As a new member of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training, Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. plans to further the board’s mission of improving public safety in the state. Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Woods, sheriff of Jefferson County, to the board on Oct. 25.

“My appointment serves as a true testament to Governor Hutchinson’s commitment to ensuring inclusion and balanced representation at every level of government, which I feel is of most importance,” said Woods. “It is equally important to be in such a position to continue with the great foundation of work CLEST has formed by maintaining the respect for its goals and mission.”

CLEST’s goal is to “professionalize law enforcement officers through education, training and employment standards.” Additionally, the board works to “provide technical and specialized training courses” in an effort to meet the growing changes law enforcement officers encounter daily. According to their website, their goal for training is to continue to modify the basic police training course for officers at various levels of employment.

“As a CLEST commissioner, my role will be to join fellow commissioners to encourage increasing the professional competency of law enforcement officers in the State of Arkansas by providing standards for employment and training and by providing, sponsoring, or conducting training and by conducting or stimulating studies and research designed to improve the administration of law enforcement and implementing the commission’s regulations,” he said.

Woods’ terms expires on Jan. 14, 2022. Until then, he joins a ten-member board in moving the commission board’s objectives into the future.

“My new role as commissioner with CLEST will allow me as the sheriff of the 10th largest county in Arkansas better understand and appreciate the value of the commission,” Woods said. “It will enhance my ability as a sheriff to discern CLEST roles and how they correlate with offices such as mine. Additionally, it aids in ensuring citizens of Jefferson County that meaningful rules and regulations are being implemented by CLEST to enhance the quality of public safety.”