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Marty Boyd: Craighead County Sheriff new to AAC board

Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd is a seasoned law enforcement officer, department manager and community leader now, but he remembers how he got his not-so-glamorous start.

He isn’t ashamed to tell you that he started at the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office in 1991 cleaning the toilets at the detention center.

It’s his “claim to fame,” he said.

It wasn’t a noteworthy position, but it was a start for a 21-year-old with dreams of working in law enforcement.
Boyd and his wife of 25 years, Tonya, and their daughter, Neely, live in Jonesboro, where he was born and raised. He knows Jonesboro, and knew that’s where he wanted to stay.

“It’s a close-knit community … it’s a great community to live and work and raise a family,” he said.

It’s also the place he chose to spend his 28-year career in law enforcement.

“Since I was very young, I knew that law enforcement was the career path I wanted to follow,” he said.

Besides cleaning toilets, Boyd also worked at the detention center as a dispatcher and detention officer.

He graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA) in 1993, and in 1999 was promoted to patrol supervisor. He was named assistant deputy in 2001.

He began his first term as sheriff in 2013, and has run unopposed, up until the 2018 election.

“I wouldn’t change anything about my career,” he said. “I love my career.”

Some may ask how Boyd could love such a demanding and dangerous job as sheriff. For Boyd, it’s an easy answer: it’s rewarding.

Some of the most rewarding aspects of his job are when he’s able to intervene in a serious situation.

“I think back on several occasions that I knew I had a chance to help someone out of a dark part of their life and give them a hand to get out of it,” he said. “That’s what keeps me coming back every day.”

These harrowing situations have moved Boyd to become active in improving how officers handle mental health issues.

As a member of the Association of Arkansas Counties’ (AAC) Legislative Board, he has been able to be a voice for sheriffs before state lawmakers on issues such as mental health.

“For five years we’ve worked very hard with our legislators to try to pass new legislation to improve how law enforcement handles situations,” he said.

Boyd will have a larger role in pushing legislation that will impact law enforcement as he settles in to his new position on the AAC Board of Directors.

“I am honored to be on the board; I’ve worked for several years on the legislative board of AAC,” he said. “I see this as an opportunity to expand that role. As a whole, we have to work on the state level to see our communities improve.”

Adding to his list of priorities are 911 reform, jail funding and officer safety.

“Officer safety is a major issue for me,” he said. “I want to make sure our officers are trained. One of my goals is to make sure we all return home to our families at night.”

Boyd has been recognized by many organizations. In 2018, the National Association of Social Workers elected him Official of the Year. In 2017 he was named Crime Stopper of the Year. In 2015 he was selected as Internal Order of Police Officer of the Year.

He also serves as executive secretary on the board of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association.

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