How the ASPF is Helping the Helpers

The Arkansas State Police was established in 1935 to assist local law enforcement in protecting the lives, property and constitutional rights of people in Arkansas. They supply resources not available at the local level and help investigate every major criminal case, fatal crash and crime committed against a child. They also provide extra patrolling support to keep Arkansas roads safe.

The ASP, like many state agencies, is often unable to operate to its full capacity on government funding alone. That’s where the Arkansas State Police Foundation comes in to help fill the financial gaps. ASPF Board Chair Frank Guinn was part of the movement in 2002 to create the foundation. After being made aware of some ways the troopers could use assistance, he wanted to be a part of the solution. 

“These guys are well trained in what they do,” Guinn says. “It’s just been something that I am passionate about. Any time we can help them, I feel like we’re helping our state.” 

The ASPF recently purchased new badges for the troopers and pledged to make sure they are fully equipped and capable of responding to any threat. Guinn has coined a phrase that’s often used within the organization and in promotional literature: “The troopers have the public’s back, so we’ve got theirs.” 

The foundation is successful thanks to the fundraising and outreach efforts of its auxiliary composed of spouses of ASP employees and troopers. Board members are also integral in fundraising efforts. Each board member is tasked with raising $4,000 per year. 

The foundation’s latest venture, launched in 2020, is a scholarship fund that assists dependents of active auxiliary members with college or technical school tuition at an Arkansas institution. ASPF Executive Director Emily Hamilton says the number of scholarships handed out has increased each year. In fall 2021, it awarded one $4,000 per semester scholarship. In fall 2022, that number grew to seven, and for fall 2023, it awarded 15 scholarships. Hamilton says it plans to add more recipients every year. 

Auxiliary member Jaime Briggs says the ASPF scholarship allowed her daughter to pursue a criminology degree at the University of Central Arkansas and will help her son after he graduates this year. 

“Without this amazing support, our children would not be able to attend college nearly debt free,” Briggs says. “My husband and I are so thankful for this opportunity. While we both serve our communities — I’m a teacher — we have saved what we could for our children their entire lives. It’s a blessing to know our children have the same opportunity as others with this scholarship.” 

Part of the scholarship application requires students to write an essay about the experience of being a child or dependent of a state trooper. Hamilton, who is also state president for the Spouses’ Auxiliary and serves on the executive board, says some of the essays are read aloud at events and there’s hardly a dry eye in the room afterward. 

“You really feel like you’re making a difference for these families,” Hamilton says. “When they’re worried about how they’re going to cover their child’s student debt, it’s nice to know that someone has their back and is willing to help.” 

The money raised at the third annual ASPF Lexus Champions of Charity Golf Outing on Oct. 2 will go directly into the scholarship fund. Dave Parker of Parker Lexus in Little Rock has been involved with the ASPF for 10 years. 

“I continue to support our troopers because they choose to put public safety above their own,” Parker says. “I have tremendous respect for their bravery, their integrity and their professional demeanor. I want to help any way that I can.” 

The ASPF has several other important projects it raises money for as well. Hearts for Heroes was created to assist members of the ASP family in times of need, whether it be an illness, house fire or other natural disaster. Hamilton says the fund was instrumental in helping many families recover after the recent tornadoes in Little Rock. Even though the recipients are confidential, Hamilton says troopers often approach the foundation after receiving assistance and thank them for reaching out during a difficult event in their life. Don and Robin Houseworth are the main fundraisers behind the effort and are currently planning an event for the fall or winter.

A new precision driving training complex at Camp Robinson is also a result of the ASPF’s efforts. 

“Phase one was a state-of-the-art driving track, tower and garage,” Hamilton says. “For phase two, we built a large building with a classroom, kitchenette and meeting rooms. We’re in the planning stages of phase three, which will be a barracks and dining hall.” 

Prior to the complex’s construction, Arkansas was one of the few states that didn’t have a driving track, and troopers were forced to use the Stuttgart airport for training exercises. The driving track is now open to all law enforcement within the state and can be reserved for training.   

In addition to its core causes, the foundation also funds social events so the employees, troopers and their families can relax and have enjoyable experiences together. It funds family days, holiday parties, cookouts, award ceremonies and other communal activities for the families. 

“We realize it’s important to maintain relationships and take your mind off state police matters sometimes,” Hamilton says, noting that along with the fun times, the group also serves as a support system during difficult ones. “We have had tragedies happen and the auxiliary has come together. I’ve sat in ER waiting rooms with six other auxiliary members sitting beside me. We really are a family.”

For community members who want to help, the foundation accepts donations and has a few small merchandise items available for purchase, though there are ways to help beyond financial giving. 

“It’s free to raise awareness,” she says. “It’s always free to share our Facebook posts and help raise awareness for our cause.” 

Taking up the executive director role in March, Hamilton says she has felt equipped for the position and has unique insight as a trooper’s wife herself. 

“I get to see both sides of it,” she says. “I get to see it from a trooper’s family perspective, too. I have two children on scholarship, and it means so much to me. I am proud of my husband and his accomplishments, and I’m so proud to work for an organization that has such a heart for troopers and their families and is helping to better our lives.” 

ASPF Lexus Champions of Charity Golf Outing
Benefiting the Arkansas State Police Foundation
Oct. 2, 1 p.m. | Pleasant Valley Country Club


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