Monroe County's Commander in Chief is Sheriff Michael K. Neal. He has worked as a volunteer Fire Fighter for the city of Brinkley, AR. He also worked as an Auxiliary Deputy for Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Neal has exemplified professionalism throughout his Law Enforcement career.
He leads a team here at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department that consists of a Chief Deputy and three Deputy Sheriffs, several Auxiliary Deputies and an Administrative Support Staff.
Sheriff Neal was a Wildlife Officer with Arkansas Game & Fish Commission for seven years prior to taking over as Sheriff.
On May 20, 2010, while working as a Wildlife Officer, he encountered a situation where his Leadership and Law Enforcement skills changed the course of a deadly situation, preventing further tragedy.
In a Wal Mart parking lot near Interstate-40 in West Memphis, AR, he located two gunmen who had shot and killed two Police Officers two hours prior and had just shot and critically injured two additional Police Officers at the Wal Mart location.
He assessed the threat and took control of the situation. To prevent these dangerous criminals from escaping, he rammed his State vehicle into their van, disabling the van. This prevented their escape and saved the lives of the injured Police Officers. Wildlife Officer Neal was sworn in with a commission to Serve and Protect, so he made the decision to take the fight to them, and the gun battle began. Wildlife Officer Neal exchanged fire with the gunmen through his windshield using his patrol rifle, neutralizing the threat so that the other Officers on-scene could surround the vehicle and fatally shoot the gunmen.
Sheriff Neal was injured when he rammed the gunmen’s van at approximately 55 mph. He bounced off the steering wheel, breaking it, but didn't suffer any injuries from that impact. However, he took a lot of shrapnel and glass, and he suffered injuries to his back, face, hands, and ears. He blew out his eardrum, and a piece of glass lodged in his eye.
Governor Mike Beebe presented Michael K Neal with the Congressional Medal of Valor on February 20th 2013. During the Presentation Ceremony, the Governor credited our Sheriff’s brave actions with saving many other lives.
Sheriff Neal received additional National recognition for his heroic actions. The National Rifle Association (NRA) named him their 2010 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the year, and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) selected him as its Officer of the Month for October 2010. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) named International Officer of the Year during their 2010 Conference in Chicago.
The bullet-riddled, smashed-up Arkansas Game and Fish Commission truck is on display at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington D.C.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Department is committed to quality service with an emphasis on Community Partnerships and Problem Solving, the core principles of Community Policing.