Promotions awards CollageSMALLThree officers of the Benton Police Department received promotions, numerous officers and staff received awards, and a citizen received an award during a ceremony held at the Benton Municipal Complex today. Mayor David Mattingly told the crowd that the recipients deserved the awards and promotions due to their diligent work and dedication to the community.

“I’m very pleased to stand here today and tell you ‘Thank you,’” Mattingly said. “This is a special day and I want everyone to remember that Benton is growing. The city cannot grow safely without the dedicated men and women of the Benton Police Department.”

Chief Kirk Lane said this year’s award and promotion ceremony falls on a unique date, between the National Law Enforcement Week and Memorial Day. He said the department has 23 officers who are veterans or active members of U.S. Military Service branches. Lane said that each veteran or active member will receive a ribbon bar showing an American Flag.

The three officers promoted are:

• Sgt. Quinton Jackson, the son of James and Debbie Eckman of Alexander, was born in Little Rock and graduated from Bryant High School. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1992 to 1996 and was decorated with the Navy Achievement Medal and National Defense Medal during enlistment.

Jackson began his law enforcement career in February of 2002 with the Benton Police Department. After working on patrol for three years, he was assigned to the Special Operations Division as a School Resource Officer (SRO) and has served in this capacity for the past 11 years. During his service as a SRO, Jackson received specialized training in various areas, and received training in multiple areas with instructor positions in Defensive Tactics, CPR, Active Shooter, Taser, Mountain Bike, and Segway.

He was the recipient of the 2012 Meritorious Award in 2012, the City of Benton “Employee of the Month” award in October 2012, and the 2014 Unit Achievement Award. Jackson is being promoted to Sergeant and will assume the duties of Patrol Division Sergeant.

• Lt. Brian Bigelow, the son of Scott and Sandra Bigelow, was born in Missouri, graduated from Benton High School in 2000, and immediately began his service in the infantry of the U.S. Marine Corps. He began his law enforcement career as a Cadet with the Benton Police Department in September of 2001, where he served until deployment to Iraq in March of 2003.

Bigelow returned to the Benton Police Department and was later certified as a Police Officer with the department in June of 2004. He joined the SWAT team in 2005 and remains an active member. Bigelow became the department’s third K-9 Officer in October of 2007 with his partner Lucky. He and Lucky served six years together on patrol and in the Benton Interstate Criminal Enforcement Patrol (BICEP) unit until Lucky’s medical retirement.

Bigelow received the Officer of the 1st Quarter award in 2008 and was chosen as Officer of the Year for 2008. He was promoted to Sergeant in June of 2009, and assumed the duties as a patrol sergeant, as well as serving as the supervisor for the department’s K-9 and BICEP units. In June 2015, he was reassigned as the sergeant of the Special Investigations Unit. Bigelow is being promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant and will assume the duties of Patrol Lieutenant.

• Det. Larry Applegarth, the song of Lee and Liz Applegarth, was born in Denver, Colo. And graduated from Malvern High School. Applegarth began his law enforcement career with the Benton Police Department in 2007. He joined the department’s SWAT team in 2008. He has served as a K-9 Handler, Field Training Officer, Less Lethal Instructor, Chemical Munitions Instructor, Car Seat Technician, SWAT team member, and is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as a Detective.

Applegarth is being promoted to the rank of Sergeant and will assume the duties of a Patrol Division Sergeant.

Those that received awards are:

• Mr. James Posey, owner of Posey’s Service, received the 2015 Citizen’s Achievement Award, for his contribution to the maintenance and mechanical performance of the Benton Police Department fleet. The award was established as a special departmental award which may presented for exceptional service by a member of the public who has made an outstanding contribution to the Benton Police Department, and whose efforts are appreciated and recognized publicly by the department. 

“Mr. Posey and his employees have performed above and beyond in making sure that our fleet is safe and mechanically sound,” Chief Kirk Lane said. “Posey’s Service completes service to our vehicles as a priority to get them back on the streets, and he was available 24/7 to our needs, as well as providing storage for tires and weather related equipment at his facility. Due to this, our fleet has been in the best mechanical shape that it has been in years.”

• The 2015 Officer of the Year Award was bestowed to Detective Dustin Hamm. The award is presented to the member deemed by the Chief’s Committee to have made the most significant contribution to the overall success of the police department during the past year. Hamm received a medallion, ribbon bar and certificate denoting the award.

“In 2015, Det. Hamm was instrumental in resolving a number of business burglaries in the upper Military Road area, using his investigative and forensic video enhancement skills,” Chief Lane said. “Det. Hamm was successful in solving 15 business burglaries and a church burglary.”

