AAC Blue

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Department of Public Safety Secretary Jami Cook (middle), whom the Governor appointed to help oversee the Task Force, attends a Back the Blue event on the State Capitol steps. Proposed legislation regarding law enforcement was announced at the event.

rotid artery restraint” chokeholds and “any other maneuvers for applying direct pressure on a windpipe or airway would be classified as a deadly force technique”; Denver will be banning chokeholds with no exceptions; Minneapolis announced an order to prohibit all neck restrains and chokeholds, requir- ing officers to physically intervene against unauthorized use of force, and requiring officers to notify a supervisor if they see inappropriate use of force; and Seattle voted unanimously to ban chokeholds and crowd control methods. Even the govern- ment of France has announced that police will be prohibited from using chokeholds during arrests.

Te Task Force In Arkansas, chokeholds are outlawed as not being “objec-

tively reasonable.” Terefore, chokeholds are not taught in Ar- kansas, nor are they advocated or supported. If a chokehold were to be used in a situation wherein it is not warranted, the officer would be subject to investigation. Even so, under- standing the widespread unease within the community due to the events throughout the country in the past year, Gov. Asa Hutchinson created the Law Enforcement Task Force with the purpose to ensure best practices for law enforcement and to guide the advancement of Arkansas’ law enforcement. Te Governor appointed Department of Public Safety Secretary Jami Cook and Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Acad- emy Deputy Director Fred Weatherspoon to lead the efforts of the Task Force, members of which he also appointed. Tey range from law enforcement leaders to community activists, and they serve as an advisory body of the Governor to pro- pose recommendations on how to advance the state of law


enforcement in Arkansas. Te Task Force is divided into four subcommittees, each with a chairman appointed by the Gov- ernor. Each subcommittee has seven to eight members. Ac- cording to a news release on the Governor’s website (http://, each member of the Task Force has the responsibility to “review the adequacy of law enforcement training, policy, and operations, specifically as they relate to cultural, racial, and community relations, ... study and ana- lyze the processes of accountability of standards, obstacles for recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers, etc.” When he created this Task Force by Executive Order 20-30 (, the Governor told the media, “It’s going to be dynamic. It’s going to be listening to the com- munity. It’s going to be addressing the serious issues that we’ve seen reflected across the country.” Task force members were allowed to be part of more than one subcommittee and were able to listen to the other meet- ings even if they were not a member of the subcommittee. Te individual subcommittees met virtually at least once a month from June 18, 2020, to Nov. 13, 2020. After intensive, honest, and collaborative dialogue in these subcommittees, the Task Force subcommittees made recommendations to the Governor regarding enhancing trust between law enforcement and communities, and improvements or changes that need to be made to ensure compliance to standards of the profession. Te findings of the Task Force have been formulated into 27 official recommendations, compiled in a final report submit- ted to the Governor on Dec. 31, 2020.

Te Four Subcommittees Subcommittee 1, chaired by Conway Citizen Advocate

Jimmy Warren, was formed to review the adequacy of law en- forcement training, policy, and operations, specifically related to cultural, racial, and community relations. Subcommittee 2, chaired by Craighead County Sheriff

Marty Boyd, was to study and analyze the processes for ac- countability, discipline, removal, and decertification of of- ficers who do not meet standards, including an evaluation for the creation and implementation of a statewide, public database of complaints and resolutions concerning law en- forcement officers. Subcommittee 3, chaired by Van Buren Citizen Advocate Layla Holloway, was tasked to study and analyze the effective- ness and sustainability of community policing efforts, includ- ing the impact of law enforcement officers living in the com- munities in which they are policing. Subcommittee 4, chaired by Little Rock Police Sgt. Al-

len Hamby, was formed to study and analyze the standards, requirements, and obstacles for recruitment, hiring, and re-


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