LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Representative Megan Godfrey is working on a bill that would allow members of the Marshallese community to serve as police officers. The Marshallese Law Enforcement Act would expand eligibility that would allow departments to recruit non-Immigrant, non-U.S. citizens as officers, which Springdale Police Department Public Information Officer, Jeff Taylor, supports.
“We are behind it wholeheartedly, it would help with our recruiting. It would not lower our standards, but it would be a great addition to our department,” says Taylor.
Marshallese leaders say there are over 10,000 Marshallese people who would benefit from more representation. The Compact of Freedom Act allows the Marshallese community to live in the United States without citizenship or a visa.
Eldon Alik, the Marshallese Consul General, says members of their community are able to serve in the military, but not local law enforcement.
“The more the police department reflects the community, the more harmony there will be in the community. It would bridge the gap between our people and officers. We are able to joined the armed forces, so for me, it’s a no-brainer,” says Alik.
Godfrey says she is adding additional sponsors to House Bill HB 1342 before sending it to the next Legislative Committee for review.