Law enforcement officers from around the state gathered in Searcy Thursday for a ceremony marking the opening of the Arkansas Municipal Police Association's new statewide headquarters. AMPA President Roger Pearson said the headquarters, located at 1406 W. Pleasure Ave., are a "new beginning for an old organization." The association serves more than 6,800 certified municipal police officers in Arkansas with services ranging from life insurance to legal defense.

Pearson, a Searcy police officer, said opening the state headquarters was a goal he had since becoming one of the organization's executive officers three years ago.

Throughout the organization's 70-year history, administration has been organized from the home of the secretary. Moving to a permanent headquarters will allow for growth, Pearson said, and two staff members have already been hired.

In addition to providing Arkansas police officers with many important services, it also works closely with state officials and represents them in the legislature, Pearson said.

Eddie Hightower, AMPA past-president, said the opening of the state headquarters was a sign that the organization is building on its rich history and meeting its long-term goals.

Hightower, who served as the organization's leader in 1986 and is retired from the North Little Rock Police Department, said the new headquarters will be a great asset.

"We've always been the lead organization to support police officers around the state," Hightower said. "A permanent address and office is a great thing, and this organization is going to continue to grow."

This is cache, read story here