Last week, the Arkansas Municipal Police Association (AMPA) held it’s annual state convention in Heber Springs for the first time. Sgt. Lloyd White of the Heber Springs Police Department was inducted as the new president of the AMPA. White has served on the police force in Heber since 1987 and will now also represent municipal police officers across the state. Three prior officers from Heber Springs have served as presidents of the organization in the past, but White’s induction will mark the first time the statewide convention has been held in Heber Springs. Prior presidents from Heber were Huey Chastain, Fred Byford, and David Stogsdill.
During the opening ceremony of the convention, visitors were welcomed by an array of local officials. Sheriff Marty Moss praised the officers saying their job was “very difficult and thankless. I want to thank you.” Moss went on to praise White saying, “Lloyd started in law enforcement about the same time as me. You’re in good hands.”
State Representative John Payton was also in attendance. “I like to think the people of Cleburne County have a great respect for law enforcement,” said Payton. “You make a huge sacrifice and your families do too. It’s greatly appreciated.” County Judge Jerry Holmes also praised White and the other officers present. “We greatly appreciate you being here,” said Holmes. Mayor Jackie McPherson told visitors he was proud of Heber’s local police force and had praise for Heber Police Chief Bobby Walker. “I am so proud of our local force. Bobby Walker has made amazing changes, like the body cameras that his officers have to wear now,” said McPherson. “Lloyd (White) is the most respected officer in Heber and a dare say all of Cleburne County.” White then introduced Chief Walker. “Unlike these guys, I landed here. If you ever want to relocate, it’s a great place. Crime is low, schools are great. There are lots of good people here. And everyone loves Lloyd.”
A banquet was held Thursday evening with the AMPA representatives and their families to acknowledge Lloyd White as the newly elected president of the organization and to honor outgoing president Chris Powell of the Pine Bluff Police Department. Powell was presented with a plaque and a 1911 Rock Island firearm.
State Representative Josh Miller was the keynote speaker for the banquet. “You couldn’t have elected a finer guy,” said Miller about White’s election as president. “I’ve never found anyone who said something negative about Lloyd White.” Miller went on to praise the Heber Police Department and the other officers present. “We can make all the laws we want, but if we don’t have the right people enforcing those laws, it’s all for naught.”
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Miller shared his personal story with the officers regarding his vehicle accident at age 22 that left him in a wheelchair. “I had been drinking and ran off the road into a ravine. Just a couple of weeks before, I had been pulled over for driving drunk and was let go. Maybe, if he had taken me in like I should have been, I would be standing in front of you today.” Miller received a standing ovation for his speech from the officers.
According to their website, the AMPA was formed in 1936 and it’s purpose is to provide “a strong voice for law enforcement officers” both inside and outside the workplace.