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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sharp County police graduate at top of class

Monday, April 25, 2011

Photo/Tammy Curtis Phillip Dunlap an officer with the Cherokee Village Police Department, graduate officer Chris Spurlock, Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley, Cherokee Village Police Chief Rickey Crook, officers Monte Lane and Mike Alexander, after the BRTC graduation April 15. [Order this photo]
Two police officers from Sharp County graduated from the Police Academy at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas, April 15.

Shane Russell, with the Sharp County Sheriff's Department and Chris Spurlock, with the Cherokee Village Police Department, received their certificates in an emotional graduation ceremony, which paid tribute to Trumann Police Officer Jonathan Schmidt, who was killed during a traffic stop last week.

Schmidt was a 2007 graduate of the academy and graduated in the same class with Sharp County deputy, Gary Mitchell.

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts poses with Jail Administrator Stan Haney, graduate Shane Russel and Chief Deputy David Huffmaster following the April 15 graduation at Black River Technical College in Pocahontas. [Order this photo]
The mood was somber as the death of the officer and his impending funeral lingered in many attendee's minds.

Black tape covered officers' badges as a show of respect to the department and family. Speakers reminded the audience, "There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop," and moved forward with the graduation ceremony.

Law enforcement officers are required to complete a comprehensive thirteen week program at the academy within one year of employment.

Besides educational activities, police officers train in various aspects of law enforcement, including physical fitness, report writing, shooting and stress management. Both Russell and Spurlock finished in the upper five percent of their class.

Speakers included Phillip Pickett II, son of Arkansas State Trooper Phillip Pickett, a Highland High School graduate.

Pickett was chosen for top honors and was the class spokesperson. Pickett II is employed by the Independence County Sheriff's Department.

Jared Lee Cook, who graduated with the class and is also an officer with the Trumann Police Department, spoke on behalf of his fellow officer, Schmidt.

His chief also spoke and presented a plaque to the college in honor of the slain officer and the Trumann Police Department.

Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts, Chief Deputy David Huffmaster, Jail Administrator Stan Haney, Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley, Cherokee Village Police Chief Rickey Crook, officers Monte Lane, Phillip Dunlap, Mike Alexander, Ash Flat Police Chief Anthony Wiles and officer Steve Powell made the trip to Pocahontas to watch the men graduate.

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