Editors Note-In addition to Corporal Vacco, Mena Police Department Officers Paul Arceneaux and Mike Wolf were recognized as outstanding police officers from Polk County.


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

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


10-2-18 5:32 p.m. kawx.org 

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