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PCCUA design project strengthens relationship between young people and HWH police

Nov 30, 2017

Wanting to strengthen the relationship between the Helena-West Helena (HWH) police force and young people in the community, HWH Police Chief Patrick Smith partnered with Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA) for a unique community service project.

Smith wanted to revamp the department’s uniform arm patch and seal and enlisted the help of the PCCUA graphic communications program, led by Print Shop Director/instructor Vicki Cobb. 

“In response to the growing hostility toward law enforcement in our nation, I wanted to do something with the young people in our community to help bridge the gap between them and our police officers and bring us closer together,” said Smith. “This seemed like a great opportunity to do that.”

Cobb agreed to have members of her drawing class take on the project as a class assignment this semester. The chief began by inviting Cobb and her drawing class down to city hall for a tour of the facility and police department, which has recently undergone some renovation. He visited with them and showed them the current patch and seal. In creating new designs for each, he asked that they incorporate unique elements of HWH, such as agriculture, blues music, steamboats and other state and national symbols.

Cobb said each student was given the assignment of creating his/her own patch and seal. When the projects were completed, all of the designs were presented to Chief Smith, who selected the designs created by graphic communications major Elisiah Valley, who recently relocated to HWH from Alaska.

Smith said he selected her designs because she incorporated all of the elements he suggested, with the new seal featuring musical instruments, the scale of justice, a cotton field, a steamboat, and a symbol for racial unity. The current patch features only the Helena Bridge, but the new design more accurately depicts HWH with the Phillips County Courthouse, the Arkansas flag, the American flag, an eagle, and the year 2005, which was when Helena and West Helena merged.  Cobb noted that the eagle and courthouse on the new patch design were actually hand-drawn further demonstrating Valley’s skill as an artist.

Valley said she recently established her own business, Gracious Graphics, providing design work for various clients. Smith told her that he would be interested in working with her in producing designs for future projects and that he would like for her to autograph prints of her designs to be hung at city hall.

Cobb thanked her drawing class for their participation in this project, noting that their designs were so good, that Smith said choosing the right ones was a tough decision.

“I’m very proud of my students for their hard work on this project and for the skills they have learned, she said. “Projects like this are great experience for designing work for clients in the real world.”