News Releases

    Rutledge Names Arkansas State Police Senior Corporal Becky Vacco Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

    October 2, 2018

    Recognizes regional winners and outstanding officer in each county

    BENTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the annual awards and recognition luncheon during the 2018 Law Enforcement Summit at the Benton Event Center, where she announced Arkansas State Police Senior Corporal Becky Vacco as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. A record 648 officers from across the State attended the summit, which is in its 16th year.

    Corporal Vacco recently assisted three law enforcement agencies in investigations of crimes against children. One was a case of an 8-week-old child with 18 broken ribs and a leg fracture. The case resulted in the father pleading guilty to first degree battery and sentenced to 35 years. Another case was the death of a 23-month-old child that resulted in a life sentence for the suspect. In the third case, a 3-week-old male had a broken clavicle and numerous bruises including one that had caused brain swelling and seizures. Vacco conducted numerous interviews and after seven months arrested both parents. The victim, now 2, will require round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

    Vacco was nominated by Arkansas State Police Lieutenant Kim Warren who said, “Perhaps the greatest attribute of Special Agent Vacco is her willingness to take on cases involving child abuse. It’s my opinion that no other type of investigation takes as great a toll on the investigator as crimes in which children are victimized.”

    “The dedication of Corporal Vacco to stand up for victims of child abuse is admirable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas is lucky to have officers like Corporal Vacco who are willing to represent these victims against their accuser, often giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves. It is an honor to not only recognize her, but also the regional and county winners and to thank the many brave men and women in blue who sacrifice so much to protect our communities.”

    The other Regional Officers of the Year included: Wildlife Officers Troy Sayger and Matt Tenison, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Southeast Region, for their work to save a suicidal teen in inclement weather; Corporal Brandon Cook, Arkansas State Police, Southwest Region, for saving a woman who had jumped off a bridge; Lieutenant Chris Ameling, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Central Region, for tending to a woman trapped inside a structure fire by keeping her calm until firefighters could arrive; Patrolman Lyle Fultz, Fairfield Bay Police Department, Northwest Region, for entering a burning building to rescue a resident, saving his life.

    A list of the outstanding officer winners from each county can be found at the conclusion of this release.

    Rutledge also presented a VALOR tribute, which is given in honor of members of the law enforcement community who tragically lost their lives while in the line of duty this past year. This year’s tribute was presented to K9 Trooper Hemi with the Arkansas State Police.

    Rutledge gave special recognition to Richard Davis, the Director of the Arkansas State Fusion Center, who passed away in May.

    The summit was kicked off by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who spoke about his efforts to combat human trafficking. Attorney General Reyes has been a leader and an international voice leading Utah to aggressively fight human trafficking by introducing innovative education campaigns, support of anti-human trafficking legislations, victim recovery and advocacy. The success of his multifaceted effort has been accomplished by grassroots and non-governmental organizations efforts, partnerships with local law enforcement officers and agencies, as well as work initiated by his office through the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force and prosecutors of Utah SECURE Strike Force.

    Dennis Debbaudt spoke to attendees about autism risk and safety management in various emergency situations, especially in regard to individuals on the autism spectrum. It is critical that first responders have working knowledge of autism and the wide variety of behaviors individuals on the autism spectrum may exhibit in emergency situations.

    And the afternoon concluded with a presentation from Jeffrey McGill, formerly with the Okalossa County, Florida, Violent Fugitive Task Force. McGill discussed surviving traumatic stress to address the far reaches of a critical incident and what officers, supervisors, trainers and families need to know about traumatic stress.

    County Officers of the Year

    Arkansas County

    Officer Paul Colvin, Stuttgart Police Department

    Ashley County

    Wildlife Officer Eric Smith, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Baxter County

    Senior Corporal Becky Vacco, Arkansas State Police

    Benton County

    Officer Ericka Williams, Bentonville Police Department

    Boone County

    Trooper Jason Hutcheson, Arkansas State Police

    Bradley County

    Corporal Robert Sellers, Arkansas Department of Transportation

    Calhoun County

    Deputy Clifton Humphries, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office

    Carroll County

    Wildlife Officer Kelli Sanders, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Chicot County

    Chief Percy Wilburn, Lake Village Police Department

    Clark County

    Investigator Sandra Jones, Clark County Sheriff’s Office

    Clay County

    Chief Deputy Tom Colbert, Clay County Sheriff’s Office

    Cleburne County

    Officer Austin Miller, Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office

    Cleveland County

    Chief Deputy Gary Young, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office

    Columbia County

    Investigator Kelly Blair, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office

