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Department of Corrections Applauds Eight Officer of the Year Winners


Posted by Manda Bass on December 21, 2022

Five Division of Community Correction officers and three Division of Correction officers were honored Tuesday by the Arkansas Attorney General’s office for exemplary service to the State. Winners include the Central Region Winner, Ester Unit’s Sgt. Tasha Clark.

“These officers deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to public safety,” Corrections Secretary Solomon Graves said. “We’re proud of their professionalism and commitment to Arkansas families, and we thank them for their service.”

The Division of Community Correction officers honored include:

  • Agent Jeffery Baumgardner, Area 2, Newton County
  • Agent Kenny Kendrick, Area 2, Stone County
  • Agent Melissa Stephens, Area 3, Independence County
  • Agent George Barnes, Area 12, Columbia County
  • Officer Ashanti Burris, Area 12, Howard County

“I couldn’t be more proud of our officers,” said Division of Community Correction Director Jerry Bradshaw. “They have boots on the ground in our communities every day, helping offenders stay on track, thrive and support their families.”

The Division of Correction officers honored include:

  • Cpl. William Whisenhunt, Ouachita River Correctional Unit, Hot Spring County
  • Sgt. Tasha Clark, Ester Unit, Jefferson County and Central Region
  • Sgt. Freddie Childs, Cummins Unit, Lincoln County

“Our officers are too often the unsung heroes of the law enforcement community. They work hard and don’t expect praise,” said Division of Correction Director Dexter Payne. “It is gratifying to see them receive hard-won recognition for using their training to protect and serve.” 

2022 Officer of the Year Award Winners
Sgt. Tasha Clark 1
Sgt. Tasha Clark 2
Agent George Barnes
Cpl. William Whisenhunt
Officer Ashanti Burris
Agent Melissa Stephens
Sgt. Freddie Clark
Agent Jeffery Baumgardner
Agent Kenny Kendrick
Valor - Sgt. Joshua Caudell 1
Valor - Sgt. Joshua Caudell 2
pictures from 2022 officer of the year

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