LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock has seen an increase in violence. Police worked 18 shootings in the city just two weeks ago.
Governor Hutchinson held a press conference Monday to try to answer some questions on what state leaders are doing to get a better grip on violent crime.
“Questions have arisen as to, what is the state doing to make sure that our laws are enforced and that we get a better handle on violent crime,” stated Gov. Hutchinson.
First addressing that enforcement of the law falls on local authorities.
Gov. Hutchinson said the main ways the state is helping reduce violence is, “we had the Power Ultra shooting back in 2017 here in Little Rock and as a result of that, we started the gang enforcement taskforce”.
Next, about the funds for prison expansion in the state, reducing backup in local jails by 30%.
“They set aside $75 million to build a new prison, why is this important is because you have to have prison space for violent offenders,” said Gov. Hutchinson.
He also talked about the intensive supervision program where officers keep a close eye on those on parole.
“We have those that are out on parole and if they have a history of aggravated offenses, even though they have been released from custody, they are out on parole, we want to make sure we have the resources to keep a good eye on them,” said Gov. Hutchinson.
Hutchinson also addressed funds to help alleviate case backup from the pandemic, and mental health efforts for law enforcement officers transitioning to different positions.
“Police can divert from the jail system into mental health units where they can get the support that they need,” said Gov. Hutchinson.
A new law was mentioned regarding enhanced penalties for a convicted felon who has a firearm.
Director for Arkansas State Police (ASP), Bill Bryant, said ASP has helped local law enforcement get 310 firearms off the street, 30 of them being fully automatic.
In regards to the shootings from two weekends ago, Bryant said there is not a clear motive or any other charges made.