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Arkansas state troopers and staff awarded honors at annual banquet


BENTON — Arkansas State Trooper Austin Duncan was awarded the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award for 2023 at the annual Arkansas State Police awards ceremony today hosted by the Arkansas State Police Foundation.
Trooper Duncan, an Arkansas State Trooper since 2020, was honored for his bravery and quick thinking in stopping a suspect vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 630 in Little Rock in September of 2023. He placed his patrol unit in the vehicle's path, preventing a head-on collision with another motorist at high speed. The suspect vehicle's driver swerved to avoid Trooper Duncan's patrol unit, and Trooper Duncan turned his patrol unit again into the path of the suspect vehicle, causing a head-on collision with the suspect vehicle. His actions exemplify the mission of the Arkansas State Police.
During the ceremony, Arkansas State Police Foundation President Elizabeth Anderson introduced the keynote speaker, retired ASP Director J.R. Howard. Howard was named ASP Director in 2011 after serving as a U.S. Marshal and Arkansas State Crime Lab Director. Howard began his law enforcement career as an Arkansas State Trooper in 1971 and spent 15 years in the Criminal Investigation Division.
Others recognized in today’s ceremony:
Official Commendations
Corporal Matt Price
Corporal Michael Bowman
Trooper Tyler Grant
Telecom Operator Cindy Ball-Dye
Sergeant Chase Melder
Corporal Deston Linkous
Telecom Supervisor Jorge Mendoza
Telecom Operator Iris Alvarado
Special Agent Matthew Foster
Senior Corporal David Smothers
Special Agent Joe Pickett
Special Agent David Moss
CACD Sr. Investigator Mary Pifer
CACD Sr. Investigator Cassie Johnson
Lifesaving Awards

TFC Marcus Simpson
Trooper Kirt Williams
Corporal Kevin Helm
Corporal James Mitchell
Distinguished Service Awards
Pope County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Rodney McNeese
Pope County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Charles Brown
Keevil Constable James Capshaw
Monroe County Sheriff Michael Neal
Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards
CACD Hotline Operator Amanda Whitlock
Special Agent Matthew Foster
Medal of Valor
Trooper Ronald Grace
TFC Nathan Williams
Trooper Michael Kyle Ellison
Sergeant Alan Johnson
Trooper Austin Duncan
Trooper's Cross Award
Trooper Matt Sanford