Trooper Matt Price, 36, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith, was presented with the prestigious Arkansas State Police Trooper of the Year Award (2019) at the Arkansas state capitol tonight during the department’s’ annual award ceremony.
Twenty-one state troopers and two civilian employees were presented awards in six different service categories. The award recipients were selected based on nominations through their respective chain of command for particular acts of extraordinary service that exceeded standards of expectations in their assigned duties as defined in the Arkansas State Police Policy and Procedures Manual.
Governor Asa Hutchinson and Jami Cook, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, addressed state police personnel through pre-recorded messages. Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police presented the awards.
Trooper Price was selected as Trooper of the Year (2019) based on a May 29, 2019 Crawford County manhunt involving a bank robbery suspect.
Trooper Price, a four-year veteran of the department, encountered the suspect fleeing the area in a vehicle along Interstate 40. While attempting to stop the vehicle, the driver began firing a gun at Trooper Price who returned fire wounding the suspect, yet continued to flee until Trooper Price was able to take the robbery suspect into custody.
The actions of Trooper Price, also led to his nomination and receiving the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor in addition to being considered among the nominees for Trooper of the Year (2019).
Arkansas State Police Civilian of the Year (2019):
Mike Patterson, 55, of Saline County, was presented the Arkansas State Police Civilian of the Year (2019) Award. Patterson, a 15-year veteran of the department, is assigned to the Highway Patrol Division command and administrative headquarters at Little Rock.
Working in an administrative assistant capacity, Patterson was recognized for streamlining multiple accounting processes and providing an improved means of personnel resource and division operating costs analysis.
A civilian of the year award nominee is considered through their respective chain of command based on extraordinary performance or contribution to the mission of the Arkansas State Police. Civilian employees are defined as non-commissioned employees who work in all divisions of the agency. Qualifications for the award pursuant to policy must be exemplary as to set the employee apart and above a peer.
Other award recipients recognized during the evening ceremony were:
- Corporal Billy Turnipseed, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in an August 17, 2019 incident. While assisting another trooper investigating a motor vehicle crash, Trooper Turnipseed observed one driver had attempted to commit suicide. The driver briefly held troopers at bay with a knife, leading Trooper Turnipseed to disarm the driver and begin immediate lifesaving measures while awaiting emergency medical personnel to respond to the crash scene.
- Trooper First Class Bo Hays, assigned to Troop K, headquartered at Hot Springs, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in an August 27, 2019 incident. TFC Hays responded to a shooting incident at a Polk County residence. Once inside the home, TFC Hays found the wounded victim lying in a pool of blood and immediately began lifesaving measures by applying a tourniquet that stopped the bleeding. TFC Hays continued to use his training to render medical aid to the victim until emergency medical personnel arrived.
- Trooper James Ray, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in a June 2, 2019 incident. Trooper Ray was among a group of first responders who hiked into a remote area north of Ozark in search of a helicopter that had reportedly crashed. At the crash site, the first responders discovered three of the four individuals onboard the helicopter had died. While preparing to extricate the lone survivor, Trooper Ray discovered that a tourniquet that had been applied to a leg of the survivor had failed to stop the bleeding. Trooper Ray applied his own tourniquet and successfully stopped any further loss of blood.
- Trooper Lonnie Moore, assigned to Troop J, headquartered at Clarksville, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role a February 27, 2019 incident. Trooper Moore encountered an individual threatening to commit suicide. The distraught man had crossed a guardrail on the outer edge of an Interstate 40 overpass. Trooper Moore successfully established rapport with the man and began slowly closing the distance between the two, eventually making contact and holding the man until others could move toward them and pull the man to safety.
- Trooper Lukas Tankersley, assigned to Troop K, headquartered at Hot Springs, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in a May 3, 2019 incident. While assisting Garland County sheriff’s deputies at the scene of a shooting, Trooper Tankersley used emergency medical equipment and supplies gathered from his patrol car to assess the victim who had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. Trooper Tankersley made repeated attempts to close the wound with a chest seal, leading him to pack the wound with gauze, and keeping pressure on the wound until emergency medical personnel arrived.
- Trooper Tyler Porter, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in a February 2, 2019 incident. Responding to a call of a medical emergency at a nearby residence, Trooper Porter found his grandfather there and determined he had sustained a leg injury, causing a significant amount of blood to have been lost. He was also experiencing a loss of consciousness. Trooper Porter applied pressure bandages and a tourniquet to the wound until emergency medical personnel arrived.
- Investigator Patricia Holloway, assigned to the Crimes Against Children
Division, Area 3, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for her role in a November 25, 2019 incident. While investigating a case involving a two year-old child, Investigator Holloway discovered “extreme” bruising over the child’s entire body and made immediate arrangements to have the boy taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Although the child had already been examined at a home county clinic, physicians at Children’s Hospital found evidence of ITP, a condition causing a person’s platelet count to fall below an accepted medical scale and range. The child’s platelet count was dangerously low and was in a life threatening range. Physicians have credited Investigator Holloway’s assessment with saving the child’s life.
Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards:
- Lieutenant Kevin Richmond (Special Agent), assigned to Criminal Investigation Division, Company D was presented the department’s Distinguished Meritorious Award. The award is the department’s highest form of recognition for meritorious service or achievement. In May 2017, Lieutenant Richmond was assigned additional command duties with the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, specifically developing and managing the $320,000 task force budget, purchasing and providing equipment and training for 50 affiliate agencies and 1,644 law enforcement officers. Under Lieutenant Richmond’s command, the task force opened more than 1,400 cases, resulting in 247 arrests. While supervising the task force, Lieutenant Richmond increased the number of participating agencies, coordinated thousands of cyber tips and identified 79 child victims. Although the command positon is primarily an administrative function, Lieutenant Richmond planned and executed a 2019 undercover operation to identify adults who were seeking children for illicit activities. The operation resulted in the arrests of one dozen suspects charged with state and federal crimes. During his special assignment, Lieutenant Richmond continued to lead the investigative work and supervise Arkansas State Police Special Agents assigned to Company D encompassing nine north and west Arkansas counties.
Medal of Valor:
The Medal of Valor is the highest award presented to a commissioned or civilian employee of the Arkansas State Police. The Medal of Valor is earned for extraordinary acts of valor and gallantry that clearly set the individual apart from other employees.
- Corporal Chad Staley was presented the Medal of Valor for his role in an August 21, 2019 incident while he was assigned to the department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team. The team responded to a Van Buren County hostage standoff situation. Corporal Staley developed an entry plan for the team to gain access to a residence where an armed individual was holding a nine year-old boy hostage. The plan was executed flawlessly, allowing troopers to enter undetected, confronting the gunman and safely extricating the child.
- Trooper Garrett Brock, assigned to Troop F, headquartered at Warren was presented the Medal of Valor for his role in an October 17, 2019 incident. While leaving Warren Trooper Brock initiated a traffic stop after observing a driver violation. The driver refused to comply and began to flee the area. During the course of a motor vehicle pursuit through a rural area of Bradley County, the driver of the suspect vehicle lost control of the car causing it to crash alongside a gravel road. The driver exited the vehicle and raised a handgun, pointing it at Trooper Brock. The suspect began to open fire on Trooper Brock who returned fire, striking the suspect who later died.
- Sergeant Philip Hydron and Corporal Mike Nelson were presented Medals of Valor for their roles in an August 27, 2019 incident while assigned to the Arkansas State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team. A homicide suspect who was believed to have killed two women in West Helena had barricaded himself inside a local residence. After four hours while troopers attempted to make contact with the suspect, an arrest team was formed to approach the residence at which time the suspect exited the house. Sergeant Hydron and Corporal Nelson moved-in to establish communication with the suspect who then raised a gun, pointing it in the direction of the two troopers. In an attempt to distract the suspect, state police snipers engaged the suspect with gunfire as both Sergeant Hydron and Corporal Nelson moved toward the residence. An ensuring exchange of gunfire led to the death of the suspect.
- Trooper Matt Price, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith was presented the Medal of Valor for his role in a May 29, 2019 incident. During a Crawford County manhunt for a bank robbery suspect, Trooper Price encountered the suspect fleeing the area in a vehicle along Interstate 40. While attempting to stop the vehicle the driver began firing a gun at Trooper Price who returned fire wounding the suspect, yet continued to flee until Trooper Price was able to take the robbery suspect into custody.
The Trooper’s Cross is awarded to Troopers and civilian employees who demonstrate courage at a level not justifying the Medal of Valor.
- Corporal Andrew Ault and Corporal Jason Baethke were presented the Trooper’s Cross for their roles in an August 27, 2019 incident while both were assigned to the Arkansas State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team. As two team members approached a West Helena residence where a homicide suspect had barricaded himself inside the home after allegedly killing two women, Corporals Ault and Baethke were assigned in sniper positions to cover the troopers approaching the residence. (*See narrative for Medal of Valor presented to Sergeant Philip Hydron and Corporal Mike Nelson.) Corporals Ault and Baethke engaged the suspect with gunfire as he exited the residence aiming a gun at the two SWAT team troopers nearest the house.
