Pictured l-r: Senator Eddie Chetham, Representative Mike Holcomb, Star City Chamber President Monica Turner, Retired Chief Gary Sipes, Chief Jim Kuchenbecker

The recipient of “Legislator of the Year” is determined by members of the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) Legislative Committee and Executive Board. Members nominate legislators who have gone above and beyond to listen to concerns and work to pass legislation that benefits law enforcement in ways that allow them to better serve the citizens of Arkansas.

This year’s Co-Legislators of the Year are Senator Eddie Cheatham and Representative Mike Holcomb.

Senator Eddie Cheatham serves as a member of the Senate Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee as well as the Joint Audit Committee and the Arkansas Legislative Council, but it was his role on the Joint Public Retirement and Social Security Programs Committee that brings him here today. Senator Cheatham has been a long-time supporter of law enforcement. He was selected as one of the AACP Legislators of the Year for his work on a very key legislation dealing with law enforcement retirement. This legislation will allow officers who have retired the opportunity, under certain circumstances, to return to law enforcement and continue to draw their retirement.  Always willing to work behind the scenes and across the aisle, it was these skills from Senator Cheatham that helped secure the passage of this legislation that will be particularly helpful in the recruitment of experienced officers into small and rural departments.

Rep. Mike Holcomb serves on the House City, County and Local Affairs Committee, the House Rules Committee and the Joint Budget Committee. Rep Holcomb was selected because as Chairman of the House Public Transportation Committee he was instrumental in ensuring that language needed by the AACP was amended into the Real-Time Insurance Verification Database legislation that was passed. He has always been supportive of local law enforcement, but his efforts on this bill went above and beyond. In doing so, he has helped the association continue to provide bulletproof vests to departments across the state, as well as the ability to continue to upgrade the quality of policies and procedures available to all departments in Arkansas.

The award was presented to Senator Cheatham and Representative Holcomb at the Star City Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on October 14th.   The President of the AACP Board, Chief Jim Kuchenbecker of Bull Shoals, presented the award on behalf of the Chiefs.   Also, in attendance – Retired Chief Gary Sipes, Executive Director of the AACP and Star City Police Chief Cody Drake.  Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Randy Zook, gave the keynote address at the luncheon.