Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Names Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and Regional and County Officers of the Year

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the annual awards and recognition luncheon at the 2016 Law Enforcement Summit at Camp Robinson where she announced Little Rock Police Officer Shawn Bakr is the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. Nearly 600 officers from across the State attended the summit, which is in its 14th year.

Bakr was also recognized as the Central Region Outstanding Officer for his response while working off-duty at Red Lobster in January when three individuals, two of them armed, came into the restaurant and threatened employees. Bakr was shot in the shoulder and returned fire before two of the suspects fled. Bakr followed them in pursuit. He then returned to the restaurant to make sure there were no other suspects and to tend to anyone injured.

“Officer Bakr is an outstanding example of the bravery, courage, and selflessness that makes the men and women in blue such remarkable public servants,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “His quick action helped resolve a threatening situation and likely saved countless lives. I am honored to recognize Officer Bakr for his heroic actions, as well as all of our regional winners and each outstanding officer in Arkansas’s 75 counties. Their commitment to protecting their communities and neighbors should make us all proud and thankful.”

The other Regional Officers of the Year included: Deputy Shawn Stephens, Independence County Sheriff’s Office, and Sgt. Terry Treadway, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office, Northeast Region; Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck, Northwest Region; Trooper Dallas Taylor, Arkansas State Police, Southeast Region; and Officer Brent Scrimshire, Hot Springs Police Department, Southwest Region.

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

Rutledge also presented VALOR tributes to those in the law enforcement community who tragically lost their lives while in the line of duty this past year. These tributes were presented to the spouses of Officer Robert Aaron Barker, McCrory Police Department, and Cpl. Bill Cooper, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.

Rutledge gave special recognition to those in law enforcement leadership who have passed away this year, including Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin, Drew County Chief Deputy Robin Hood, Berryville Police Chief David Muniz and founder of the University of Arkansas Police Department, Larry Slamons.

Before today’s luncheon, the summit’s keynote address was offered by Lt. Brad Toms of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who has been one of the central decision makers at the center of two major incidents that captured the world’s attention. Toms discussed lessons learned from the 2013 spate of violence against the California law enforcement community perpetrated by disgruntled former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner and the subsequent manhunt. He also discussed how those lessons were applied in 2015 when responding to a mass shooting terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino.

The two-day summit included breakout sessions on metal theft and cyber crime investigations taught by agents with the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division and offered sessions on the Arkansas Naloxone Access Act of 2015, investigating domestic violence cases and autism safety and awareness training.

Attendees also learned more about human trafficking investigations from the Maryland State Police and FBI and the challenges the State of Colorado faced with the legalization of recreational cannabis from the Denver Police Department.

Rutledge concluded the summit by moderating a law enforcement leadership panel. Panelists included Matthew Barden, Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge, Little Rock District Office; Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas State Police director; Jeff Crow, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission director; Scott Montgomery, Perry County sheriff; Diane Upchurch, FBI special agent in charge, Little Rock Division; and Chief J.R. Wilson, Hope Police Department.


