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STATE POLICE HONOR TOP TROOPER CORPORAL COLEMAN TROOPER OF THE YEAR - DEPARTMENT HONORS PRESENTED DURING ANNUAL CEREMONY

May 19, 2015

  (LITTLE ROCK) – Corporal Vic Coleman, a twenty-nine year veteran State Trooper assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Interstate Criminal Patrol Team was awarded the department’s Trooper of the Year Award (2014).

  The award was presented by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, during the Annual Arkansas State Police Awards Luncheon.  Also attending the ceremony were members of the Arkansas State Police Commission.

  Corporal Coleman is recognized nationally among highway patrol interdiction officers for his expertise in identifying criminal suspects transporting large quantities of narcotics and other illegal substances across U.S. and state highways.  His criminal patrol interdiction investigations have opened new leads in numerous federal investigations.

  During 2014 Corporal Coleman seized a total of 833 pounds of marijuana, 22 pounds of cocaine, 4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 3 pints of codeine and $246,866 in cash connected to illegal narcotics trafficking.

  Corporal Coleman is also known for exhibiting exceptional human compassion by using his own financial resources to assist travelers passing through Arkansas who may not have the means to buy food or lodging or paying for a tow truck when their vehicle is disabled along the highway.

  Also receiving awards today were:

  Medal of Valor Award

  Trooper Buster Rinks - On October 17, 2014 Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Trooper Buster Rinks, along with Searcy County Deputy Lang Holland responded to a call in reference to a man with a gun at Serenity Farms Restaurant in Leslie, Arkansas.

  Trooper Rinks and Deputy Holland were aware the scene was volatile and involved possible hostages; however the two officers entered the business fully aware that this action could place them at peril of death or grave bodily harm.  After entering the building Deputy Holland observed a man with a gun in close proximity to a potential hostage.

  Deputy Holland ordered the man to drop the weapon and at that point the man pointed his weapon at Deputy Holland and fired.  The bullet struck Deputy Holland in the hip, Trooper Ricks quickly responded with return fire at the armed gunman, which provided cover fire for the injured deputy.

  When Deputy Holland perceived the subject was intent on inflicting further harm, he also returned fire.

  Following the gun battle, Trooper Rinks quickly secured the wounded suspect and then administered first aid to Deputy Holland as well as the wounded gunman.  The gallant efforts of Trooper Rinks and Deputy Holland in the Serenity Farms incident safeguarded local citizens and deterred an armed gunman intent on causing harm.

  Sergeant Ben Cross & Corporal Christopher Goodman - On October 24, 2014 at approximately 8:35 p.m. Sergeant Ben Cross was patrolling on State Highway 7 north in Russellville when he observed a vehicle travelling northbound driving erratically.  The vehicle which had been reported stolen fled north into Dover and then traveled approximately 10 miles east on State Highway 27 before turning into a private drive.

  As the driver exited the car and fled on foot a female passenger was taken into custody.

  A perimeter was established and a manhunt ensued.  Sergeant Ben Cross received the assistance of the North Central Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction, which consisted of Lieutenant Steven Lively, Sergeant Kyle Moody and Sergeant Heath Branscum.

  Along with the ADC personnel, Sergeant Cross and State Police Corporal Chris Goodman proceeded on foot to locate the suspect who was found hiding in tall, thick grass and briars more than 1,000 feet from where the search began.

  As the suspect raised one hand he reached for a gun with the other and began to point it in the direction of the search team that had assembled at the site.  Officers fired on the suspect mortally wounding him.

  Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards

  Special Agent Larry J. Carter is assigned to the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division, Company E (Pope County). 

  S/A Carter opened twenty-six criminal cases and closed ten during 2014, including six death investigations that included five different homicides.  He assisted other Company E agents with seven additional death investigations.

  In addition to his duty assignments during 2014, S/A Carter developed new leads and located important evidence involving a four year old homicide case that subsequently resulted in the arrest of a suspect.

  Corporal Dwight Lee is assigned to the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division, Troop H headquartered at Fort Smith.  He serves on the department’s Honor Guard detail and is also a certified Field Training Officer who has been assigned to innumerable new State Police Trooper Recruits.

  During his career Corporal Lee has demonstrated an extraordinary dedication to detecting and arresting impaired drivers.  Between 2011 – 2014 Corporal Lee removed from the highway by arrest 558 impaired drivers.

  Corporal Olen Craig is a thirty-three year veteran of the Arkansas State Police assigned to the department’s Highway Patrol Division, Troop H headquartered at Fort Smith.

  Corporal Craig has seized a record amount of illegal narcotics being shipped across Arkansas.  His cumulative record of drug seizures includes more than 5.5 tons of marijuana, thirty-six pounds of methamphetamine, seven pounds of heroin, 342 pounds of cocaine and more than $2-million dollars in cash associated with narcotics shipments.

