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April 18, 2007 (NORTH LITTLE ROCK) -Corporal Robert Meek, 57, of Harrison was named the recipient today of the 2006 Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award. Corporal Meek is a 32-year veteran of the department and is assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop I. Corporal Meek was also named among three state troopers to receive the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor during the annual department awards ceremonies held here today. The nomination of Corporal Meek for the awards is based on an April 3rd incident last year south of Harrison that evolved from an attempted enforcement stop that began with a speeding violation. The driver of the speeding vehicle refused to stop for Corporal Meek. A pursuit of the suspect vehicle ended at a rural farmhouse where the violator stopped the car, exited the vehicle brandishing a sawed-off shotgun and firing on Corporal Meek who was struck in the left arm and chest. Two passengers in the vehicle also exited the car and fled as the first shots were fired. Despite his wounds, Corporal Meek was able to return fire, wounding the suspect, then reported his position by radio to Troop I headquarters at Harrison and requested assistance. In connection with the same incident, Corporal Mike Thomas of Everton (Troop I) was awarded the Arkansas State Police Trooper’s Cross. Corporal Robert Meek receives the 2006 Trooper of the Year Award from Colonel Steve Dozier (left), Director of the Arkansas State Police and Commissioner Warren Dupwe, Vice-Chairman of the Arkansas State Police Commission. (Click on photo for larger image.) Corporal Thomas responded to Corporal Meek’s initial call for assistance and upon arrival found Corporal Meek had successfully managed to retain control of the shooting scene.department’s Official Commendation was awarded to each of the individuals for specific acts of service above and beyond the call of duty. Arkansas State Police policies with regard to the awarding of the Medal of Valor and Trooper’s Cross state, “…the medal of valor is the highest award presented to a commissioned or civilian employee of the Arkansas State Police.\" Department policy further states, \"The Trooper’s Cross is awarded to troopers and civilian employees who demonstrate courage in the face of extreme danger.” Troopers who are recipients of the Medal of Valor and Lifesaving are by policy design considered as nominees for Trooper of the Year. Among the other awards presented during today’s ceremonies: Sergeant Van Nowlin, of Mountain Home (Troop I) – Medal of Valor Sergeant Nowlin, was on duty February 4, 2006 when a Gassville (Baxter County) police officer was fatally shot during the course of an enforcement stop. Local law enforcement officers initiated a pursuit of the suspects and Sergeant Nowlin set up a roadblock not far from the shooting scene. At the roadblock the driver of the suspect vehicle fired his weapon at Sergeant Nowlin then evaded the block followed by Sergeant Nowlin. At a second roadblock, local law enforcement officers using a spike strip successfully deflated the tires of the vehicle with the shooting suspect; however, the driver continued to leave the area and continue toward the community of Norfork. Once in Norfork the suspect lost control of the vehicle in a crash with other vehicles and spun in the opposite direction facing Sergeant Nowlin who was now blocking the road with his patrol car. The suspect then shot his female passenger and began firing on Sergeant Nowlin and a Baxter County sheriff’s deputy who both returned fire. Trooper Matthew Roberson, of Rison (Troop F) (actively assigned to Troop D when cited incident occurred) – Medal of Valor Trooper Roberson responded on March 12th last year to an assistance request from a Crittenden County sheriff’s deputy who was confronted with a suspect armed with an ax and hammer at the scene of a domestic disturbance call. The suspect had broken out the deputy’s driver side window and was attempting to strike the deputy when Trooper Roberson arrived at which time the suspect then turned toward Trooper Roberson as he exited his patrol vehicle. Trooper Roberson ordered the suspect to drop the weapons. The suspect then the discharged the hammer and moved toward Trooper Roberson with the ax, striking the trooper’s patrol vehicle. The suspect continued to swing the ax as Trooper Roberson ordered him to drop the weapon. Concerned for the safety of all who were present at the disturbance, Trooper Roberson fired his service weapon striking the suspect in the leg, ending the violent encounter. Trooper Terry R. Burdin, of Leslie (Troop I) – Lifesaving Trooper Terry Burdin opened the door of his home on July 31st last year to a distraught neighbor holding her infant son. The eight-month-old baby was unconscious and not breathing. Trooper Burdin instructed the child’s relatives to call for help while he worked to dislodge an obstruction from the child’s airway. Trooper Burdin’s intervention resulted in restoration of the child’s breathing by the time a local ambulance arrived. Corporal David L. Smothers, of Russellville (Troop J) – Lifesaving Corporal David L. Smothers was patrolling Interstate 40 on April 27th 2006 when he learned that a vehicle occupied by three persons had left the roadway, traveled down a steep embankment and struck a tree. As Corporal Smothers approached the crash scene, he observed a man kneeling beside an unconscious woman near the vehicle and a young girl trapped inside the wreckage. Corporal Smothers began to attempt to remove the girl from the wreckage when he noticed the vehicle was beginning to become engulfed in fire. He then directed bystanders to move the couple away from the vehicle while he continued with efforts to free the girl. As the flames moved closer, Corporal Smothers was able to free the girl from the wreckage and is credited with saving her life. Corporal Ray Siggers, of Dumas (Troop E) – Trooper’s Cross On August 22nd last year, Arkansas State Police Corporals Ray Siggers and Kelvin Fells responded to assist McGehee police officers who were attempting to arrest a woman inside a local residence. The woman was believed to be armed, threatening to take her life and the lives of others inside the house. Upon his arrival, Corporal Fells was successful at establishing a line of communication with the woman through the closed front door of the home while Corporal Siggers entered the back door of the residence. Once in position inside the rear of the house, Corporal Siggers awaited the opportunity to subdue the woman as she continued to threaten to kill anyone with a gun that could now be seen by officers who had surrounded the house. As Corporal Fells continued to talk with the woman and distract her attention, Corporal Siggers was able to move in from the behind and disarm the woman as other officers moved-in the front door of the home. It was Corporal Siggers’ selfless act of courage that was credited with ending the armed stand-off. Corporal Darrell L. Astin, of Forrest City (Troop D) – Distinguished Meritorious Service Award Corporal Astin was recognized for his dedication and motivation to perform at an outstanding level of enforcement activity. During 2006, Corporal Astin seized 724 pounds of marijuana, 175 pounds of cocaine and in excess of $25,000 in suspected drug currency. Corporal Mitchell E. Carolan, of Alma (CID Company D) – Distinguished Meritorious Service Award Corporal Mitchell E. Carolan was awarded the distinguished meritorious service award for his continued commitment to identify and seize narcotics passing through Arkansas. Corporal Vic Coleman, of McGehee (troop of assignment is Troop A) – Distinguished Meritorious Service Award Corporal Vic Coleman was honored for his long history of commitment and exemplary success to identify and seize the illegal flow of narcotics across Arkansas highways. Corporal Richard Eads, of Ward (Troop A) – Distinguished Meritorious Service Award Corporal Richard Eads was honored for his long history of commitment and exemplary success to identify and seize the illegal flow of narcotics across Arkansas highways. Janet Chappelle, of Little Rock (Administrative Headquarters) – Civilian Employee of the Year Chappelle joined the department in 1996 following public service assignments in the State Treasurer’s Office and Secretary of State’s Office. Chappelle is assigned to the department’s Administrative Services Division and has worked extensively in health care insurance, worker’s compensation and catastrophic leave and family medial leave assignments. The civilian employee of the year award honors a civilian employee for outstanding performance or contribution to the mission of the Arkansas State Police. By recognizing a single civilian employee, the department acknowledges all civilian employees as indispensable and integral to the services delivered to the state’s citizens Qualification for the award may be based on single or cumulative acts of exemplary service or heroism. According to Arkansas State Police policy, “…the acts of the civilian employee of the year recipient must be so exemplary as to set the individual apart and above his or her peers.” During the course of 2006, there were seven other civilian employees whose exemplary work ethic and their untiring dedication to service to this department rose to a level worthy of being nominated for civilian of the year. The other nominees were: Kimberly D. Ervin, of Pine Bluff, is assigned to the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Hotline Unit. Ervin has demonstrated exemplary skills associated with collecting information from callers who report child maltreatment. Her worked has proven invaluable to field investigators who are dispatched to investigate the complaints. Yolanda J. “Loni” Felterman, of Clarksville, began her career with the department at the age of 17 working as a secretary at the departments Fort Smith, Highway Patrol headquarters (Troop H). In 1978 she transferred to the department’s Driver License Examination operations, later returning to Highway Patrol administrative assistant duties at Troop J in Clarksville. Jerry M. Green, of Mineral Springs, began his career with the department as a trooper assigned to Highway Patrol duties at Pine Bluff, Dumas and Ashdown. Following his law enforcement retirement, Green returned to work with the state police in a non-commissioned position as a Commercial Driver License examiner, stationed at Troop G in Hope. Donna J. Humphries, of Benton, was hired by the department’s Administrative Services Division in 2001 and later accepted a position in the Director’s Office in 2003 where she currently serves as an administrative assistant. Prior to her career assignments with the Arkansas State Police, Humphries was associated with municipal law enforcement and court system in southwest Arkansas. Robert Leal, of Shirley, was assigned as an investigator with the Special Investigations Unit of the Department of Human Services in 1997 when his position was transferred to the Arkansas State Police. Leal currently serves as a senior investigator in the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division. Tamara Newsom, of Bryant, has served the department is a variety of administrative support positions, predominately, however her assignments have been closely associated with duties within Highway Patrol, Troop A. While assigned to the Administrative Services Division, Newsom demonstrated exemplary technology skills by developing internal personnel accounting procedures still in use today. Bill Sadler, of Little Rock, has been employed by the department since 1997 having entered public service following a career as a journalist. Today Sadler serves as the Arkansas State Police Public Affairs and Special Projects Manager and supervises the department’s photo lab and video support unit. Three citizens at large received Arkansas State Police Distinguished Service Awards. These awards are to honor citizens or law enforcement officers representing other agencies who assist the Arkansas State Police in the apprehension of a criminal or who lend assistance in a manner that clearly and directly places the citizen in jeopardy of physical harm. The recipients of Distinguished Service Awards were: Michael H. Moore, of Mabelvale, was awarded a commendation for his selfless act of courage that occurred on January 1st last year. While returning from church Moore witnessed Corporal Richard Baxter struggling with a combative and intoxicated motorcycle operator. Without concern for his own safety, and not realizing that the trooper had already sustained two broken ribs and a torn ligament in the violent encounter and that the suspect was armed with a knife; he stopped to assist the trooper in taking the suspect into custody. Andrew D. Turpin, of Lincoln (Washington County) was awarded a commendation for a July 13th incident last year when he witnessed a vehicle leave the highway, strike a tree and burst into flames, trapping the driver inside the wreckage. Without concern for his own safety, and while sustaining personal injuries, Turpin rescued the victim from the burning wreckage. William H. Waton of Little Rock was awarded a commendation based on the events associated with a July 1st incident last year. Watson witnessed Trooper Roderick Trotter struggling with a combative individual who had been walking in heavy traffic within the interchange of Interstate 30 & 40 in North Little Rock. The suspect was able to break-away from Trooper Roderick and without concern for his own safety; Watson came to the aid of Trooper Roderick by assisting in the capture and arrest of the suspect.