Pulaski County Sheriff signs new policy that would prevent deputies from using excessive force

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PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. — Tonight an agency in Central Arkansas is setting the bar for law enforcement across the state.

Pulaski County Sheriff Eric Higgins signed a new policy, which would require his deputies to step in if another officer uses inappropriate force.

The sheriff says they are the first agency in Arkansas to implement a policy like this and he hopes by putting the pen to the paper that this will hold his officers accountable.

“The most important thing is that excess of force stops immediately,” said Sheriff Higgins.

The proverb out front of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office takes its form in a new protocol.

“We added the policy to require our deputies to intervene,” said Sheriff Higgins.

Something that Sheriff Higgins says law enforcement in Minneapolis failed to do when an officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.

“You had officers there that could have stopped it,” said Sheriff Higgins. “We could have saved a life if we would have intervened and it’s disgusting.”

For Higgins, change starts with those who wear the badge.

On Wednesday, he signed a policy requiring his deputies to intervene if another officer uses excessive force. It also prohibits the use of the choke-holds ensuring that under no circumstance does anyone quite breathing.

“An officer needs to verbalize and tell that deputy to stop and if they have to pull them off then that’s the expectation,” said Sheriff Higgins.

His hope is that these changes prevent a death like George Floyds from happening in Central Arkansas.

“We have to create a culture that the expectation is to hold each other accountable,” said Sheriff Higgins.

Sheriff Higgins says their policies are reviewed annually and they will continue to make changes as they see fit.

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