- Corporal Houston Talley (Special Agent), assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, Company B, headquartered at Pine Bluff, was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in an April 29, 2019 Jefferson County incident. Special Agent Talley was off-duty traveling with his family when he witnessed a motor vehicle crash. S/A Talley stopped at the crash site and began to render aid to the injured victims. Inside one of the vehicles, he found the entrapped driver, a woman, who said her two young grandchildren were in the backseat. Using a pry bar, S/A Talley was able to open one of car doors to extricate the driver, then began to crawl his way into the rear of the car which had been crushed, forcing the rear seat into the trunk. After moments of searching for the children, S/A Talley saw a child safety seat embedded in the floorboard. Still strapped into the car seat was an infant who S/A Talley removed from the wreckage, only to return and begin searching for the second child. Near the rear of the car, tangled within the crushed backseat, S/A Talley found a 4 year-old boy. Unable to remove the child until additional assistance arrived, S/A Talley stayed with the youngster in an attempt to provide moral comfort and render any medical aid he could. The young boy later died, however his grandmother and sister survived.
- Corporal Robert Kyle Jones, assigned to Troop G, headquartered at Hope was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in a July 16, 2019 Howard County water rescue incident. Two women and a small child were trapped inside a bus that had stalled along a flooded roadway near Dierks. As heavy rain continued to fall, and realizing it would be only a short time before the already swift current of the rising waters would turn into a churning river, Corporal Jones drove to his nearby home to retrieve a kayak and three life vests. He then returned to the area only to see his worst fear; water already inside the bus and quickly rising. Upstream from the bus Corporal Jones entered the fast-moving stream and maneuvered the kayak toward the vehicle knowing he would have to crash into the rear of the bus in what would be his one and only chance of getting inside to save the three occupants. With the help of the adult women, Corporal Jones was able to crawl through a window of the bus in order to get the life vests into the hands of the occupants. He then exited the bus through an emergency exit, re-entered the kayak and reached for the child being handed to him by the women. Once Corporal Jones was able to get the child into the hands of emergency personnel on higher ground, he returned to the bus twice more, successfully rescuing both adults.
- Sergeant Nicholas Brown was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in an August 21, 2019 incident while assigned to the Arkansas State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team. As the team developed an entry plan to extricate a child hostage that was being held by a Van Buren County gunman, Sergeant Brown volunteered to place himself in harm’s way and single handedly remove a barricade that had been placed against an exterior doorway. Gaining an unobstructed access to the particular entry point to the residence was vital to the plan as it would facilitate a means to enter the home undetected. Sergeant Brown was successful in his mission to remove the barricade allowing the team to enter and safely remove the hostage.
- Trooper Michael Kyle Ellison, assigned to Troop A, headquartered at Little Rock, was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in a November 11, 2019, Pulaski County incident. Sherwood police had contacted Troop A telecommunications requesting assistance in getting a vehicle stopped that was fleeing the area. As the Sherwood officers entered North Little Rock, the fleeing driver headed for Interstate 40 and eventually moved onto Interstate 30 (westbound). Trooper Ellison took the lead in the pursuit as it continued into southwest Little Rock along I-30 and onto Baseline Road. As the fleeing suspect continued to increase the speed of the vehicle he was driving and approaching Stagecoach Road, Trooper Ellison realized an opportunity was ahead that would allow for a PIT maneuver, forcing the car off the roadway and eliminating any threat of danger to other motorists. As the PIT was executed, the suspect lost control of the car, causing it to crash. Trooper Ellison then began to coordinate the extrication of the driver from the crash and set-up a clear path for emergency medical personnel to access the area.
Distinguished Service Award:
The Distinguished Service Award honors citizens or law enforcement officers from other agencies who assist the Arkansas State Police in the apprehension of a criminal in a manner that clearly and directly places the individuals in jeopardy, physical harm or death.
- Dylan Boucher of Pocahontas has been awarded the Arkansas State Police Distinguished Service Award for his role as a private citizen coming to the aid of an Arkansas State Trooper on October 17, 2019. Boucher had witnessed a motor vehicle crash along U.S. Highway 67. When Boucher saw one of the drivers leave the crash scene, he contacted Arkansas State Police Troop B Headquarters in Newport and began following the vehicle, keeping a Troop B telecommunications operator advised of his location. Trooper Andrew Lay was dispatched to the area and intercepted the hit and run driver. Trooper Lay initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver who began to resist the trooper’s attempt to arrest him. The two began to wrestle alongside the highway. Boucher had remained at the traffic stop and stepped from his vehicle to assist Trooper Lay getting the suspect under control.
*Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded during the course of 2019 during regular monthly meetings of the Arkansas State Police Commission. Certificate. * *Supporting information for the commendations is available upon request.
- Corporal Brandon Trewyn
- Trooper Drew Pannell
- Trooper John Bass
- Corporal Robert Stewart
- Corporal Shane Alkire
- Corporal Aaron Keith
- Corporal Jason Davis
- Trooper Trevor Stevenson
- Trooper Spencer Morris
- TFC Joshua Porter
- Corporal Dwight Lee
- TFC Chris Short