November 21, 2012 Edition

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Stan Witt, director of the Arkansas State Police and an Imboden native, visits with Dr. Bobby Shackelford and his daughter, Rebekah Shackelford, following the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet on Nov. 13.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Witt speaks at LawCo.
Chamber banquet

Gretchen Hunt

Stan Witt, recently appointed director of the Arkansas State Police, addressed a crowd from his home county on Nov. 13, when he spoke at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet.

Witt, who is a native of Imboden, said he was honored to be giving his first public speech as ASP director in Lawrence County.

"It's not that long ago that this community opened the door for me and started my career," he said. "To stand in front of y'all is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me."

Witt jokingly described the events that unfolded after being called to Gov. Mike Beebe's office regarding his new position.

"The governor asked me if I knew why I was there," he said. "I responded, not a clue, but I do know that I'm not in trouble because I haven't done anything wrong."

He soon found out that the reason he was there was because his name had come up in discussions regarding who should replace Col. J.R. Howard, who was retiring as ASP director.

Witt said after several sleepless nights and a million thoughts running through his head, it was his wife who helped him decide to accept the position.

"She said I think it's an opportunity you can't pass up, and I think you can make a difference," he said. "So, I took the job."

Witt said the Arkansas State Police faces the same challenges that Lawrence County faces.

"We have the challenge to do more with what we have now," he said. "We're not expecting any new money."

He also pledged continued support by the ASP of local communities, including those in Lawrence County.

"As community leaders, I encourage you to embrace local law enforcement and your county sheriff's department," he told those attending the banquet.

"The State Police stands ready to answer the call to assist in local communities."

Chamber Economic Development Director L.J. Bryant gave a PowerPoint presentation sharing some of the highlights of the past year.

Awards presented

Several awards were also presented throughout the evening.

Danny West and Fran Cavenaugh, both of Walnut Ridge, were named Man and Woman of the Year, respectively.

Greenway Equipment was named Agriculture Business of the Year, Flippo Heat & Air received the Business of the Year honor and Birdsong Peanuts was honored with the Industry of the Year award.

Katie Smith of Hoxie was presented with the Community Service Award, and Kari Shanks was recognized as outgoing board chair. Mike Montgomery, who is completing his term on the board, was honored for his service, and Dina Hufstedler was announced as the new board member.

Also honored were Lorra Whitmire, retiring festival committee chair, and Mitch and Theresa Baltz, who were the 2012 Farm Family of the Year.

Businesses who participated in the inaugural year of Tie-Dye the Town were also recognized.

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