Appriss’ “Get to Know Your Customers” Series
1st Quarter Spotlight:
Arkansas VINE Program Manager Benny Battles
“Get to Know Your Customers Day” is observed on the third Thursday of each quarter. Appriss would like to take this opportunity to learn a little bit more about our customers, and to spotlight just how wonderful they are.
Appriss’ flagship solution, VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is the nation’s leading automated victim notification system. Simply, victims and concerned citizens can register, via VINE, and be notified when an offender is released from custody. VINE is used across 48 states, providing millions of Americans the peace of mind they deserve.
In each state, there is at least one designated VINE Program Manager. The Program Manager is typically an employee of the entity or agency that holds the VINE contract in that location, and serves as the liaison between Appriss and their community. They are the main point of contact for all VINE-related questions, concerns, or needs that citizens may have, and are responsible for ensuring their community is knowledgeable about the VINE services available to them.
Program Managers are imperative to the success of VINE—as they provide Appriss invaluable feedback and suggestions “from the field,” so that we can be confident the service offers a streamlined, user-friendly experience and continues to be a trusted safety net for victims.
Our VINE Program Manager in the great State of Arkansas is Mr. Benny Battles. Let’s get to know Benny a little better…
Name: Benny Battles
State/Title: Arkansas/VINE State Program Manager & Training Manager
Professional Background: 43 years of law enforcement experience
I began my law enforcement career as a dispatcher for the campus police where I attended college (University of Central Arkansas). Upon graduation, they offered me a job. I had planned to go on to law school there, so I accepted the position. I attended law school for a year, and ultimately decided that I was pretty burned out on school. But, I did enjoy law enforcement, so I moved on to a larger department to grow my career. But before leaving, I gave a young woman a parking ticket. We met again a few weeks later when I dropped off a patient at the local emergency room (she was a nurse, and I also worked part-time as an ambulance driver). We have been happily married now for 38 years.
I retired at the rank of Asst. Chief in 2006 from the Conway (AR) Police Department. I only stayed retired for 23 days before returning to the workforce, and eventually returned to criminal justice here at Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC), where I teach those beginning their careers—just as I did at the beginning of my career as a dispatcher.
What keeps you in your role as VINE PM? The satisfaction of helping people solve unique problems.
What is the best part of your job? Knowing that I make a difference to people in need.
The hardest? Not being able to “fix” everything.
What does VINE mean to your state? VINE is a staple in Arkansas. We were one of the first states to adopt the VINE program over 20 years ago, thus, today’s law enforcement practitioners don’t know any other way. And the victims really feel empowered—just knowing that it is there for them.
Where did you grow up? Central Arkansas. I live within eight miles of the house where I was born.
What are your hobbies? I play the guitar and pretty much anything with strings. I have recently taken up bird photography.
Where is your favorite place to travel? Alaska, or anywhere that there are mountains. I have been to Alaska eight summers in a row, and haven’t been there enough yet. Although, this year we plan to go to New England in the fall.
Favorite food? LARRY’S PIZZA….are you kidding?! Good Southern BBQ comes in a close second.
Favorite sports team? Whoever is the underdog in the Iditarod.
I trained dogs with “Winningest Musher in the World,” Jeff King when he was competing against up-and-coming great, Dallas Seavey. Dallas was 25 years old, the odds-on favorite, and had all kinds of corporate sponsoring. Jeff was 60 years old and basically sponsored himself. Dallas still won, but Jeff gave him a run for his money.
Favorite color? Blue. Can’t be a cop that long and not fall in love with blue.
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving
We always have the whole family together…and there’s food involved!!
What books are you reading? Working on a really thorough Bible study, as well as several others books on bird photography. The last really good biography that I read was Jimmy Capps, The Man In Back, about a guitarist who has been an A-rated staple in Nashville for 60 years. He’s also a good personal friend of mine, so I was kinda obligated to plug his book.
What TV shows do you watch? Never miss Andy Griffith, Life Below Zero, Everybody Loves Raymond, and the news.
Do you have any pets? Three dogs, two cats, and four grandchildren
What is your favorite quote? I recently lost my daughter, Beth, to cancer. She always said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
What is interesting about you that most people don’t know?
I was in a movie once with Dennis Quaid and Richard Thomas, directed by James Bridges. The movie was a total box-office flop, but just look at what I did for those guys’ careers! The movie, titled September 30, 1955, is about the impact of the death of James Dean on a young college teenager in Arkansas. With my best efforts to guide them, Dennis Quaid is now doing commercials on late-night TV, and Richard Thomas is in virtually every Hallmark channel series. But let me tell you, that Richard Thomas has no coordination when it comes to riding a Harley. He wrecked one on the set about 10 feet away from me, when he mixed up the clutch and the brake. It set the movie back about nine months while his broken leg healed.
That wraps it up for this quarter’s “Get to Know Your Customers Day” spotlight. We have enjoyed learning and sharing a little more about what makes Benny such great partner in Arkansas. Thanks Benny!