LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A pair of Northeast Arkansas state troopers were honored Wednesday with the highest award that the Arkansas State Police can offer - its Trooper of the Year award.
Corporals Rockey Rapert of Harrisburg and Brandon Bennett of Blytheville received the award during a presentation in Little Rock.
The troopers were nominated for the award for their actions during a July 2018 shooting on I-55 in Mississippi County.
“A suspect who had refused to comply with a traffic stop abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot into a farm field where he shot and killed ‘Hemi’, an Arkansas State Police K9, assigned to Corporal Rapert, who along with the K9 and Corporal Bennett had trailed the suspect,” ASP said in a media release. “The suspect then refused repeated orders from the troopers to drop his gun and turned toward them, pointing the gun. The troopers fired and wounded the suspect. As law enforcement officers approached the wounded suspect, he rose again, pointing the gun at them and was shot. He later died at an area hospital.”
Both troopers also received their Troopers Cross during the ceremony.
“Hemi” was also posthumously awarded the Arkansas State Police Memorial Medal Award, with the medal presented to Rapert.
Other Northeast Arkansas troopers to be honored Wednesday were:
* Trooper Christopher Barnett of Batesville. Barnett, who is assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, responded to a motor vehicle crash on U.S. 67 near Searcy on Aug. 4, 2018. He discovered a victim who was in critical condition and in shock due to a significant loss of blood, officials said. Barnett used a state police trauma kit to use a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Doctors say the work helped to save the person’s life.
* Corporal Todd Harris of Paragould. Harris, who is assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, responded to a motor vehicle crash on Aug. 24, 2018 and coordinated the rescue of an injured victim, officials said. Harris used a trauma kit to begin life saving measures until emergency crews arrived at the scene, officials said.
* Corporal Ronald Laslo of Newark. Laslo, who is assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, used life saving measures to a suicide victim on May 22, 2018 in a rural part of Jackson County. Laslo, who was using a trauma kit, helped to keep the person alive until emergency crews arrived at the scene, officials said.
* Corporal Flarcell Tate of Marion. Tate, who is assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, helped a female passenger on I-40 when she went into labor and found out the newborn baby was not breathing, officials said. Tate was able to use lifesaving measures to help the child breathe and survive, officials said.
MEDAL OF VALOR AWARD
* Sgt. Philip Hydron of Marion. Hydron, Corporal Chad Staley and Trooper First Class Clayton McDonald were part of an ASP SWAT team that went to Russellville in June 2018 to a barricaded apartment. According to authorities, an individual who was inside had threatened local police earlier. Troopers entered the apartment and were met with gunfire from the suspect, who died from gunfire returned by troopers.