TFC. BRANDON BENNETT NAMED TROOPER OF THE YEAR: CEREMONY HONORS OUTSTANDING SERVICE OF TROOPERS AND CIVILIAN STAFFMay 12, 2016
(LITTLE ROCK) – Trooper First Class Brandon Bennett, a seven year veteran Arkansas State Trooper, assigned to Highway Patrol Division Troop C (Mississippi County), has been awarded the department’s Trooper of the Year (2015).
The award was presented today by Governor Asa Hutchinson and Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, during the Annual Arkansas State Police Awards Luncheon.
TFC. Bennett was also awarded the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor. The honors were awarded for Bennett’s role in the July 1, 2015 apprehension of two Missouri fugitives who had shot a store clerk during a robbery.
The arrests followed a pursuit that began near the Missouri – Arkansas border. The gunmen had already shot at a Mississippi County deputy and TFC. Bennett before the driver of the robbery getaway car lost control and crashed in a Blytheville neighborhood. Both fugitives fled the area on foot. TFC. Bennett left his patrol car to assist in the search and encountered one suspect hiding in thick brush. TFC. Bennett was met with resistance from the suspect who struggled to break-away from the trooper. The suspect was handcuffed by TFC. Bennett and turned-over to local authorities.
Governor Hutchinson and Colonel Bryant also presented James Kingsbury with the Arkansas State Police Civilian Employee of the Year (2015).
Kingsbury, a ten year veteran of the state police, is assigned to the department’s Information Technology Section and is credited with the successful leadership in deployment and management of the state’s new eCitation software being used by law enforcement agencies across the state.
Special Agent Hays McWhirter (retired), of Ashdown, was the recipient of the Arkansas State Police Distinguished Meritorious Service Award.
S/A McWhirter (ret.) was recognized for his cumulative career spanning more than four decades with the Arkansas State Police.
McWhirter was assigned to CID, Company C in 1985 where he opened 1,569 criminal cases during the course of his career in southwest Arkansas. At the time of his retirement earlier this year, McWhirter was the senior agent assigned to the state police CID.
Corporal Freddy Ware, of the department’s Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Mississippi County), was also awarded the Distinguished Meritorious Service Award.
Corporal Ware was recognized for his long-standing work devoted to mentoring children in the Mississippi County area and his work on the Rivercrest School Board.
Over the past eleven years Corporal Ware has been the coordinator of a local fishing rodeo for kids and served in various assignments through a local recreation center where he helped children in after-school assignments and sports activities.
Six state troopers were awarded life saving awards during the awards ceremony:
• Corporal Patrick Schmidt, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County), for his January 3, 2015 role in saving the life of a woman traveling along I-40 who had been stricken with symptoms of a stroke and had stopped breathing.
• Trooper First Class Roy Moomey, Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County), for his January 22, 2015 role in saving the life of a man who was trapped inside the wreckage of a vehicle that had begun to burn.
• Trooper Christopher Barnett, Highway Patrol Division, Troop E, (Jefferson County) for his February 10, 2015 role in saving the life of an unconscious man trapped inside a wrecked vehicle that had begun to burn.
• Trooper Andrew May, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A (Lonoke County), for his February 13, 2015 role in saving a jail inmate who had attempted suicide.
• Corporal Adrian Ray, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A (Pulaski County), for his February 20, 2015 role in saving a heart attack victim along U.S. Highway 67 near Jacksonville.
• Special Agent Jake Bartlett, Criminal Investigation Division, Company E, for his July 20, 2015 role in saving the life of a two-year old boy who had fallen from a pier into the Gulf of Mexico. S/A Bartlett was on vacation with his family at the time of the incident.
Fifteen Arkansas State Troopers and civilian personnel were also recognized during the ceremony today. The following individuals were awarded Official Commendations and received their certificates during meetings of the State Police Commission over the past year.
• Corporal Chase Melder, Highway Patrol Division, Troop J
• Corporal John Talley, Highway Patrol Division, Troop G
• TFC. Chris Harper, Highway Patrol Division, Troop K
• Mary Beth King, Highway Patrol Division, Troop K Telecom
• Tammy Dulaney, Crimes Against Children Division, Investigator
• Special Agent Philip Hydron, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A
• Special Agent Kevin Webb, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A
• Lieutenant Dennis Overton, Highway Patrol Division
• Special Agent John Rhone, Criminal Investigation Division, Company C
• Special Agent Jason Martin, Criminal Investigation Division, Company A
• TFC. Brandon Trewyn, Highway Patrol Division, Troop B
• TFC. Joseph Harris, Highway Patrol Division, Troop C
• Trooper Sor Lee, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L
• Trooper Ronnie Boyd, Highway Patrol Division, Troop L
• Corporal Rustin Hitchcock, Highway Patrol Division, Troop A