A second nationally sanctioned title of National Trooper of the Year has been awarded to Arkansas State Trooper Spencer Morris. The American Association of State Troopers (AAST) announced today that Morris was selected from a field of 27 state troopers from across the U.S. to receive the esteemed trooper of the year honor for his exhibited service with bravery and extreme selflessness while protecting the public.
Trooper Morris, 34, of Crittenden County, a 4 year veteran of the Arkansas State Police, is assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, headquartered at Forrest City. Last month Morris was named National Trooper of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, State and Provincial Division. AAST, which announced today’s award, is a fraternal organization comprised of more than 3,000 state troopers nationwide.
The presentation of both national trooper of the year awards was based on the brave actions of Trooper Morris that occurred on December 16, 2021 while he was on patrol along Interstate 55 in Crittenden County. Morris answered a radio call from the United States Marshals Service requesting assistance in the apprehension of a South Carolina fugitive believed to be armed and considered dangerous. The fugitive was known to be traveling along I-55 in the West Memphis area.
Trooper Morris was the closest law enforcement officer in the area who would have been able to intercept the vehicle carrying the man wanted by the marshals. 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 which had entered the Memphis (Tennessee) city limits, 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 through Memphis, Trooper Morris began to return gunfire directed at the fleeing suspect. As the suspect driver approached the I-55 McLemore interchange, the vehicle slowed and came to a stop. The wounded trooper radioed his location and requested assistance.
Trooper Morris then moved his patrol car to the roadside and at a safe distance exited his vehicle to take-up a defensive position. Local police officers soon joined Trooper Morris, and with the assistance of paramedics, extracted Morris from the scene, moving him to a nearby hospital where doctors later 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.
“Since Trooper Morris’ recovery, I’ve told many people around Arkansas and in other states, Spencer is just one of more than 500 Arkansas State Troopers who make the Arkansas State Police one of the best law enforcement agencies anywhere, certainly the best in Arkansas,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police. “Our troopers are always ready to answer the call, regardless of the threat.
Trooper Morris is just one example of the troopers who serve the citizens of Arkansas and his heroic actions last December have made the badge of the state police shine a little brighter.”