NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - The criminal justice program at Arkansas State University Newport was rededicated Thursday, commemorating its new name that honors a fallen officer.
The college is now home to the Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford Criminal Justice Department.
Weatherford was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier this year.
"On June 12, this community suffered one of it's most tragic moments," Arkansas State University Newport Chancellor Dr. Sandra Massey said during the ceremony. "Along with many others who loved and respected Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford, the ASUN campus was devastated by this loss."
Dr. Massey said she is thankful that their board of trustees chose to honor Weatherford's legacy.
"It's really nice to be able to come together and actually celebrate the contributions that he made, not just at the college, but in the community," Massey said.
She believes Weatherford is a great role model to other officers, community members, and future students who will pursue a career in law enforcement.
"He loved education and kind of started slowly and once he started he didn't stop and so it was very important to him," she said. "And I'm sure he made an impact on other law enforcement officers and others who wanted to go into that field."
An advisory board was also established for the criminal justice department.
The head of the board is Weatherford's colleague and friend, Captain Ricky Morales with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
"Prior to Patrick's death, he was offered an opportunity to leave Newport," Morales said. "He declined because his heart was here in Newport."
Morales said that they could never thank Weatherford enough for his sacrifice.
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