  Corporal Mike Nelson has been assigned to the Arkansas State Police Administrative Services Division, Training Section since 2008.

  Corporal Nelson currently serves as the Assistant Lead Drill Instructor for troop school and has assisted in training and mentoring over 276 Arkansas State Police recruits and assists with in-service training for all state police commissioned personnel. 

  Corporal Nelson has served on the SWAT team since 2004 and currently serves as the assistant lead explosive breacher.  In October of 2014, Corporal Nelson was one of two Arkansas State Police Troopers who served as keynote speakers at the International Explosives Breacher’s Conference attended by more than 400 individuals world-wide.

  Civilian Employee of the Year

  Janet Chappelle is a thirty-one year veteran of the Arkansas State Police.  She is assigned to the department’s Administrative Services Division.

  Among Chappelle’s primary duties is the responsibility to plan and coordinate the Arkansas State Police Commissioned Officers promotional testing procedures and to assist the division commander and State Police Director during the interview and hiring process of State Police Recruits.

  During the most recent promotional testing cycle, Chappelle devoted more than 130 hours during the final two-week preparatory process.

  Chappelle is recognized among her peers and State Police commanders for her institutional knowledge of the Arkansas State Police, particularly its administrative processes.  She is also instrumental in the administration of the State Police uniformed and retiree insurance services.

  Distinguished Service Award Recipients

  Jason Rozanski & Charlotte Rackley

  On Monday, February 24, 2014 the State Police received a report of a vehicle that had left the highway along Interstate 40 and was quickly being submerged in a nearby creek.

  Jason Rozanski and Charlotte Rackley both witnessed the crash, stopped and jumped into the frigid waters of the creek, pulled the driver from the vehicle, moved to safety and initiated life saving measures.

  Lang Holland III - Searcy County Sheriff’s Deputy

  On October 17, 2014 Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Trooper Buster Rinks, along with Searcy County Deputy Lang Holland responded the report of an armed gunman inside Serenity Farms Restaurant in Leslie, Arkansas.

  Upon arriving outside the restaurant Trooper Rinks and Deputy Holland entered the business fully aware their lives would be in extreme risk.  Deputy Holland was first to encounter the gunman and ordered him to drop the gun.

  The suspect ignored the order and instead fired on Deputy Holland striking him in the hip.

  Trooper Ricks took up a position to offer cover fire for Deputy Holland to secure a safe position.

  As the gun battle ended, Trooper Rinks secured the wounded suspect, then administered emergency first aid to Deputy Rinks and the gunman.  The gallant efforts of Trooper Rinks and Deputy Holland safeguarded local citizens and stopped the gunman’s intent on causing further harm or death.

  Lieutenant Steven Lively, Sergeant Kyle Moody & Sergeant Heath Branscum – Arkansas Department of Correction

  On October 24, 2014 at an Arkansas Department of Correction search team joined Arkansas State Troopers (Sgt.) Ben Cross and Chris Goodman as the two troopers established a perimeter around a stolen car from which a fugitive had escaped into a nearby thicket.

  Moving into an area about 1,000 feet from where the car was abandoned, the Troopers and ADC personnel encountered the suspect who raised a gun leaving the lawmen no recourse but to open fire mortally wounding the suspect.

  Arkansas Department of Correction Lieutenant Steven Lively, Sergeant Kyle Moody and Sergeant Heath Branscum are to be commended for their selfless act of courage to enter the search perimeter and serve alongside the State Troopers to locate the fugitive despite the threat of personal harm.

  Danny Martin - Nevada County Sheriff, Joey Beavers - Prescott Assistant Police Chief & Cody McClure - Prescott Police Patrolman

  On December 29, 2014 Nevada County Sheriff Danny Martin, Prescott Assistant Police Chief Joey Beavers and Prescott Police Patrolman Cody McLure coordinated with Arkansas State Trooper Darren Henley to stop a vehicle and apprehend an individual who was suspected in the abduction of a fourteen month old Houston, Texas child.

  The fugitive was taken into custody without incident and the child was returned to family.

  Official Commendations presented to Arkansas State Police personnel during the course of 2014:

  • Special Doug Estes
  • Sergeant (S/A) Mike Dawson
  • Corporal Arthur Raff
  • Corporal Bobby Clemence
  • Trooper (First Class) Michael Bowman
  • Trooper Darren Henley
  • Crimes Against Children Area Supervisor, Michelle Gatlin
  • CACD Investigator Katherine Finnegan
  • Chief Telecommunications Specialist Mary Jo Saling
  • Corporal Jimmie Thomas
  • Trooper Steven Roberts
  • Special Agent Kevin Brown
  • Special Agent Ted Jones
  • Special Agent Scott Pillow
  • Special Agent Wendall Jines