Arkansas Law Enforcement

Arkansas law enforcement officials say they would like to equip their officers with body cameras but that their cost may prevent it.

Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck says the cost of body cameras - more than $1,000 per camera - is a problem.

Cradduck says body cameras can help law enforcement in two ways. The Northwest Arkansas Times reports  cameras can clear a deputy of false allegations. Cameras can also provide evidence if a deputy abuses his authority.

Hernando de Soto Bridge spanning the Mississippi River between West Memphis, AR and Memphis, TN.
wikipedia.org

The FBI wants law officers assigned to areas around the Mississippi River bridges at Memphis, Tennessee, to keep an eye on the spans after a vague threat that one would be blown up. FBI spokesmen said Tuesday the threat was unsubstantiated but that local police were still notified.

Two cross-country routes traverse the Mississippi River at Memphis - Interstates 40 and 55. They remained open.

Elected officials in a northeast Arkansas town have voted to create a police department after more than 20 years without one.

KAIT-TV reports the Batesville City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to re-establish the department. The Independence County Sheriff's Department had been providing law enforcement services since 1981, after the city discontinued its police force.

Arkansas Capitol
Ron Breeding / KUAR News

Recent decisions by federal grand juries to not indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York have stirred protesters around the country.

In Little Rock, a small group of organizers is planning a “silent protest” this weekend. They hope to call attention to and help mend tensions between black communities and the local police.

KUAR's Chris Hickey caught up with Jessica Lawson, who, along with Mondale Robinson, is organizing the event.

 

A federal appeals court in St. Louis is scheduled to hear oral arguments as part of a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of a 67-year-old Arkansas man killed by an off-duty Little Rock police officer.

The female officer and a colleague who also was working private security when Eugene Ellison was shot to death in December 2010 want the appeals court to overturn a lower court ruling denying their immunity claims in the suit by Ellison's family.

Eugene Ellison
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Attorneys for the family of Eugene Ellison, a 67-year-old man killed by off duty Little Rock Police officers in his home four years ago, held a forum Tuesday night. It came two days before an appeal of a lawsuit against the department will be heard in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Saint Louis.

Ellison was shot in his home when two officers working as security at his apartment complex approached his unit and an altercation ensued. Chicago attorney Mike Laux said Ellison’s it was a wrongful death.

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson named has Bill Bryant, formerly of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as the new director of the Arkansas State Police. Bryant is a resident of Little Rock.

Stan Witt, the current director of the state police, announced yesterday that he would not be retained in the post.

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson has told the head of Arkansas State Police that the agency will have a new director after Hutchinson takes office next year.

Col. Stan Witt told employees Tuesday that Hutchinson had told him that he won't be staying on as director of State Police when the new governor is sworn into office in January.

A spokesman for Hutchinson confirmed that Hutchinson didn't plan to keep Witt as ASP director. Hutchinson has not announced who he'll name as Witt's replacement.

The Little Rock Police Department says it will release a new policy governing how officers should treat members of the city's transgender community they make contact with.

The department will release the new policy Wednesday at the Transgender Day of Remembrance at Philander Smith College.

Lt. Sidney Allen says the department has been working with the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition in drafting the new policy for officers to follow.

Allen says the new policy will reflect the department's goal of protecting the rights of all citizens.

A former Arkansas State Police lieutenant has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after pleading guilty in a drug case.

Prosecutors had accused former Lt. Sedrick Reed of conspiring to distribute and possess cocaine. At a plea hearing in July, Reed admitted taking drugs from a traffic stop and the Arkansas State Police evidence locker.

Federal prosecutors say Reed admitted making more than $200,000 in profit from the stolen drugs.

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