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Two area state troopers honored during Arkansas State Police awards ceremony

Two Independence County state troopers were recognized with Lifesaving Awards at the Arkansas State Police awards ceremony on Wednesday.

Trooper Christopher Barnett, of Batesville, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, responded to a motor vehicle crash on Aug. 4, 2018, along U.S. Highway 67 near Searcy where he discovered a victim in critical condition and in a shock from a significant blood loss. Trooper Barnett used a state police trauma kit to begin life-saving measures using tourniquets to stop the bleeding. The trooper’s action, according to physicians, saved the crash victim’s life.

The other trooper of Independence County, Cpl. Ronald Laslo, of Newark, is assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, and on May 22, 2018, he began providing life-saving measures to a suicide victim found in a rural part of Jackson County. Using a state police trauma kit, Laslo was able to keep the victim alive until emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.

During his keynote address to state troopers attending yesterday’s award ceremony, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his intentions to release $4 million dollars in state funds that will be used in the construction of the Arkansas law enforcement driver training track.

The track, to be located at Camp Robinson will be available to all Arkansas law enforcement agencies. Arkansas is one of only a small number of states without a track facility to train law enforcement officers in emergency driving techniques.

“Equipping our police officers with the skills to drive safely in all situations is as important as teaching self-defense or training them in the use of firearms,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “This driving track will allow the state to train officers in everything from driving in bad weather to the often risky, but sometimes necessary, high-speed pursuits. I am pleased to release this money so that we reduce the risks for these public servants who risk their lives for the rest of us every time they put on the uniform.”

Also at the ceremony, two northeast Arkansas state troopers shared the top honor at the ceremony. Cpls. Rockey Rapert of Harrisburg and Brandon Bennett of Blytheville were presented the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year award.

The recipient of the Trooper of the Year award personifies the highest standards of public service and has demonstrated a record of esteemed law enforcement action.

The two troopers were among a group of more than 33 Arkansas State Police personnel recognized for their personal sacrifice during the course of a particular assignment, or cumulative work results, associated with incidents during the 2018 calendar year.

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