While the New Year’s Eve snow hit Little Rock, Sr. Cpl. D. Leroy Sitton began his last patrol of I-30 from the I-40 interchange in North Little Rock to the I-440/ I-530 interchange in Little Rock, a route patrolled by this Arkansas State Police Trooper since 1985, an area that “has an accident every once in awhile.”As the flakes began falling on the road, he wondered, “What am I doing here?”
Before the night was over, Sitton finished a 31 ½-year journey started July 1, 1969, his 31st birthday. On that day, he entered the Arkansas State Police academy, leaving behind a 12-year-job at Crow-Burlingame to follow in his father’s footsteps as a lawman. Haskell E. and Mattie (Tomlinson) Sitton had moved their family throughout North Central Arkansas while the elder Sitton worked as a deputy sheriff in Boone County, a city policeman in Harrison (twice), and as the City Marshall in Yellville, Clinton and Melbourne. The elder Sitton retired in 1975 as a Lieutenant in the Arkansas Highway Police, having served 40 years as an officer of the law.
Having survived an attempt on his life while serving as the City Marshall of Clinton and also helping solve a murder case which garnered national attention, the elder Sitton knew a few things about enforcing the law and passed this knowledge on to Sitton. Sitton, who had witnessed the attempt on his father’s life, paid attention.
“The first thing my dad told me was to always treat people the way you’d like to be treated until they make you treat them otherwise, and to always have compassion for people,” he said. “Just because you get someone for speeding or a DWI doesn’t mean they’re scum of the earth. It just means they made a mistake.” Continue reading