Three veteran police officers have been promoted by newly sworn-in Van Buren Police Chief Jamie Hammond.
Lt. Brent Grill was promoted to captain, Sgt. Larry Brown was promoted to lieutenant and Cpl. Brad Wiley was promoted to sergeant during a ceremony for friends, family and co-workers at the police department on June 30.
Grill began his career with the VBPD in 1987 when he started as a dispatcher. In 1988, he made the transition to patrol officer.
He was promoted to corporal in 1992 and three years later was promoted to sergeant. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2000.
Grill has served as lieutenant in both the patrol division and the detective division and has been the SWAT commander for the past 16 years. He was awarded the Van Buren Police Department’s officer of the year in 1991 and 1999 and the department’s Medal of Valor in 2015.
He is engaged to Bobbi Smith and has two children, Taylor and Hunter.
Brown joined the VBPD in 1993 after serving eight years in the Army, which included an overseas deployment. He has served as a SWAT team leader, K-9 handler, school resource officer and firearms instructor.
He holds an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Arkansas Tech University, where he also served as an adjunct professor.
In 2001, Brown was awarded the VBPD officer of the year. He has volunteered his time on numerous boards in the city and state.
He has a son, Nicholas, who lives in Alabama with his wife, Natalie, and two daughters, Ryleigh and Lily Ann.
Wiley started at the Van Buren Police Department in 2003. He is a certified field training officer, firearms instructor and former team leader for SWAT.
He has been the department’s top gun winner three times and was the officer of the year in 2015.
Wiley is a master sergeant for the 188th Fighter Squadron, where he enlisted in 2011 and has been deployed overseas three times. He is married to Trixie Wiley and has three daughters, Tessa, Loren and Ashlyn.
Former Police Chief Kenneth Bell, who retired June 30 after 32 years, was in attendance to shake hands, wish them luck and pin new ranks onto the department’s new captain. Bell began his career with the VBPD in 1985 and was promoted to chief in 2001.
“I wish Chief Hammond the best of luck, for himself and for the department,” Bell said. “I know good things are going to come from all of them.”
Hammond, who was sworn-in as the new chief at the June 30 Freedom Park dedication, is a retired captain from the Fort Smith Police Department, where he worked since August 1991.