Attorney General Dustin McDaniel presents the Officer of the Year award. (Photo Courtesy: Steve Payne)
Six Arkansas officers were recognized during the Officer of the Year awards ceremony Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy: Steve Payne)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Six law enforcement officers in Arkansas were recognized Tuesday afternoon for providing exceptional service to their communities.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel recognized Patrolman Jonathan Schmidt of the Trumann Police Dept. with the Valor Tribute honor. Schmidt died last year in the line of duty. During a traffic stop on April 12, Schmidt and his sergeant, Corey Overstreet, were shot at by a man in the car they stopped. After being hit multiple times, Schmidt returned to help Overstreet, but Lard shot Schmidt again and killed him. The patrol car dashcam video captured the events of that night. Patrolman Schmidt was awarded "for his heroism and selfless actions to save his fellow officer."
Schmidt's parents and wife, Andrea, accepted the Valor Tribute on his behalf.
Cpl. David Passen with the Van Buren Police Dept. received the 2012 Outstanding Police Officer of the Year. He was nominated and selected for the honor for his role in controlling James Ray Palmer. On Sept. 13, 2011, Palmer went to the Crawford County Courthouse armed with an assault rifle, looking to kill Judge Gary Cottrell. While Cottrell was not in the building, Palmer opened fire in the courthouse, shot Cottrell's receptionist, and left the building. As Passen responded to the incident, Palmer shot his patrol car 16 times; seven of those rounds hit the driver's door. Passen moved his vehicle to protect the other units responding, got out of his car, and returned fire on Palmer until he was fatally shot.
Van Buren Police Dept. Chief Kenneth Bell nominated Passen and he was awarded for his quick action and devotion during this time.
Four other officers received awards for Officer of the Year in their districts:
District One: Cpl. David Jones, Arkansas State Police
District Two: Sgt. Kenneth Poore, Yell County Sheriff's Dept.
District Three: Officer Blake Williamson, Fayetteville Police Dept.
District Four: Cpl. Pete Penney, Arkansas State Police