server others.
"From the time a was a young teenager in high school, I knew I wanted to be a police officer," Prophete told the Log Cabin Democrat.
Since she began serving the Conway community alongside other Conway officers, Prophete said her coworkers have become more like family. This bond merged with the support from God and her family keep her motivated to continue serving others a law enforcement officer, she said.
"God and my family are my core motivators, but also my fellow officers who I work with day to day," Prophete said.
Knowing other officers have her back is not only a good feeling, but it's a necessity, she said.
"Having each other's backs on the streets is very important," Prophete said. "In this short amount of time I've been here, my coworkers have become more like family then just people I work with. I believe that's [one of] the great things about the Conway Police Department."
During a fallen officers memorial ceremony on Thursday, Circuit Judge Troy B. Braswell Jr. said local officers shine above negative views against police.
While trends show there are "bad actors" within the law enforcement community, Braswell said officers and deputies across Faulkner County define themselves in a positive light.
"In my experience as a prosecutor and as a judge and being involved in the criminal justice system, I know this: It’s not a perfect system," he said. "We have faults. We do have bad actors. But that is not what defines our system. That is not what defines law enforcement."
What defines our system is the reality that local officers are taking the time to better the communities they serve, Braswell said.
"It’s defined by officers that will ride bicycles to school with other children, that spend time with kids shooting basketball hoops in the middle of the road," Braswell said. "That is what makes our community so great."
Prophete said she likes to think back on the day she spontaneously pulled up to the Woodland Heights Baptist Church to visit with the center's children.
She was patrolling through the neighborhood and noticed the kids were outside for recess when she decided to pull up, meet the youngsters and pass out stickers.
It was an experience she won't forget, she said.
"They all ran to the gate to greet me," Prophete recalled. "The excitement in their little faces was just a joy to see. I spoke with them along with the staff members for a few minutes and of course, I handed out stickers. Luckily I had enough, even the staff members got some because really, who doesn't like stickers."
These moments are what truly make a difference in showing the community the positive roles police have, she said.
"I believe it is very important to be involved with the community," Prophete said. "I think ultimately, it helps building that relationship between law enforcement and citizens."
Dan Jarry, a sergeant at the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office, said these types of relationships play a critical role in serving the community because law enforcement officers depend on the residents that make up the community they serve for tips and information to solve cases.
Jarry has been a law enforcement officer for 30 years. Seven of those he's spent serving the sheriff's office.
Since he was a young boy, he new he wanted to find a career in law enforcement.
"Here I am 30 years later doing the job I love," he told the Log Cabin.
It's all about helping others, building relationships and thinking ahead while on the job, he said.