“Shortly after this, he pursued a case into a suspect that had been in possession of some handguns at a local business. Using investigative skills, Det. Hamm was able to link this suspect to a number of vehicle breaking and entering reports and other theft, which resulted in 26 felony charges and 7 misdemeanors on the suspect.”

Det. Hamm also participates heavily both on duty and off duty as “Batman.” He purchased the bat suit with his own funds and gives back to the community regularly in many departmental events, city events and fundraising events.

“The children of Benton love you for your dedication to this super hero role that you provide,” Chief Lane said. “A supervise wrote that Det. Hamm has ‘displayed exemplary dedication to his duties as a detective for the Benton Police Department, and has gone above and beyond in his efforts to be an ambassador for the police department and the City of Benton in his role as Batman.’”

• Two officers received the 2015 Leadership Award, Sgt. Eric Porter and Lt. Jeff Kling. This award is presented to those members in supervisory positions who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through significant contribution to the accomplishment of the mission, goals and objectives of the police department. This individual is a motivator who leads by example and by encouraging continual improvement in subordinate skills, knowledge, and abilities. In 2015, Sgt. Porter was assigned to oversee the Field Training Officer (FTO) program.

Assistant Chief Scotty Hodges said the award is given to an individual that encourages and helps other members to make the same continual improvements, in all aspects of their personal and professional lives, as they set an example of character and performance worth of imitation. The recipient instills a positive attitude and strives continuously to promote harmony by investigating and squelching all rumors and half-truths. The recipient also is one who promotes a team work philosophy, not only to his/her subordinates, but also to members of other units/divisions.

Hodges said Sgt. Porter was innovative in revising and updating the program to its current operational standard.

“He participated as an instructor in the orientations as well as FTO development and certification training,” Hodges said. “Because of Sgt. Porter’s leadership in this area, the FTO program is successful and runs smoothly. You were able to accomplish this task while running a shift, many times by yourself due to short staffing without complaint.”

Lt. Kling is assigned to the position of Administrative Lieutenant. Hodges said Lt. King’s position is multifaceted to assure the flow of operations for the department are met, one being the overseer of the Communications Division, which has recently had an expansion of personnel and complete equipment transformation.

“Lt. King’s leadership during this large process was noted as exceptional, as he was able to accomplish this transformation without effecting the necessary mandatory operational side of this process,” Hodges said. “He was able to accomplish this with all the other hats he wears in his job assignment, to include operational paperwork of the department and overseeing SWAT operations.”

• Officer Drew Brown was the recipient of the 2015 Meritorious Service Award for his implementation of a program called “Lost Boy’s” at the Saline County Boys and Girls Club in Benton. The program emphasizes life learning skills to teenage boys.

“Officer Brown developed the learning program that was well noted by management of the Boys and Girls Club, as well as a number of parents,” Hodges said. “He was able to accomplish this program on his own time and through the true spirit of volunteerism. Although this was a personal accomplishment, it is also truly reflected favorably on the department due to his assignment.”

The Meritorious Service Award is presented to members, in overall good standing, who have taken meritorious action in the line of duty or whose performance was exceptional and well above the norm of similarly situated members during the past year (i.e. – performing of a specific act, project, or mission that was outstanding in character and made a major contribution to the best interests of the Benton Police Department.)

• The 2015 Top Gun Award is presented to an officer who has shown the most achievement in their firearms qualification scores throughout the calendar year. The cumulative highest average is the recipient of this award. In 2015, Lt. Eric Haworth and Sgt. Brian Bigelow tied and a shoot off between the two produced Lt. Haworth as the winner of the 2015 Top Gun Award. Lt. Haworth shot a score of 1,151 out of a possible of 1,180 points, which averaged to 97.5 percent.

• Five Benton Police Department personnel received the 2015 Unit Achievement Award – Manager Cissy Brown, Assistant Loretta Ford, Assistant Jennifer Picklesimer, Assistant Cathy Miller, and Assistant Audena Johnson. This award is given to the departmental unit that has made a significant contribution to the overall success of the police department during the last year.

In 2015, the Records Division processed 35,170 reports which consist of incident and accident reports. They received and coordinated 2,633 warrants for service along with 505 subpoenas. This was completed in addition to greeting every citizen that came to the Benton Police Department and they assisted in resolving their requests. Also, there was vast maintenance in maintaining records and data to make sure that everything is current. The unit passed numerous inspections in this process in 2015 from the FBI and Arkansas Crime Information Center.