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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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