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ASU-Newport dedicates criminal justice department to fallen officer Weatherford

Jackson County Sheriff's Department Facebook Page

Arkansas State University-Newport’s Criminal Justice Department is dedicated to a fallen Newport officer. 

The department has been named after the late Lt. Patrick Weatherford, calling it the "Lt. Patrick Weatherford Criminal Justice Department."  Weatherford was killed in the line of duty in June while assisting another officer during a traffic stop.   

Officers with the Newport Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, and surrounding police departments attended Thursday's ceremony.  Captain Ricky Morales with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department says the program is needed at a time when it is hard to keep people in law enforcement.

"So, right now, our key to getting this program going is getting these guys set up and ready to go," Morales said.

Weatherford was a graduate of the program at ASU-Newport.  He also received a Bachelor’s Degree at Arkansas State University and a Master’s Degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Dr. Sandra Massey, Chancellor of ASU-Newport, called Weatherford a good role model. 

"His legacy will go on forever," Massey said.  "We're very thrilled to have this program named after him because it will always be a reminder of what type of officer we want all of our students to end up being."

Weatherford also was a 2016 graduate of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.  Weatherford was an instructor of the program.

The ASU Board of Trustees approved the naming of the department in September. 

Editor's note:  Arkansas State University is the license holder for KASU 91.9 FM.

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.