The Arkansas State Police held a good-bye party Thursday for Cpl. Carl Dunn Jr., who is leaving the force for a job with the railroad but not leaving Pine Bluff.
“Everybody in the community knows him,” said Lt. David Sims, who served as Dunn’s supervisor at Troop E in Pine Bluff. “He’s the type of guy with that personality that everybody likes to be around him. We hate to see him go, and we’ll miss him.”
Dunn worked 17 years with the State Police, spending most of that time patrolling on the roadways but also training the new recruits and conducting community outreach programs. Sims said Dunn was the type of trooper his colleagues and supervisors could always depend on to do what was asked of him and he shined in situations that involved children.
“He is great with the people in the public and especially with families with kids,” Sims said.
Many times when people interact with a trooper, it could be one of the worst days of their lives — a bad interstate wreck, for example — and Sims said Dunn’s “special gift” could make all the difference in otherwise bad situations.
With a little pressing, Dunn humbly acknowledged Sims’ praise, but had trouble at first picking out a favorite aspect of the profession.
“Everything that I’ve done here has been a high point,” Dunn said. “I’ve loved my job and given it 110 percent.”
But once he started listing things, they kept coming: yes, he enjoyed the public outreach programs he facilitated because they gave him a chance to mentor young people while educating them about drunk and distracted driving; and yes, the camaraderie that comes with serving with a close-knit group of troopers was uplifting, as was the opportunity to teach the new recruits as a field training officer and pass on to them “something that God blessed me with.”
And perhaps the highest of the highs came for Dunn in the form of a trooper’s basic function of responding to accidents.
“Working wrecks, you know you’re helping someone,” Dunn said.
Dunn’s help was at times life-saving, and he received an accommodation in about 2008 after rescuing a woman who was trapped in a car.
But amongst all the serious things, there were fun times too, as evidenced by the back-and-forth banter that was going on among Dunn’s State Police family at the going-away party Thursday.
“He’s always had a huge heart, so if he would get a call about a deer or some other animal on the side of a road, he would have to call someone else to destroy it,” Sims said, agreeing that in what can be the tough guy’s world of law enforcement, that opened Dunn up to some good-natured ribbing from his fellow troopers. “He just loved life and loved animals so much.”
Mixed in with his colleagues, friends and State Police retirees who came back to wish him well, Dunn’s family was also there to mark the occasion: his father, Carl Dunn Sr.; son, Carl Dunn III; nieces Cardajah and Carmen Dunn; and wife Shamika. His daughters Daphne and MaKeda Dunn wanted to be there but couldn’t make it.
Carl Dunn Jr. said he and his family will continue to live in Pine Bluff as he enters the next phase of his life working for Union Pacific out of its North Little Rock branch.