Protect and serve

By Mark Oliver

For nearly 15 years, Detective Ashley Noel has worked tirelessly to make the 501 a safer place to live and raise families, serving as a beacon of hope in a difficult world. As a detective in the North Little Rock Police Department specializing in assault cases, Arkansas’s most vulnerable citizens depend on her for safety and peace of mind.

“Intimate crimes are the least reported crimes because of how sensitive they are,” Noel said. “It is my duty to be a voice for victims and to let them know that someone is listening to them.

“When I can put a really bad person in jail and tell a victim that they can sleep better at night, it makes everything worthwhile. Periodically, victims check in with me to thank me and let me know that they’re safe. That reminds me that what I’m doing each day matters.”

“Ashley is an invaluable member of our North Little Rock Police Department family. She is a committed professional devoted to serving the City of North Little Rock. As a detective, Ashley approaches her work with passion, always putting the victims first and seeking justice for them. She balances her role as a devoted mother and wife while also being an inspiring role model to members of NLRPD as well as the youngest members of our community.” — Carmen Helton, Media Relations Bureau, Sergeant, North Little Rock Police Department

Noel’s desire to serve began at a young age.

“I’ve always been interested in law enforcement,” Noel said. “From watching crime shows when I was little, to going on ride-alongs with my family members in law enforcement, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the daily life of a police officer. That grew my interest even more and led me to what is now my career.”

For Noel, the rest was history. The Little Rock Central High School graduate achieved a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Central Arkansas and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, then joined the force and quickly made an impact in her community.

“After 12 weeks of training and six months beside a field training officer, I moved to solo patrol,” Noel said. “I became a dependable officer who wrote very good reports while on patrol. When I interviewed to become a crimes against children investigator, my supervisors felt that I would be a great fit.”

From interviewing victims and witnesses of crimes to interviewing and arresting suspects, drafting affidavits and assembling case files, Noel’s work is demanding but rewarding.

“Though my job is busy, my coworkers make it fun for me,” Noel said. “They keep me laughing and keep morale up. I love working with them.”

According to Noel, the secret to managing a high-stress career requires a focus on self-care.

“Over the years, I have learned to pour into myself,” Noel said. “I cannot give to my job if I am empty inside. For me, self-care looks like exercise, eating balanced meals, spending time with family and friends, watching TV shows that have nothing to do with police work and asking others for help when required.”

Noel’s story is one of overcoming adversity, and she hopes to inspire those looking to follow in her footsteps.

“I didn’t come from a perfect family nor a high-income family,” Noel said. “I knew that I wanted a better life for myself, and I pursued that. No matter where you come from, you are not your circumstances. If you are passionate about something, you should go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do.”

Amid a male-dominated profession, Noel takes pride in being a role model for young women.

“Girls can do just as much as their male counterparts,” Noel said. “Don’t be intimidated by a profession that you are a minority in. You can be an asset to whichever profession you decide to pursue.”

Until the day crime no longer exists, Noel will continue to seek justice for victims. 

“My job is to make a victim as whole as possible, given the circumstances,” Noel said. “It is hard to report an intimate crime, but it gets better. You may not be the only victim. Coming forward may help save another life. To the readers who are victims, my team and I are here for you every step of the way, and will make sure that you don’t feel alone in the process of obtaining justice.”

Mark Oliver
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