Arkansas Law Enforcement

Governor's Radio Column: Law Enforcement Heroes

May 14, 2016
Asa Hutchinson law enforcement
Office of the Governor

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio column for the weekend of May 13, 2016:

Last month in Hot Springs Village, Angela Andrews sent invitations to a birthday party for her son, Toxey. The Mom invited twenty-one of Toxey’s friends to celebrate over a bonfire, hot dogs, cake and ice cream. This was a big day. Toxey was turning ten years old.

Arkansas State Police Trooper First Class Brandon Bennett has been named the state's Trooper of the Year for 2015 and was presented with the Medal of Valor.

Bennett received the award Thursday from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and state police Col. Bill Bryant during a ceremony in Little Rock.

Bennett was chosen for his role in the pursuit and eventual arrest of two fugitives from Missouri who had shot a store clerk during a robbery. The two suspects were arrested after shooting at Bennett and a Mississippi County deputy, then crashing their vehicle in Blytheville.

Eugene Ellison
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Little Rock has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of 67-year-old black man who was fatally shot in 2010 after two off-duty police officers entered his apartment without a warrant.

City Attorney Tom Carpenter told The Associated Press the city settled the lawsuit Friday. Trial was set to begin Monday.

Eugene Ellison died Dec. 9, 2010. His family filed a lawsuit alleging that officers Donna Lesher and Tabitha McCrillis, who are both white, unlawfully entered his home, and that Lesher improperly used deadly force.

The Benton County Quorum Court has sworn in a new sheriff, replacing a man who faces felony and misdemeanor tampering charges. 

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Quorum Court unanimously approved appointing Meyer Gilbert to the position Thursday. He'll serve until Dec. 31, when Kelley Cradduck's term would've ended. 

The Benton County Quorum Court has voted unanimously to meet the resignation conditions of Sheriff Kelley Cradduck, who is facing tampering charges.

Cradduck offered to resign Tuesday if the Quorum Court met conditions, including a payment of $80,000 to cover the salary and benefits owed to him through the end of 2016.

Officials approved spending $80,000 from the county's general fund reserve Tuesday night. The decision to accept Cradduck's resignation and declare a vacancy in the Benton County Sheriff's Office was discussed, but not acted on.

The FBI is backing away from an Arkansas prosecutor's statement that its agents would help unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple, saying it hasn't examined the devices and isn't sure whether it can help.

The FBI's statement Thursday didn't rule out help in the Arkansas case, but said that without more details, it doesn't know whether its agents can access the devices.

prison jail department of correction
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A new study on how and when states put criminals in prison shows Arkansas falling in the middle for severity of punishment, with a ranking of 20th nationwide.

Yet PEW Charitable Trusts Director Adam Gelb said that’s based on 2013 data, before the Arkansas Board of Correction changed parole rules that sent thousands of newly released inmates back into prisons.

Hunter Drexler
Faulkner Co. Sheriff's Office

The FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Wednesday that the FBI agreed to the request from his office.

The trial for 18-year-old Hunter Drexler was delayed Tuesday so prosecutors could ask for help. He's accused in the shooting deaths of Robert and Patricia Cogdell. 

15-year-old Justin Staton also is charged in the shootings. The Conway couple had raised Staton as their grandson. 

A report of armed men near an Arkansas elementary school led to a campus lockdown before police confirmed the three were actually pest control employees chasing squirrels.

A teacher at Gardner STEM Magnet School in Hot Springs saw the men about 8 a.m. Wednesday and notified administrators. According to a statement from the Hot Springs Police Department, the teacher said it looked like three men carrying rifles were running toward the school.

A former Arkansas sheriff has pleaded guilty to felony charges of abuse of public trust and theft of property and was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington pleaded guilty to the circuit court charges Tuesday.

Saline County Circuit Court Judge Gary Arnold ordered that the sentence be served concurrently with a federal prison term of one year and one day that Pennington received late last year after pleading guilty to using money from his campaign account to pay for personal items and expenses.