Chief Gene Earnhart has spent 25 of his 27-year law enforcement career with the Greenbrier Police Department.
On Monday, local law enforcement officers gathered at Greenbrier City Hall to help Earnhart celebrate this milestone.
Sammy Hartwick, the city’s mayor, said Earnhart proved his dedication to the residents of Greenbrier in his 25 years at the police department.
“We’re very fortunate to have someone like Gene here for 25 years,” he said.
Earnhart said his roots trace back to Greenbrier and that he’s proud to serve the city.
“I was born and raised here,” he said, noting he was thankful for his family’s support over the years.
“My family supports me 110 percent. In any law enforcement or firefighting career, if you don’t have your family behind you, you just can’t do it,” he said.
In his tenure at the Greenbrier Police Department, Earnhart has spent the past 13 years serving as the city’s police chief.
He said he’s watched the department grow from a body of three to an operation of 15.
“We’ve grown [as a department], that’s one of the biggest things I think we’ve accomplished,” he said.
Earnhart and Hartwick echoed each other in noting the city’s recent statewide recognition.
Greenbrier was named the safest city in Arkansas by a company called SafeWise in 2014 and 2015.
The recognition was given based on compiled FBI crime report statistics for 2013 and 2014 respectively, along with population data.
SafeWise did not include cities with fewer than 5,000 residents nor any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI.
Hartwick said he feels the recognition is a direct correlation to Earnhart’s service to the city.
“That’s a huge deal,” he said of the awards. “We’re honored to be recognized for that. It says a lot about what [Earnhart] does for this city.”
Earnhart said he was proud on the city’s behalf for this accomplishment.
“We patrol as any normal city does,” he said, noting Greenbrier officers like to be personable with community members. “We also like to mingle with the residents and try to help them in any way we can. Any call we get, we try to answer it and that doesn’t matter if it’s criminal, civil or just someone who wants to ask questions. We just try to work with everybody and get along with everybody.”
Following a personable approach, Earnhart said his door is always open to residents.
“My door is open 24 hours a day,” he said. “All they’ve got to do is call and if I’m out, I’ll be back shortly.”
Earnhart also said he wanted to stop and thank the supportive team backing the police department.
“I’ve got an awesome group of officers,” he said. “I enjoy working with them every day. We butt heads but we get over it and get on and do our jobs. We’re a family. You’re going to butt heads, you do that with family. I wouldn’t take nothing from none of them. I’m proud of the officers I’ve got and my dispatchers. I’ve got some great dispatchers.”
Lt. Ricky Woody, who has worked alongside Earnhart for more than 15 years, praised him.
“It’s been an honor to work with him over the last 17 years,” Woody said.