The NRA’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, established in 1993, acknowledges an exceptional act or service by an American law enforcement officer. This year, NRA's Law Enforcement Division recognizes the actions of Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal.
On Thursday, May 20, 2010, West Memphis Arkansas Police officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were brutally murdered while conducting a routine traffic stop. The suspects’ mini-van was located in shopping center parking lot. Crittenden County Arkansas Sheriff Dick Busby and Chief Deputy Wren blocked in the vehicle and immediately came under fire.
Spotting the gunfight, Arkansas Game & Fish Wildlife Officer Michael Neal readied his patrol rifle and rammed the suspects’ vehicle. More than a dozen rounds pierced Officer Neal's windshield, dashboard, and grill. He returned fire (through the windshield,) emptying a full 30 round magazine from his rifle. Out of ammunition, Neal withdrew, exited his vehicle, and took position alongside the more than 30 other officers who arrived upon the scene.
The encounter ended within minutes. During that time, more than 260 rounds were exchanged and both criminals were dead. With the exception of the first officers shot by the gunmen, no other officers or bystanders were injured.
“Officer Neal is a prime example of what a heroic and dedicated Law Enforcement officer does in the line of duty,” said NRA President Ron Schmeits. “Officer Neal proceeded to protect a fellow officer, that could have been anyone, you - me, but he risked his life to protect another. Congratulations to Officer Neal for his commitment to Law and Order and for being selected as the 2010 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.”
If you would like to nominate a candidate for the 2011 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, you can call 703-267-1649, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nrahq.org/law. Entry forms must be received by October 15, 2011. Nominations may be submitted by the nominee’s agency head or by an NRA member. Nominations must also be endorsed by an NRA Life Member.