Rutledge Honors 2015 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officers of the Year
October 7, 2015
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the annual awards and recognition luncheon at the 2015 Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit at Camp Robinson. The Summit, in its 13th year, had a record 600 officers from across the State registered to attend over two days.
Rutledge announced today that Sergeant Ben Sisk and Officer Billy Williams of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have been named 2015 Officers of the Year. Sisk and Williams joined other law enforcement officers honored for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“It is my distinct honor to recognize the heroic efforts of Sergeant Sisk and Officer Williams and award them the 2015 Arkansas Officers of the Year award,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The bravery these two gentlemen showed helped save lives, and for that we are all grateful. It is also my privilege to honor the courage and commitment of each of the district winners. Thank you to all of Arkansas’s law enforcement officers who work hard every day and put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve their neighbors.”
Sisk and Williams immediately went into action to save the lives of three individuals who were stuck in a pontoon boat near a flood gate on the Arkansas River. The officers began to lose control of the boat as they approached the dam. After several unsuccessful attempts to pull out the occupants, Sisk requested that the open gates be closed to rescue the boaters. Although they only had a two-minute window to rescue the occupants before water would come rushing over the dam, Sisk and Williams safely towed the pontoon to the bank.
Also during the ceremony, Rutledge presented a VALOR tribute to the widow of the late Reserve Deputy Sonny Smith of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. Smith was shot and killed as he and other deputies searched for a burglary suspect in a rural area of Johnson County in May 2015.
Rutledge also presented a K9 VALOR tribute to K9 Titus and his handler Jason Farmer of the Little Rock Police Department. K9 Titus died as a result of heat exhaustion following a lengthy track down of a subject wanted for stealing items from vehicles.
In addition to these recognitions, four other officers from each congressional district were honored for their heroic efforts:
District 1: Corporal Victor Coleman of the Arkansas State Police. Coleman is known nationally and throughout the criminal interdiction community for his hard work and expertise in removing large quantities of narcotics and other illegal substances from the highways.
District 2: Detective Christian Sterka of the Little Rock Police Department. Each year Sterka sets a goal for himself to exceed the previous years’ fugitive arrests. In 2014, his goal was to exceed 176 arrests, and he was successful in assisting in the capture of 195 fugitives.
District 3: Officer Grant Hall of the Lowell Police Department. Hall responded to a vehicle crash in Northwest Arkansas on July 23, 2015. There were no injuries, but one of the individuals involved in the crash had flown in from Louisiana to visit her dying sister in Mountain Home one last time. Hall took care of Corbin at the scene and personally drove her to her family.
District 4: Investigator Gary Don Dorman of the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office. Dorman entered swift water of Pate Creek to rescue a driver trapped in his vehicle before the vehicle sank to the bottom.
In addition to today’s luncheon, the Summit also included presentations from three nationally renowned presenters:
Wichita Police Department Detective Tim Relph was a lead investigator in the task force that arrested Dennis Rader, the man better known as the BTK killer, the serial killer who murdered 10 people in and around Wichita between 1974 and 1991. Relph chronicled the timeline of events, tracking BTK’s history over three decades and will expound on the methods used to ultimately arrest Rader.
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was selected by Gov. Jay Nixon to coordinate law enforcement agencies amid the Ferguson Police response to protests following Michael Brown's death in 2014. After Johnson was appointed, highway patrol officers — wearing no SWAT gear — arrived in Ferguson less than a week after the shooting that prompted rioting. Cheers greeted Johnson when he told the crowd that he and his officers were "going to march with you."
Lt. Brian Murphy of the Oak Creek Police Department in Wisconsin was the first officer on the scene on Aug. 5, 2012, after Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others at a Sikh temple. Page shot Murphy 15 times at close range. Remarkably, Murphy was discharged from the hospital less than three weeks later and eventually returned to full duty. He recently retired and was awarded the Medal of Valor by Vice President Joe Biden in February.