County Officers of the Year

Central Region


Faulkner County

Officer Johnny Sowell

20th Judicial District Task Force

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration


Grant County

Deputy Tim Preator

Grant County Sheriff’s Office


Jefferson County

Special Agent Oscar Bullard and Special Agent Huston Talley

Arkansas State Police


Lonoke County

Officer Joshua Chaplin

Austin Police Department


Perry County

Corporal Jeremy Bishop and Corporal Robert Stout

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission


Pulaski County

Officer Shawn Bakr

Little Rock Police Department


Saline County

Corporal Jeff Plouch

Arkansas State Police


Northeast Region


Baxter County

Corporal David Small

Arkansas State Police


Clay County

Sheriff Terry Miller

Clay County Sheriff’s Office


Cleburne County

Sergeant David Bryant

Greers Ferry Police Department


Craighead County

Special Agent Adam Cornwell

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration


Crittenden County

Detective Freddy Williams

Marion Police Department


Cross County

Captain Jeffrey Stewart

Wynne Police Department


Fulton County

Chief Shad Overman

Salem Police Department


Greene County

Deputy Ken Womack

Greene County Sheriff’s Office


Independence County

Deputy Shawn Stephens

Independence County Sheriff’s Office


Izard County

Deputy Matt Churchwell

Izard County Sheriff’s Office


Jackson County

Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford

Newport Police Department


Lawrence County

Deputy Justin Dixon

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office


Mississippi County

Sergeant Terry Treadway

Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office


Poinsett County

Chief Tony Turner

Tyronza Police Department


Randolph County

Officer Brian Tillman

Pocahontas Police Department


Sharp County

Special Agent Wendall Jines

Arkansas State Police


St. Francis County

Detective Preston Gracey

Forrest City Police Department


Stone County

Corporal Dennis Simons

Arkansas State Police


White County

Corporal Tony Bowman

Arkansas State Police


Woodruff County

Patrolman Jared Williamson

McCrory Police Department


Northwest Region


Benton County

Captain Tim Cook

Bella Vista Police Department


Boone County

Chief James “Jim” Thomas

Bergman Police Department


Carroll County

School Resource Officer Craig Hicks

Berryville Police Department


Conway County

School Resource Officer Phil Blaylock

Morrilton Police Department


Crawford County

Chief Russell White

Alma Police Department


Franklin County

School Resource Officer Tim Culver

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office


Johnson County

Corporal Jacob Shook

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office


Logan County

Wildlife Officer Scott Basham

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission


Madison County

Captain Clay Rowland

Madison County Sheriff’s Office


Marion County

Assistant Chief Dusty Smith

Flippin Police Department


Newton County

Chief James “Buckie” Thomas

Jasper Police Department


Pope County

Detective Quinn Jones

Russellville Police Department


Searcy County

Chief Deputy Eric Owens

Searcy County Sheriff’s Office


Sebastian County

Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck

Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office


Van Buren County

Patrolman Donald Crispell

Fairfield Bay Police Department


Washington County

Sergeant Oscar Henson

Washington County Sheriff’s Office


Yell County

Deputy John Foster

Yell County Sheriff’s Office


Southeast Region


Arkansas County

Chief Ken Dempsey

Gillett Police Department


Ashley County

School Resource Officer Robert Black

Crossett Police Department


Bradley County

Deputy Kevin Black

Bradley County Sheriff’s Office


Calhoun County

School Resource Officer Terry Clark

Hampton Police Department


Chicot County

Corporal Keith Cardin

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission


Cleveland County

Chief Josh Bolland

Rison Police Department


Desha County

Patrolman Darren McAdoo

McGehee Police Department


Drew County

Trooper Caleb Pevehouse

Arkansas State Police


Lee County

Lieutenant Ocie Banks

Lee County Sheriff’s Office


Lincoln County

Deputy James Virden

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office


Monroe County

Trooper Rodney Davenport

Arkansas State Police


Phillips County

Chief Vincent Bell

Marvell Police Department


Prairie County

Trooper Dallas Taylor

Arkansas State Police


Union County

Lieutenant Steven Jerry

Union County Sheriff’s Office


Southwest Region


Clark County

Marshal Don Childres

Gurdon City Marshal’s Office


Columbia County

Deputy Brian Williams

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office


Dallas County

Sheriff Stan McGahee

Dallas County Sheriff’s Office


Garland County

Officer Brent Scrimshire

Hot Springs Police Department


Hempstead County

(nominated together)

Deputy Jerry Crider

Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office


Officer Jennifer Ghormley

Hope Police Department


Officer Dennis Hovarter

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission


Hot Spring County

Corporal Christopher Savage and K9 Luky

Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office


Howard County

Deputy Todd Tallant

Howard County Sheriff’s Office


Lafayette County

Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office


Little River County

Corporal Blake Broomfield

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission


Miller County

Corporal Kristi Bennett

Texarkana Police Department


Montgomery County

Investigator Elena Cannon

Office of Prosecuting Attorney, 18th West Judicial District


Nevada County

Sheriff Danny Martin

Nevada County Sheriff’s Office


Ouachita County

Instructor Erin Smelser

Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy


Pike County

Chief Deputy David Shelby

Pike County Sheriff’s Office


Polk County

Officer Will Strain

Arkansas State Parks


Scott County

Wildlife Officer Mac Davis

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission


Sevier County

Wildlife Officer Bernie Soliz

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission