Chief Danny Baker Biography

Chief of Police, City of Fort Smith

Chief Danny Baker

Chief Danny Baker is a 23-year veteran of law enforcement, having served with various municipalities and sheriff’s departments in Oklahoma before beginning his 20-year career with the Fort Smith Police Department in July 2001.  Chief Baker also served 8 years in the United States Army Reserve and Oklahoma Army National Guard as a Military Police Officer while attending college.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK.  During his tenure with the Fort Smith PD, Chief Baker has held a multitude of positions, which have included:  Patrol, Field Training Officer, SWAT, Detective, Vice/Narcotics Supervisor, Special Operations Captain, Deputy Chief of Patrol and Interim Chief. 

In September 2019 he was selected as the department’s Chief of Police after a rigorous nationwide search and is one of the first Chiefs to be promoted from within the ranks of FSPD in over 30 years.  One of his first tests as Chief involved leading the department’s very successful response to the historic Arkansas River flood of 2019.  The resulting public approval of the department took an abrupt and significant turn only a few months later as the manner in which a 911 dispatcher spoke to a flash flood drowning victim during her final moments went internationally viral.  Chief Baker ordered an extensive review of the department’s 911 operations while simultaneously developing a new vision statement for the FSPD.  This vision statement, which simply and clearly articulates the desire for all members of the FSPD to work themselves out of a job through excellence in service to others, has helped the department recover lost public trust and legitimacy from that incident in record time.  One of the improvements resulting from the internal review was Chief Baker’s successful proposal to fund five new non-sworn supervisor positions in the 911 center. 

The new vision statement also helped prepare the department to effectively face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest resulting from perceptions of systemic racism in policing.  As the department responded to protests and demonstrations using community policing concepts and vision-oriented actions, the FSPD has become a model of 21st Century policing. Chief Baker strongly believes that the guardian/servant mindset and transformational leadership are keys to the success of any organization. 

He and his wife Becky have been married 25 years, raising four children of their own and adopting a fifth from foster care in November 2019.  Chief Baker views his position with the department and the community as a calling.  “My faith and my family are the two most important influences in who I am and why I do what I do.  To whom much is given, much is expected and I am certain the Good Lord expects a lot from me.  I strive daily to not let Him down and know the lives of those around me are improved as a result.”