For Chris Goodman, his new position with Arkansas State Police is simply the next step in his lifelong dream.
Goodman on Feb. 13 was promoted to captain of Arkansas State Police Troop H, which oversees Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan and Scott counties. Goodman said his promotion was born out of his desire to help others better perform their jobs at a place he truly loves.
"I like coming to work every day. I like the people I work with," he said. "I truly consider this a huge blessing to work here."
Born in Russellville, Goodman frequently visited Fort Smith in his early years to see his extended family. From an early age, Goodman aspired to be a state trooper.
"Growing up, State Police was always the premiere law enforcement agency. The uniform, the big hat, things like that," he said. "I always envisioned that was the premiere, the best of the best."
Goodman got his start in law enforcement with the Russellville Police Department after graduating college. He worked with them for six years as a patrolman and in narcotics and "had a very good career there," he said.
It was as a Russellville police officer that he became acquainted with state troopers.
"As I worked there longer and was around troopers more and learned a little bit more in-depth about what they did, I just felt like my calling was to try to get hired by State Police," he said.
Goodman was hired by Arkansas State Police and started troop school in 2003. He first worked in the Ozark area under Troop H and then in the Russellville area under Troop J.
He said Arkansas State Police helped him fulfill his dream of working the interstate in law enforcement.
"I’ve had a lot of success interdicting drugs and criminals on the interstate," Goodman said, adding that he felt he made a difference in this field by keeping drugs out of communities.
Arkansas State Police first promoted Goodman to sergeant after passing a test for the position while working in Russellville. He was then promoted to lieutenant of Troop H in November 2018 after passing a test for that position.
Goodman said he decided he wanted to advance in the ranks after other troopers asked him questions on how to do their jobs.
"I always just enjoyed my job, but then I thought, 'Hey, maybe I can help other people enjoy their jobs if I become a supervisor and maybe use my experience to help other troopers and officers that I work around do things right and learn from my experiences, good or bad,'" he said.
Goodman was promoted to captain after former Troop H captain Jason Aaron was promoted to major of Arkansas State Police's eastern region highway patrol. Goodman anticipates he will lead Troop H in a similar way as Aaron, who he said shares a common vision and perspective of law enforcement as he does.
In everything his troopers do, Goodman said he will emphasize one concept to them above all else: respect.
"We should respect criminals and law-abiding citizens alike. I’m just a big proponent of showing respect to everyone you can respect," he said. "There’s a time when it’s not possible, but when it’s possible, I think we should be trying to show people respect. We didn’t get the badge and gun to go out and be judgemental of people or to talk down to people who are doing wrong."
Goodman said he feels "very excited and very blessed" to be in his new role leading what he called "a really good group of people."
"We’ll be out there in the rain or snow, day and night, whatever it is, serving. If we need to change a flat tire, we’ll change a flat tire. If we need to work a bad wreck, we’ll work a bad wreck, and if we need to take people to jail, we’ll take them to jail," he said. "The main goal of any law enforcement agency is just to make our community better for the citizens that live in it."