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AAC Blue


COVER STORY Continued From Page 26 <<<


Many county sheriffs, city police officers, and state law enforcement attended the Back the Blue event on March 2 to show their support for a legislative package that included, among other things, measures to change from 30 to 25 years the length of service for a law enforcement offi- cer to retire and to provide a state tax credit to law enforcement officers.


collect food and deliver food packages to community individu- als in need. Trough the Pantry Box Program, sheriff’s depart- ments build, fill, and maintain pantry boxes for the community. Sheriffs are involved in many other community programs such as Church Security Training, School Safety Programs, Special Olympics, Cyber Crime Education, Women’s Self Defense Training, Coat Drives for Kids, PACT Program, Make-a-Wish, Trunk or Treats, Cook for Communities, and more. Youth engagement is another passion area for law enforce- ment. Members of law enforcement routinely visit elementary schools to read to students, to host Christmas Parades and Parties, and to participate in “Career Day” to teach children how to become a Law Enforcement Officer. As these students become older, they see the same sheriffs actively engaged at schools in discussing drug programs, cyber bullying, and ac- tive shooter scenarios. Tey also join students for lunch. Te school Drug Program is currently in 11 school districts and reaches 2,700 students. Tis is in addition to the Red Ribbon Grant. More than $22,000 has been awarded to 16 different counties through this program. Official recommendations made by Subcommittee 2: • CLEST should meet a minimum of six times per year instead of the current four times per year to speed up the decertification process.


• CLEST should publish on its website adjudicated de- certification records into a public database similar to the process recently established in the state of Oregon to increase transparency.


• Legislation should be proposed to restrict the number of part-time law enforcement officers allowed within a


28


law enforcement agency that resemble the requirements for auxiliary law enforcement officers under Ark. Code § 12-9-306.


• Amend Ark. Code § 12-9-118 to require new or inac- tive agencies to employ a full-time chief of police to provide clarity and establish administrative structure and organization.


• Amend Ark. Code § 12-9-602 to separate untruthful- ness and excessive force into independent elements.


• Law enforcement agencies should participate in the Na- tional Use of Force Data Collection effort to resemble the recommendation recently published by the Interna- tional Association of Chiefs of Police because participa- tion “will help law enforcement, elected officials, and community members better identify and understand the totality of incidents and trends associated with use- of-force incidents, and other outlying factors.”


Tese recommendations from Subcommittee 2 took form


as House Bills 1007 and 1197. HB 1007 is Te Law Enforce- ment Integrity Act of 2021 filed by Rep. Fred Love. Tis bill is intended to address concerns of abuse of power and civil rights by creating the Law Enforcement Integrity Unit within the Division of Arkansas State Police. Tis unit will be de- signed to investigate allegations of civil rights violations and abuses of police power. Te unit will be staffed with both law enforcement officers and civilians to report criminal offenses. Furthermore, the bill will establish a 24-hour hotline for citi- zens to report such abuses and establish a searchable, statewide


COUNTY LINES, WINTER 2021


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