    Conway County

    Trooper Corey Earls, Arkansas State Police

    Craighead County

    Sergeant Philip Vanwinkle, Craighead County Sheriff’s Office

    Crawford County

    Trooper Joshua Elmore, Arkansas State Police

    Crittenden County

    Corporal Flarcell Tate, Arkansas State Police

    Cross County

    Sergeant Luke Cantrell and Sergeant Jeff Nichols, Cross County Sheriff’s Office

    Dallas County

    Chief Jimmy Vaughan, Fordyce Police Department

    Desha County

    Chief Everett Cox, Dumas Police Department

    Drew County

    Sergeant David Outlaw, Arkansas State Police

    Faulkner County

    Investigator Kennon Cook, Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office

    Franklin County

    Senior Corporal Rickey Denton, Arkansas State Police

    Fulton County

    Chief Deputy John Cawvey, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office

    Garland County

    Corporal Brandon Cook, Arkansas State Police

    Grant County

    Corporal Tommy Holcomb, Grant County Sheriff’s Office

    Greene County

    Lieutenant Scott Snyder, Paragould Police Department

    Hempstead County

    Corporal Dennis Hovarter and Corporal Jeffery Neel, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Hot Spring County

    Lieutenant Glen Pye, Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office

    Howard County

    Corporal Keith Teague, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Independence County

    The late Chief Deputy Jeff Sims, Independence County Sheriff’s Office

    Izard County

    Trooper Rodney Villiger, Arkansas State Police

    Jackson County

    Corporal Ronald Laslo, Arkansas State Police

    Jefferson County

    Trooper Kevin Helm and Corporal Dustin Thompson, Arkansas State Police

    Johnson County

    Officer Lance Clubb, Clarksville Police Department

    Lafayette County

    Wildlife Officer Andrew Watson, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Lawrence County

    Deputy Joseph Carey, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office

    Lee County

    Sergeant Dale Acosta, Marianna Police Department

    Lincoln County (TIE)

    Captain Kenneth Tillman, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office

    Sergeant Ben Reeves, Star City Police Department

    Little River County

    Wildlife Officer Cody Standifer, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Logan County

    Trooper Jed Bolyard, Arkansas State Police

    Lonoke County

    Deputy Dallas Mauk, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office

    Madison County

    Corporal Jonathon Cornelison, Madison County Sheriff’s Office

    Marion County

    Corporal Tim Davenport, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Miller County

    Detective Shane Kirkland and Detective Wayne Easley, Texarkana Police Department

    Mississippi County

    Deputy Johnathon Boatman, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office

    Monroe County

    Corporal Damon Dobson, Arkansas State Police

    Montgomery County

    Lieutenant Greg Harmon, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

    Nevada County

    Chief Joey Beavers, Prescott Police Department

    Newton County

    Lieutenant Kenny Seay, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Ouachita County

    Deputy Ryan Coleman, Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office

    Perry County

    Reserve Deputy Nathan Williams, Perry County Sheriff’s Office

    Phillips County

    Officer Princess Burnside, Arkansas Department of Community Correction

    Pike County

    Sergeant Ronnie White, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Poinsett County

    Sergeant Charles Jones and Assistant Chief Jon Redman, Trumann Police Department

    Polk County

    Patrolman Paul Arceneaux and Patrolman Mike Wolf, Mena Police Department

    Pope County (TIE)

    Sergeant Chris Goodman, Arkansas State Police

    Corporal Brenda Stephenson, Arkansas State Police

    Captain Tammy Dougan, Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety

    *Dougan and Stephenson were jointly nominated for the same incident

    Prairie County

    Wildlife Officers Troy Sayger and Matt Tenison, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Pulaski County

    Lieutenant Chris Ameling, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office

    Randolph County

    Wildlife Officer Jeff Dalton, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    St. Francis County

    Corporal Frank McMillion, Arkansas State Police

    Saline County

    Deputy Jack Campbell, Saline County Sheriff’s Office

    Scott County

    Special Agent Sam Bass, Arkansas State Police

    Searcy County

    Wildlife Officer Ken Nelson, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Sebastian County

    Officer Keith Shelby, Fort Smith Police Department

    Sevier County

    Wildlife Officer Sydney Grant, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Sharp County

    Detective Sergeant Aaron Presser, Sharp County Sheriff’s Office

    Stone County

    Corporal Chad Cruce, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

    Union County

    Deputy Aaron Galbraith, Union County Sheriff’s Office

    Van Buren County

    Patrolman Lyle Fultz, Fairfield Bay Police Department

    Washington County

    Trooper Ryan Leuer, Arkansas State Police

    White County

    Officer Kristen Higgs, Bald Knob Police Department

    Woodruff County

    Special Agent Randall Murphy, Arkansas State Police

    Yell County

    Sergeant Joe Carter, Arkansas State Police

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