Arkansas State Trooper named National Trooper of the Year

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Arkansas State
Spencer Morris — Courtesy: Arkansas State Police

The Arkansas State Police says that state trooper Spencer Morris from Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, headquartered at Forrest City has been named National Trooper of the Year by the leadership of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, State and Provincial Division.

The 34-year-old from Crittenden County was presented the award on March 24 during a ceremony at Seattle, Washington before an audience of law enforcement officers from across the nation.

Morris is a a graduate of the 2018 Arkansas State Police Training Academy and was among a group of four regional state trooper finalists who collectively comprise the epitome of preeminence among law enforcement officers across the nation.

The state trooper was recognized for his heroic efforts on Dec. 16, 2021 when he attempted a traffic stop that ended in Memphis, Tenn.

According to state police, Morris answered the radio call from the United States Marshals Service requesting assistance in the apprehension of a wanted fugitive from South Carolina believed to be armed and considered dangerous who was traveling through West Memphis along Interstate 55 headed toward Memphis. Morris was the closest law enforcement officer in the area who would have been able to intercept the vehicle.

At around 2:30 p.m., Morris observed the suspect’s vehicle and began to position his patrol car for the traffic stop.  As he closed in on the car, multiple gun shots from the suspect vehicle were directed at Trooper Morris with one round striking him in the upper chest.  Trooper Morris’ body armor slowed the round, causing a minor wound.

Despite the injury and the imminent deadly threat to himself and other motorists traveling into Memphis, Trooper Morris began to return gunfire directed at the fleeing suspect.

As the pursuit approached the I-55 McLemore interchange, the suspect vehicle slowed and came to a stop, the wounded trooper radioed his location and requested assistance.  Trooper Morris moved his patrol car to the roadside and at a safe distance exited his vehicle to take-up a defensive position.

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Quickly local police officers joined Trooper Morris, along with paramedics, who extracted him from the scene, moving the wounded trooper to a nearby hospital where doctors determined the wound was non-life threatening.

With traffic diverted from the interstate, a SWAT team moved toward the suspect vehicle to find the wanted fugitive and another occupant still in the car, both deceased.

Later, the same day, Trooper Morris was released from the hospital, and taken to his home where family surrounded the trooper; all thankful to be reunited.

“Arkansas State Troopers patrol more than 16 thousand miles of state highways every day and along the way, they stop to serve the citizens, whether it’s to help change a flat tire, or just take a minute to listen to someone’s concerns or troubles,” State Police colonel Bill Bryant said. “These men and women we know as Arkansas State Troopers are part of the fabric that hold local communities together. They are among the best trained law enforcement officers in the country, dedicated and always ready to serve.