The Texarkana, Ark., Police Department has announced that Public Information Officer, Corporal Kristi Bennett, will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to be honored by the President of the United States and The National Association of Police Organizations on May 14.

The TOP COPS Awards are sponsored annually by the (NAPO) National Association of Police Organizations, representing 241,000 sworn officers from over 1,000 agencies and associations nationwide.

There are 27 TOP COPS representing the top 10 cases submitted. Each of the remaining states had an officer selected for Honorable Mention. Corporal Kristi Bennett was selected to represent the State of Arkansas.

Police work by its nature is reactive. A crime occurs and cops respond. But a new program in Arkansas has been trying to stop crime before it ever happens. This proactive approach is the brainchild of Texarkana Corporal Kristi Bennett, who created the program PRIDE (Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort), an early intervention program for at risk fifth graders.

The goal of PRIDE Academy is to alter the behavior of at risk youths by providing a positive influence in their lives so these kids can develop discipline and self-confidence, encouraging positive life choices and creating good relationships with law enforcement. The week-long program is led by police officers who help these kids develop community service skills, strong family relationships and encourage them to make positive life choices.

The program is free to nearly 125 fifth graders each year, and now entering its fifth year, is more successful than ever. It’s a testament to Corporal Bennett’s hard work, a cop who risks her life on the streets daily and strives to solve a problem that has been ignored for too many years.