Gov. Hutchinson announces establishment of Law Enforcement Task Force

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday he will sign an executive order to create a task force to advance the state of law enforcement in Arkansas.

Members of the task force are chair Fred Weatherspoon- deputy director of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. Jami Cook- Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, Scott Hamilton- CEO of the Urban League of Arkansas, Rosa Velazquez- Lead advocate for Arkansas United, Jimmy Warren- Citizen advocate from Conway, Tim Campbell- protest organizer,  Scott Bradley- Executive Director of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association, Percy Wilburn- Former Chief of Police in Lake Village and the vice-chairman on the Commission of Law Enforcement Standards, Shirley Washington- Mayor of Pine Bluff, James Sanders- Mayor of Blytheville, Tim Helder- Sheriff of Washington County, and KenDrell Collins- Assistant Federal Public Defender.

The task force will review law enforcement training and policy.

They will also study and analyze the processes for accountability.

The task force will also create and implement a statewide database for complaints about officers.

The group will review community policing and how it can be enhanced.

They will also make recommendations to enhance trust between law enforcement and communities.

The task force will make a final report to the governor by December 31, 2020.

Governor Hutchinson said there will not be an agenda item to defund law enforcement with this task group.

The governor said there can be a discussion if funding changes are needed.

Weatherspoon said, “I think collaboration starts today with this forming of this committee that has a very important task ahead of it.”

Weatherspoon said when he was 10 years old, he experienced the impact of police brutality through his father.

Weatherspoon said his father was arrested in Jefferson County and was subject to excessive force. Weatherspoon said when his mother and uncle brought his dad home, he and his brother ran away from their dad because they didn’t recognize him due to the severity of the beating he received.

Weatherspoon said he started his law enforcement career after a friend who worked at the Magnolia Police Department told him he had an opportunity to bring change.

Weatherspoon served with Magnolia Police for 10 years before he worked at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

The governor said the task force will probably meet within the next two weeks.

You can watch the full news conference above.

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