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Recognizing Patrolman Cruz Dillard

By Jennifer Webb

Photos by Searcy Living Photography

Officer Cruz Dillard had been training for this. He could feel the adrenaline pumping in his veins, but he had it under control. He was hyper-focused on the task at hand.

It had started off ordinary enough, but here he was with his team in the middle of Beebe Capps, traffic whizzing past on both sides.

The plan had been to serve an arrest warrant, but the suspect left his home. When the suspect began returning home, he did a U-turn in the middle of the road, heading away from his house. They loaded up into the SWAT van and locked him up in the middle of traffic.

It was tense, but no one got hurt and the suspect was apprehended safely. Moments like this captured the excitement he thought he would have when he joined the SRT at the Searcy Police Department.

Police work was in his blood. Growing up, his mom, Laurel, worked in law enforcement, first as a dispatcher, then as an officer in 1999, and as a detective with the Searcy Police Department since 2003.

After he graduated from Searcy High School in 2016, he went to Ohio for a year to pursue other career fields but found it was not for him. He came home to Searcy, secure in the knowledge that law enforcement was the right professional route for him.

His wife’s cousin worked as a sergeant for the Newport correctional facility and got him hired on when he turned 20. It wasn’t where he wanted to be, but it got his foot in the door. He worked there for two and a half years, but when an opening at the Searcy Police Department came up, he jumped. He loved being able to supervise others at the correctional facility but knew that ultimately, he wanted to join his mom, and stepdad, Adam Sexton, at the Searcy Police Department. Not long after his sister, Alyson Slaughter, also joined in the “family business.”

Cruz’s career may just be getting started, but he’s found one he loves with the Searcy Police. D shift feels like an extended family. He looks forward to the Sunday “family dinners” where everyone working that day sits down and shares a meal. It allows them to talk and get to know one another. They are not just coworkers but friends, as well.

“D Shift works well together. It’s never really mattered who came to the shift; we look after each other and have each other’s backs on anything and everything. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are; we’ll treat you like family.”

- Patrolman Cruz Dillard

He currently serves as a patrolman on D shift under Corporal Brian Fritts and is a member of the SRT (Special Response Team) and loves everything about it. Cruz loves that each day is different and knew from the moment he started with the Searcy Police Department, he wanted to be a part of the SRT. He believes that his greatest strength is his adaptability and willingness to learn. Ultimately, his goal is to work his way up from patrolman to chief of police, so he anticipates a long career with Searcy PD.

He and his wife, Nakiah, have been married for four years. On the weekends he’s off, they can be found riding their motorcycles with the Titan Chapter of the Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club based out of Jacksonville. He rides a 2014 Heritage Softtail, and she rides a 2019 Can-Am Spyder. They raise money for different charitable causes such as scholarships, Christmas 4 Kids, and other organizations that benefit kids and the community. They sponsor events such as trap shooting competitions, gun raffles, car and bike shows, carwashes, and chili cookoffs to fundraise.

One of his most memorable charitable events was getting to participate in “Christmas with a Cop.” An underprivileged boy was given a budget of $100 to spend on toys for himself for Christmas. Cruz accompanied him as they went through the toy store and helped him decide which toys to spend his money on. The boy’s enthusiasm was infectious, and the joy in his heart lasted long after the event.

For Officer Cruz Dillard, being a police officer is not just a career, it’s a calling. He looks forward to learning everything he can to do it better and to eventually being in a place where he can pass that knowledge on to others.


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