Sgt. Christopher Wayne Lutman, community relations supervisor for the El Dorado Police Department, was named the 2017 Union County Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Rutledge notified the EPD last month that her office had sifted through several nominations for Union County law enforcement officers and selected Lutman as the 2017 honoree.
Lutman traveled to Camp Robinson in Little Rock Tuesday where he was officially presented with the award during the annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit.
He described his reaction upon hearing the news about the award in September.
“It freaked me out,” he said with a laugh, adding that he did not know that he had been nominated.
Lutman said he had been called to Police Chief Billy White’s office, and he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw White waiting with EPD captains Kevin Holt, Cathy Phillips, Michael Leveritt and Karl Nichols.
“I thought, ‘Uh-oh, what did I do?’ I thought I had done something wrong,” Lutman recalled.
He said he then learned why he had been summoned to White’s office when the group of superior officers began reading comments that had been submitted to Rutledge’s office with Lutman’s nomination packet.
“I’m just doing my daily job. It’s definitely a privilege to serve El Dorado, and to be recognized for it was a nice surprise,” Lutman said.
Lutman, who has been with the EPD for nearly nine years, has 15 years of experience in law enforcement.
A Jacksonville native, Lutman served in the U.S. Air Force Elite Presidential Unit in Washington, D.C. and served as personal security for the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon. He is a veteran of the Gulf War and was stationed in Taif, Saudi Arabia.
He has an associate’s degree in criminal justice, and he previously worked for the North Little Rock Police Department.
After a few years working retail management in the private sector, Lutman decided to return to the law enforcement, joining the EPD in December 2008.
He was promoted to sergeant in 2013, and a short time later, he was appointed to the then-newly created position of community relations supervisor.
“(Sgt.) Chris Lutman has been chosen for the position because of his passion for community service. He really thrives on that,” Holt said at the time.
In that capacity, Lutman serves as a liaison between the public and the EPD as part of an effort by the department to build a stronger relationship between officers and the citizens they serve.
He immediately wanted to take a pro-active approach in addressing crime, building trust with citizens and improving neighborhoods, thus, the quality of life for El Dorado residents.
Lutman was tasked with launching the first Citizens Police Academy, a 10-week program in which students have the opportunity to get a firsthand look at police work.
He also participates in speaking engagements and organizes community-oriented events — such as Night Out, part of a national campaign to build safer communities, in August.
Lutman works with neighborhood watch programs and local schools, and conducts tours of the EPD.
He also serves as training supervisor for the EPD.
Lutman serves on the board of directors for the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and Crime Stoppers and has served as an El Dorado School Board member and as a deacon at First Baptist Church in El Dorado.
“Sgt. Lutman’s outstanding dedicated service to the community reflects well upon himself and the police department,” White wrote upon announcing the award on the EPD Facebook page in September.
“With the number of activities Sgt. Lutman is involved with and all he does to promote the department, we were very fortunate when we were asked to make a recommendation from law enforcement officers within Union County,” Holt said of Lutman’s Officer of the Year nomination and award.
Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Billy Packer was named the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year during the law enforcement summit on Tuesday.
In addition to the statewide and regional Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year awards, Rutledge recognized one law enforcement officer from each county as an Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer.
These awards recognize college or university, municipal, county, federal or state law enforcement officers who go above and beyond the call of duty.
Nominations were accepted from police chiefs, county sheriffs, county judges, mayors, prosecutors and other state law enforcement leaders from across Arkansas.
Last year, Lt. Steven Jerry of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, received the award for the county.
“Arkansas is blessed to have some of the best in the nation serving as law enforcement officers,” Rutledge said.
“… we recognize these men and women for their tremendous service to their communities and dedication to going the extra mile to keep their neighbors safe from harm,” Rutledge continued before congratulating the 2017 honorees.
Lutman said he enjoyed being in the company of fellow law enforcement officers from across the state and nation who attended the summit on Tuesday.
Moreover, he said he was proud to represent EPD and the city of El Dorado.
“We have a great community with lots of great things going on, and I’m looking forward to all of the great things to come,” he said.
City Editor Janice McIntyre contributed to this article.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.