North Little Rock Police Officer Tommy Norman was selected as the American Legion Department of Arkansas Law Enforcement Officer-of-the-Year at a special Awards Presentation Ceremony held Saturday at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel.
The American Legion Department of Arkansas bestows its Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to a well-rounded law enforcement officer who has exceeded the duty requirements expected of his or her position, according to Frank Kaye, American Legion Department of Arkansas judge advocate.
Kaye said Norman has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service.
Norman’s name will be submitted to the American Legion National Headquarters as a nominee for the 2013 National Law Enforcement Officer-of-the-Year.
A patrol officer since 1998, Norman is well-known in North Little Rock for his community service, said Kaye.
"Local children know him from the ‘Back-to-School’ event where he distributes backpacks and sneakers to children in need, or as the lead officer for the Star Student Program at local schools," Kaye said.
During the holidays, Norman coordinates community programs such as "Shop With a Cop," which he established five years ago, and the "Season of Giving," which he created 12 years ago.
"When Officer Norman is not patrolling, you can usually find him involved in volunteer work, as he raises money for the Special Olympics by participating in the Law Enforcement Torch Run or with Krispy Kreme’s ‘Cops on Top’ fundraiser," Kaye said. "His supervisors say he builds lasting relationships with community residents and is a remarkable role model for children. However, the far-reaching word on the street about officer Norman even compelled a murder suspect in a neighboring city in 2001 to find officer Norman, who then facilitated his surrender to authorities."
Norman said he is honored receiving the award.
"The American Legion is a very respected organization, and I feel honored with the recognition," Norman said.
He also volunteers with the "Make A Wish" Foundation. In 2000, he was selected by the Governor’s Office from 84 law enforcement officers from across the state as "top officer." In further recognition of his service, "Officer Tommy Norman Day" was proclaimed within the city of North Little Rock on Nov. 30, 2000.
In May 2001, he was named the Optimist Club Officer of the Year and the North Little Rock Officer of the Year. He also was named the 2003-04 Volunteer of the Year for Boone Park Elementary School.
Norman’s other accomplishments include:
• Receiving the Community Spirit Award in 2004 from the Central Arkansas Boys & Girls Club;
• Being named the Southeast Regional Good Neighbor Award winner by the Kroger Company for outstanding community serviced in 2004;
• Earning the 2008 Officer of the Year from the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police;
• Receiving the Police Achievement Award in 2009 for his community service and for showing that his department cares about people in need;
• Getting the North Little Rock District Outstanding Service Award in 2009;
• Receiving the "Service to Law Enforcement" award from the Lions of Golden Distinction in 2010;
• Earning the Law and Order Award from the Military Order of World Wars in 2011.
In 2011 he was one of more than 1,000 first responders (police, fire, emergency medical technicians) nationwide nominated by members of the public for the national America’s Most Wanted/Spirit All-Star Award. On May 9, he received a phone call from America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh who announced him as the winner of the contest. As the winner, he received $10,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet Walsh along with a trip to Charlotte, N.C., to attend a Spirit Cup NASCAR race.
The $10,000 prize was donated to four Central Arkansas charities. As a result of winning the America’s Most Wanted All-Star Award, the city of North Little Rock proclaimed May 23, 2011 as Officer Larry Norman Day in the city.