Corporal Kristi Bennett received the 2016 Miller County Officer of the Year Award, which was presented by Arkansas Attorney Leslie Rutledge in conjunction with the 2016 Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit.

This annual event finds law enforcement professionals from across the State of Arkansas gathering to honor the 75 officers, representing each and every county within the state, who have been selected to receive this award based upon each officer’s impact upon the communities they serve.

Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department

One of the many things that distinguishes Corporal Bennett’s service to our community rests within her unending desire to remain engaged in community events. She frequently sets herself apart from her peers by bridging the gap between our police department and the community. One of the biggest highlights that works to solidify the department's connection and impart its influence upon the community is the Texarkana Police Department’s PRIDE Academy, a program spearheaded by Corporal Bennett.

Corporal Bennett took the necessary steps to implement the PRIDE Academy in 2011. Her insight as the Public Information Officer provided her with a unique vantage point enabling her to evaluate the need for this program in light of the high incidence of juvenile crime in Texarkana. The PRIDE (Personal Responsibility In Daily Effort) Academy targets fifth grade students and seeks to promote early intervention efforts that serve to effectively promote citizenship and reduce the lifestyle risks inherent of criminal behavior.

The PRIDE program is supported by a longitudinal study that has proven effective in altering behaviors in at-risk youth by providing a positive influence in their lives before they enter adolescence. At the crux of this effort lies a team of police officers who work together in building long-lasting relationships with these children. The program has been successful in enabling the participants in developing self-discipline and self-confidence, encouraging positive life choices, creating positive relationships with law enforcement, and encouraging teamwork, trust and respect.

Corporal Bennett’s hard work and unending dedication towards the annual PRIDE Academy is a constant testament to her desire to improve our community. Her efforts work to ensure the police department delivers a positive impact upon the lives of the children who attend the yearly academy. As such, she is a true professional and a definite asset to the Texarkana Police Department and to the law enforcement profession as a whole.

Her efforts to influence the lives of these children in the Texarkana community brings credit not only to her, but her efforts also bring credit to the Texarkana Police Department as well as the community as a whole.