State Police Officer is National Trooper of the Year
Arkansas State Police Corporal Blake Wilson, 51, of Russellville, has been named the recipient of the American Association of State Troopers (AAST) 2008 Trooper of the Year award.
He will be presented with the award and a check for $1,000 at the AAST national board meeting on Friday, June 13, at a noon luncheon to be held at the Renaissance Charleston Hotel, Historic District, Charleston, S.C.
The AAST Trooper of the Year award is sponsored by Ken Underwood, founder, president, and CEO of the National Safety Commission (www.nationalsafetycommission.com), one of the nation's leading providers of driver education services. The company provides a variety of online driver education courses in all 50 states and has been recognized as America's second fastest growing education company.
Wilson, a 29-year veteran of the department, is assigned to the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division, Troop J. Wilson was selected as the national AAST Trooper of the Year from a pool of candidates from across the country.
The award was based on his skillful negotiations during a prolonged hostage standoff which began during the early morning hours of Oct. 31, 2007, outside the Choctaw, Ark. (Van Buren County) Post Office.
For more than 10 hours, without sitting or stopping for food, water, or any other necessities, Wilson negotiated with a man holding a knife to the chest of the suspect's 4-year-old daughter. The suspect was holding the child and her mother hostage inside a pick-up truck, and at times during the negotiations, the suspect used the child as a shield to protect himself from possible action by police snipers.
Shortly before nightfall as the suspect began to fatigue, Wilson was able to take advantage of an opportunity to disarm the man, as an ASP SWAT officer moved in and applied a Taser shock to the suspect.
For his actions, Wilson was also named the Arkansas State Police 2007 Trooper of the Year in April 2008 and was one of two Arkansas state troopers to recently receive the department's Medal of Valor Award.
"We are privileged to honor Cpl. Wilson with this distinguished award for his selfless and unyielding efforts during the 10-hour negotiation process," AAST President Tommy Moore said. "His dedication to duty during this tense standoff was exemplary, and he is most deserving of this special recognition."
As Trooper of the Year, Wilson and his wife will be treated by AAST and the National Safety Commission to an all expense paid trip to Charleston to receive his award.