TROOPERS HONORED FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE: TROOPERS OF THE YEARS & OTHERS RECOGNIZED IN CEREMONYMay 20, 2014
Corporal Alvernon Rogers and Special Agent Matt Roberson were presented awards today recognizing them as Arkansas State Troopers of the Year. The pair was among a group of nine State Troopers receiving the most esteemed honors bestowed annually by the Arkansas State Police during the department’s annual awards ceremony.
S/A Roberson was also awarded the State Police Medal of Valor for his role in a 2013 White County SWAT operation involving a barricaded suspect who used gunfire in an attack on state and local officers.
Captain (retired) Steve Coleman of Greenwood was awarded the department’s Distinguished Meritorious Service Award.
As a former commander of Troop H (Fort Smith), Coleman was recognized for his cumulative thirty-three years of service as an Arkansas State Trooper. In particular Coleman was recognized for his work coordinating law enforcement and public safety operations outside the grounds of a week-long music festival held annually which attracts more than 20,000 people worldwide into Franklin County.
Coleman was also recognized for assisting the Scott County Sheriff’s Department last year following the drowning death of Sheriff Cody Carpenter and his continuing support to county officials in the aftermath of the deadly flood.
Coleman is also credited with outstanding service during the 2005 airlift operations that brought more than 10,000 Hurricane Katrina refugees into Arkansas and his work in dispersing the refugees to relief camps established across Arkansas.
Special Agent (Corporal) Mark Brice of Conway County, a fourteen year veteran of the department assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, Company E, was presented the State Police Meritorious Service Award for his persistence in what began as a missing person case reported by the Perry County Sherriff’s Department. Following an extended investigation S/A Brice began to suspect the victim may have been murdered and eventually developed information that directed him to three suspects and a site where the body of the missing woman had been dumped.
More than a year after opening the case, the cumulative testimony and investigative file developed by S/A Brice were credited with leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.
Troopers (First Class) James Avant and Brandon Cook were presented the Arkansas State Police Trooper’s Cross for their demonstration of courage during an armed confrontation and shooting incident at a Garland County residence.
TFC Cook and Avant are seven and six year department veterans respectively and were assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K (Hot Springs) when they answered the call to assist local authorities. While approaching the front door of the residence the two troopers and a sheriff’s deputy were confronted by an individual who leveled a gun at the troopers and refused to follow their orders to drop the gun. Necessary force was used by the troopers so they could make their way inside the home to rescue a woman being held by the gunman.
Three Arkansas State Troopers were recognized for their human compassion and awarded the departmental Lifesaving Award.
Trooper Benjamin Hoyt, a four year department veteran from Vilonia, was recognized for his selfless act of courage attempting to rescue an individual threatening to commit suicide by jumping from a river bridge. During the rescue attempt, the individual was precariously close to the edge of the bridge leaving Trooper Hoyt to place his own life in peril as he quickly pulled the person from imminent danger.
Sergeant Darren Neal, an eighteen year department veteran from Prescott, is credited with saving the life of a woman at a rural Nevada County restaurant who had choked while eating. Sergeant Neal recognized the woman was not breathing and implemented the Heimlich maneuver which cleared the victim’s airway.
Sergeant Eric Agee, a sixteen year department veteran from Conway, saved the life of woman he found sitting on the guard rail of a river bridge. As Sergeant Agee moved closer to the woman and began talking to her, it became apparent the woman was edging her way off the rail and contemplating suicide. In a final desperate attempt to save the woman, Sergeant Agee lunged for the woman, risking his own life, pulling her to safety.
Wesley Jackson, of Wynne, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for contacting an Arkansas State Trooper in the immediate aftermath of a local bank robbery.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to citizens or law enforcement officers of another department who may assist the Arkansas State Police in the apprehension of a criminal or who lend assistance in such a way that it may place the individual in imminent danger.
Jackson had noticed an individual walking away from the bank and was able to provide a detailed description of a man he believed might be the suspected bank robber. Jackson was also able to provide an accurate description of the truck he saw the suspect drive away and the direction of the suspect’s travel out of town.
The information provided by Jackson guided State Troopers directly to the suspect’s get-away route and in a matter of only minutes resulted in the arrest of the robbery suspect.