As the chief law enforcement officer of the State, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge strives to collaborate with the State's law enforcement leaders to provide free training opportunities and resource materials, such as the Arkansas Law Enforcement Pocket Manual, to support Arkansas's law enforcement community, as well as recognize their dedicated service.
Law Enforcement Summit and Officer of the Year Awards
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge hosted the 2019 Law Enforcement Summit October 1, 2019 at the Benton Event Center, where she announced Washington County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Brett Thompson as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. A record 672 law enforcement personnel from across the State attended the 17th annual summit and heard from experts on recent issues facing the law enforcement community, including medical marijuana and eyewitness identification.
The 2019 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year recipient, Corporal Brett Thompson, was recognized for an incident on November 11, 2018, when he stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in Tontitown. As the suspect stopped the vehicle, he immediately began to fire at Corporal Thompson as he was exiting his patrol vehicle. The two engaged in an extended gunfight with the suspect advancing on Corporal Thompson. During this incident, two other civilian vehicles approached the scene before the drivers recognized the dangerous situation and safely left the perimeter of the gunfight.
Corporal Thompson was able to stop the advancement of the suspect through directed fire. Ultimately, the suspect retreated and fled in his vehicle where he later engaged in a pursuit by neighboring jurisdictions in Springdale and Fayetteville, and he exchanged fire with those officers. The suspect was taken into custody shortly thereafter.
Regional Officers of the Year recognized during the luncheon included: St. Charles Police Chief Jamie Forbes, Guy Police Department Senior Corporal Steven Rayburn, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission K-9 Handler Corporal Gary Stell, and Arkansas State Police Corporal Robert Stewart.
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 the family of Stone County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Michael Stephen.
Participants in attendance listened to a presentation from Colorado legal experts, David Blake, Chris Halsor and Cory Amend where they addressed the many challenges law enforcement experience with legal medicinal marijuana, including issues involving, possession, paraphernalia, open container, transportation and driving under the influence.
The summit was kicked off by Norwood, Massachusetts Police Chief William Brooks III discussing eyewitness identification. According to studies, it is estimated that approximately 70 percent of persons who are wrongfully convicted in our nation are convicted on the basis of erroneous eyewitness identification.
Rutledge welcomed Lauren Wagner, a High-Tech Crime Training Specialist who coordinates and provides training on high-tech crime investigations and forensics to local, state and federal justice and public safety agencies. She spoke on Online Investigations: Tools, Tips, and Tricks.
Assistant Attorney General Jill Irwin presented on Monsters behind the Machines, a look into some of the cases that have been investigated by the Attorney General’s Office Special Investigations Department.
Check our trainings page for upcoming trainings.
Law Enforcement Manual
The Ninth Edition of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Pocket Manual, which provides guidance to officers confronted with fundamental legal issues, is being printed in October 2019 and will soon be available to Arkansas officers.
The statutes and rules included are derived from current versions of the Arkansas Code Annotated and the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. Additional information is based on current judicial interpretations of statutes and rules.
Criminal law is subject to frequent changes. Therefore, officers should stay current on the law.