Jamie Hammond has been selected as the next chief for the Van Buren Police Department.

Mayor Bob Freeman announced Tuesday the selection of Hammond, currently a captain for the Fort Smith Police Department where he has worked since August 1991.

Hammond will replace current chief Kenneth Bell, who will retire June 30 after 32 years with the department, the last 16 years serving as chief.

Over the past several months, the city has conducted a search for the new police chief, a position appointed by the mayor, and received a number of applications, Freeman said. After individual interviews with seven finalists, Hammond emerged as the top applicant.

“I am extremely pleased to name Captain Hammond as our new chief of police,” Freeman said. “He is experienced, dedicated and has the skills to lead the department. We are fortunate that Jamie already lives in Van Buren and is an active member of the community, as is evidenced by his service on the school board.”

Freeman said Hammond takes over a highly experienced and professional department.

“He will ensure that we keep Van Buren a safe place to live, work and visit,” the mayor said.

Freeman noted that through hard work and dedication, Hammond worked his way up through the ranks, serving in every division of law enforcement. He has held the rank of captain for the past six years.

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with many outstanding administrators during my time of service,” Hammond said. “I am excited to bring my experience to my hometown of Van Buren and equally excited about the many positive changes our city has made and will continue to make.”

Hammond was raised in Fort Smith and graduated from Northside High School before moving to Van Buren in 1997 after marrying Paige Mitchell. The Hammonds have two sons, Andrew, 12, and Mitchell, 16, both students in the Van Buren School District.

Hammond has served in various volunteer positions in Van Buren and is a member of the Van Buren School District’s Board of Education where he has served for the past eight years. He also is a volunteer firefighter for the Butterfield District 5 Fire Department.