LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — High honors were given out today to Arkansas’ finest.
The 2020 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year ceremony recognized police officers who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Three Fayetteville Police Department officers were given the distinguished “Officer of the Year” award for their heroic actions immediately after one of their own was shot and killed as he sat in his own patrol unit.
The officers say they’re grateful for this award because it keeps alive the memory of Officer Stephen Carr.
Sgt. James Jennings, Cpl. Seay-Peter Floyd and Officer Natalie Eucce were honored for what they did the night of December 7, 2019.
“That particular moment can only be described as the worst day in the history of the Fayetteville Police Department,” said Chief Mike Reynolds.
Officer Stephen Carr was sitting in his patrol unit outside the Fayetteville Police Department when a man walked up to Carr and shot and killed him.
“The officer was murdered,” Chief Reynolds said. “It was an execution and it was such a cowardly act and so, so difficult to deal with.”
But the three officers responded immediately, tracking down and killing the armed suspect, ultimately protecting others from getting injured or killed.
“That showed a lot of courage and certainly made all of us, including myself, very proud,” Chief Reynolds said.
Officer Natalie Eucce was Carr’s partner and says he was like family.
“He was my daughter’s uncle,” Eucce said. “She’s five now and he’s not going to see her next birthday. He didn’t see her last birthday and that’s heartbreaking.”
“I miss everything,” Eucce said. “He was funny. He was just the best friend that anybody could have.”
But in the most tragic loss, a reason to be grateful.
“Mostly because of the fact that being honored for something like this just means that we’re remembering Stephen,” Eucce said.
A “Valor Tribute” award was given to Officer Carr.
He was one of the eight Arkansas law enforcement officers who lost their lives last year.