Officer Robert W. Arnold, 34, of the Orange Police Department has been promoted to the rank of captain, Chief Sam Kittrell announced.

Arnold joined the department in 2004 and has worked in the patrol division since that time. He was formerly a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Arnold lives in Orange with his wife Sha Tonya Arnold and their two children. He graduated from West Orange-Stark High School in 1993 and received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Lamar University in 1998.

“The promotion of Capt. Arnold is a milestone event in the history of the department,” Kittrell said. “At no time in the almost 100 years since the department was formed has there ever been an African-American who has achieved the rank of captain. While we recognize this momentous event we are even more proud that aspect of the promotion is an important side note and not the prominent reason for our celebration.

Kittrell said the promotion brings about an important step in a continuing transformation that will provide the leadership necessary to carry the department forward in the years to come.

“The technological and sociological changes in society are such that the leader of tomorrow will not only need the skill sets necessary in the past but the leader in the future will have to lead in a world dominated by technology and by the ever-changing demographics of our citizenry,” he said. “Capt. Arnold is well suited to face those challenges.”

Arnold has an uncle who is also an officer with the OPD. Officer Chris Arnold is an almost 20-year veteran of the department and has served as mentor and partner for Capt. Arnold over the course of his career. Capt. Arnold is the son of Robert and Sheila Arnold of Orange.