FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Detective Paul Newell, 51, of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, was killed on duty after being struck by a truck during a Wreaths Across America procession in Bentonville on December 17.

On December 21, Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack spoke on the floor of the United States House of Representatives to honor Newell’s life and service. His entire speech is below:

Madam Speaker, with profound sorrow and endless appreciation, I rise today to honor the life of Detective Paul Newell of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. He was one of Arkansas’s finest law enforcement officers. A man who lived his life driven by a call to serve. For more than two decades, he donned the badge. More importantly—he embodied the integrity and principled character the shield demands. He wore the uniform knowing it brought risk, but it also brought the reward of keeping Arkansans safe.

Detective Newell was one of the brave. He didn’t pursue a career of comfort — but one where he faced danger, helped those in need, and upheld the rule of law. He was devoted to being a guardian of the community he so loved. His final act of service was in honoring others as he escorted the local Wreaths Across America procession in Northwest Arkansas on his beloved motorcycle. Unfortunately, he was tragically killed during this event in an accident in the line of duty on December 17th.

He, himself, had served in the military. A veteran, patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, training sergeant, lieutenant, detective, and volunteer member of the Gravette Fire Department—wearing the uniform was part of his core no matter what job he held. Those roles are only second to the titles he cherished most: Proud son, husband, father, and grandfather. Our heartfelt sympathies are with his parents, wife, daughters, and grandchildren.

I would like to end with a sentiment that epitomizes the many accolades that have been shared by his fellow brothers and sisters in blue. Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway shared with me the following: ‘We are beyond saddened at the loss of our fallen brother and friend. Detective Paul Newell was one of the most respected deputies at our agency. His presence can never be replaced, but his legacy will remain through the hundreds of people he has trained. I ask that everyone continue to keep his family and fellow deputies in their prayers.’

God bless Detective Paul Newell. His memory is a blessing, and the Third District is forever thankful to have had such a dedicated hero keeping us safe.

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack, December 21

Womack was not the only Arkansas lawmaker to voice sentiments about Det. Newell’s passing.

“I’m deeply saddened to learn Arkansas lost a member of the law enforcement family today in a tragic accident,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson wrote on social media on December 17. “My prayers are with Benton County Deputy Paul Newell’s family, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and the law enforcement community.”

Detective Paul Newell graphic

Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote, “It’s been a tough week for our dedicated men and women in Blue. Our prayers are with the family and loved ones of Benton County Detective Paul Newell who tragically lost his life this morning. May God bring comfort and healing to all those mourning his loss.”

“Cathy and I are saddened by the tragic death of Benton County Sheriff’s Office Detective Paul Daniel Newell today,” Sen. John Boozman wrote. “His final act was in honor of others, escorting the Wreaths Across America procession in NWA. We’re praying for his family, friends and colleagues.”

Procession through Bentonville for Detective Paul Newell, killed on duty Saturday, Dec. 17.

First responders held a procession on December 18, escorting his body from the Benton County Coroner’s Office in Bentonville to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock.

A public memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m on December 28 at Cross Church in Rogers. Newell’s body will then be buried at the Maysville Cemetery.