BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — The public is invited to honor and remember Benton County Sheriff’s Detective Paul Newell, who died in a motorcycle crash over the weekend.
The memorial ceremony is happening on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 10:30 a.m. at Cross Church in Rogers. The church will be packed with members of the law enforcement community and the public who want to show their respect for Det. Newell and his family.
On Monday, two days after his death, flags were flying at half-staff around Benton County, including at the sheriff’s office. The flag sat motionless without any wind to keep it alive.
“The only thing I could think was, that can’t be right,” said Benton County Justice of the Peace Brian Armas, District 6.
A BCSO truck sits out front of the department with a motorcycle on its bed, covered in flowers and tokens of gratitude for Det. Newell’s service.
There are currently only four names on the “For those who made the ultimate sacrifice for Benton County” memorial in the walkway into the BCSO office. Soon there will be a fifth name etched into the stone.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Gravette Police Chief Charles Skaggs.
Det. Newell died Saturday morning in a motorcycle crash while escorting a truck for the Wreaths Across America event at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. It’s an event that honors our fallen veterans every holiday season.
His death is a line-of-duty death.
“I’ve known Paul for a long time,” said Chief Skaggs. “Paul is a good man, a member of our community.”
Newell was from Gravette and was a good friend of Chief Skaggs and many others at the Gravette Police Department.
“Stand up guy. If he told you he was going to do something, he was going to do something,” he said. “If you needed something, he was going to be the guy who would help you if you reached out to him.”
JP Armas from Pea Ridge didn’t know Det. Newell personally, but he and his community do know what it means to lose a beloved law enforcement officer.
Det. Newell died just five days after the second annual Officer Kevin Apple 1212 Day was honored in Benton County.
“For that to happen on the heels of 1212 Day, it was stunning,” said JP Armas.
It’s only been a year and a half since Officer Apple died in the line of duty.
“That is still a very fresh wound,” he said.
He wants the Gravette and BCSO communities to know they are not alone in this grieving process.
“I hope that they find comfort knowing that just on the other side of the county, there’s a whole community here that’s willing and able and will feel this in their gut the same way that they feel it,” he said.
JP Armas proposed the resolution for 1212 Day in the Benton County Quorum Court last year. Part of Highway 72 has been renamed to “Officer Kevin Apple Memorial Highway.”
He is encouraging Det. Newell’s communities also find ways of keeping his legacy alive.
“It honors their family and tells those that they’ve left behind that we don’t take this for granted,” he said. “We know that this happened and we’re going to do everything to honor their memory. Additionally, I think it also honors the men and women in uniform who are getting up every day and putting a badge on to say hey, we don’t take you for granted either.”
“He’s gonna be missed,” said Chief Skaggs. “There’s no other way to describe it. He will be missed.”
After the memorial service at Cross Church on the 28th, BCSO said Det. Newell will be buried at the Maysville Cemetery.