Mayor Mark Stodola tells me in an e-mail that an announcement today from Gov. Asa Hutchinson on law enforcement in Central Arkansas will be “more [about] investigative and multi-agency sharing of information.’
This was a response to my question of whether State Police would be deployed to assist in crime fighting on city streets. I’d mentioned yesterday some political peril in that approach. The subject came up at last night’s City Board of Directors meeting. Director Lance Hines inquired about help from State Police on patrols. Police Chief Kenton Buckner said he was open to partnerships, but said he was “shy away from ” State Police patrolling streets because of differences in rural and urban communities. He said he’d feel more comfortable with Little Rock police handling day-to-day contact.
The governor’s announcement is this afternoon. If it’s only about “partnerships” and not about added manpower, one wonders why agencies aren’t already cooperating.
In a brief response to my inquiry, the mayor also took the opportunity to make the case that Little Rock police were already getting the job done, outbreaks of recent violence notwithstanding.
“The City’s Violent Crime Apprehension Unit of 25 officers has arrested 452 individuals since it was formed in February, resulting in 852 felonies, 72 weapons taken
Stodola had said previously that he’d spoken with the governor after the mass shooting at a downtown club early Saturday about the possibility of a joint effort to address crime.
And speaking of Little Rock police, City Manager Bruce Moore last night distributed to the board a detailed report on efforts to recruit people to fill several dozen vacancies in the authorized staffing of the police department.