CRITTENDEN COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — An Arkansas State Trooper from Crittenden County was selected as the National Trooper of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, State and Provincial Division.
Trooper Spencer Morris received the award Thursday night during a ceremony at Seattle, Washington.
The 34-year-old is a graduate of the 2018 Arkansas State Police Training Academy and is assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, headquartered at Forrest City. He was in a group of four regional state trooper finalists.
Trooper Morris was recognized for his actions on December 16, 2021 during an attempted traffic stop that ended in Memphis.
From Arkansas State Police: “While working his assigned interstate patrol duties, Morris answered the radio call from the United States Marshals Service requesting assistance in the apprehension of a wanted fugitive from South Carolina believed to be armed and considered dangerous who was traveling through West Memphis along Interstate 55 headed toward Memphis. Trooper Morris was the closest law enforcement officer in the area who would have been able to intercept the vehicle.
About 2:30 PM, Trooper Morris observed the suspect’s vehicle and began to position his patrol car for the traffic stop. As he closed in on the car, multiple gun shots from the suspect vehicle were directed at Trooper Morris with one round striking him in the upper chest. Trooper Morris’ body armor slowed the round, causing a minor wound.
Despite the injury and the imminent deadly threat to himself and other motorists traveling into Memphis, Trooper Morris began to return gunfire directed at the fleeing suspect.
As the pursuit approached the I-55 McLemore interchange, the suspect vehicle slowed and came to a stop, the wounded trooper radioed his location and requested assistance. Trooper Morris moved his patrol car to the roadside and at a safe distance exited his vehicle to take-up a defensive position.
Quickly local police officers joined Trooper Morris, along with paramedics, who extracted him from the scene, moving the wounded trooper to a nearby hospital where doctors determined the wound was non-life threatening.
With traffic diverted from the interstate, a SWAT team moved toward the suspect vehicle to find the wanted fugitive and another occupant still in the car, both deceased.
Later, the same day, Trooper Morris was released from the hospital, and taken to his home where family surrounded the trooper; all thankful to be reunited.”
“Trooper Spencer Morris is just one example of more than 500 other Arkansas state troopers, just like him, who set aside awesome risks to themselves each day to make their state a safer and better place to call home,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.
Trooper Morris is the first Arkansas State Trooper to be selected by IACP as National Trooper of the Year since 1997.