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Lt. Rodney Myers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was honored last Tuesday at the 2023 Officer of the Year Awards luncheon hosted by Attorney General Tim Griffin for his efforts in northeastern Arkansas.
Special Agent Matt Foster and Senior Cpl. David Smothers of Arkansas State Police received Statewide Officers of the Year honors. Myers and four law enforcement officers from state- or city-based police departments each received regional awards for their efforts serving Arkansans and helping keep communities safe.
Myers has 29 years of law enforcement experience, including 17 years with Arkansas State Police before joining the AGFC as a game warden in 2016. In addition to wildlife law enforcement in St. Francis County, Myers has served many specialized roles for the AGFC, including the agency’s Honor Guard and Pipe and Drum Team for special events.
Myers’ most notable contributions to earn this most recent honor have been through his work as a drone operator on the AGFC’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Team.
According to Cpt. Kirk Harris in the AGFC’s Brinkley Regional Office, Myers volunteered to add drone operation on top of his standard duties and obtained all certifications required to become an FAA-certified pilot.
“Since then, he has once again proven his abilities and dedication to not only the AGFC, but many other agencies that have called for assistance,” Harris reported in his nomination letter.
Myers flew the drone an impressive 237 times during the last 18 months during his training and to help wildlife regulation enforcement efforts. Twenty-one of those flights were to assist other law enforcement and search-and-rescue organizations. The use of the aerial drone has been valuable in assisting with manhunts, missing persons cases and documenting fatal vehicle accidents and recoveries.
“The most significant usage was Lt. Myers’ response to Wynne, Arkansas, immediately after a large tornado ripped a path of destruction through the heart of the town on March 31,” Harris said. “Myers deployed the drone to determine the amount of damage and where first responders were needed the most.”
According to Harris, Myers worked the disaster area for the next 10 days, conducting many more flights to assist with the assignment of heavy equipment to clear the highest-priority areas first.
Several other AGFC game wardens also received commendations on a county level:
Baxter County — Cpl. Lyndle Crownover, AGFC
Cleburne County — Game Warden Briston Gould, AGFC
Jackson County — Cpl. Dustin Smith, AGFC
Polk County — Game Warden Chris Crawford, AGFC
St. Francis County — Lt. Rodney Myers, AGFC