Sheriff Benny Magness
Term: 1995 - 1996
A lifelong resident of Baxter County, Benny Magness has devoted the majority of his life to serving law enforcement and continues to do so to this day.
Benny was born in 1952 at Cotter, Arkansas, to Jesse (Tusome) Warren Magness (of Muskogee, OK) and Betty Jo Stanley Magness, of Cotter, AR. Benny graduated from Cotter High School in 1970. In 1972 he married Janie Journagan of Harrison, AR. He is a graduate of ALETA (Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy).
Benny began working as a Patrol Deputy for the Baxter County Sheriff's Office on January 1,1975, under Sheriff Jack Gregory. At that time the Sheriff's Office had only 14 to 16 deputies, including jail staff. In 1984 he became the helicopter pilot for the Sheriff's Office.
In 1995, Benny was appointed to complete the term of then-Sheriff Joe Edmonds who resigned that position to become the Arkansas State Drug Director. Benny has worked for the Sheriff's Office for over 35 years, and has served under four other Sheriffs: Jack Gregory, Joe Edmonds (both terms), Charlie Garrison, and current Sheriff John Montgomery.
Over the past 35 years, there have been many memorable cases that Benny can recall, including the Herbert Brenk murder case. (Brenk was convicted of bludgeoning his wife with a hammer and then dismembered her body, placing portions of it in a cooler and tossing it into Norfork Lake.)
Another memorable case is one where Benny flew several officers to Utah to question a number of murder suspects, including one who was convicted and is currently on Death Row.
One of the most positive projects that Benny worked on was the DARE Program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). He worked with Sheriff Garrison to apply and get the first grant to start the DARE Program. This program resulted in Baxter County having School Resource Officers in all of our schools.
Benny has served of the State of Arkansas Board of Corrections for the past 12 years. Benny continues to serve as a Deputy/Pilot with the Baxter County Sheriff's Office and is in charge of the office's Aviation Unit.