LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced two new appointments Wednesday, tapping A.J. Gary to lead the Department of Public Safety and naming J.R Hankins director of the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.

Secretary of the Department of Public Safety A.J. Gary
Secretary of the Department of Public Safety A.J. Gary

Gary, the former chief of the Conway Police Department, serves on and chairs various committees and councils alongside being a member of the FBI National Academy Associates, Police Executive Research Forum and Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police.

“A.J. Gary has managed some of the most difficult natural disasters in our state, and the value of his contributions cannot be overstated,” Hutchinson said. “The experience and skills that A.J. brings to this expanded role ensure that Arkansas’s public safety agencies will continue their good service to Arkansas.”

Gary was appointed following the recent resignation of former secretary Jami Cook. He will continue to serve in his current roles as Director of Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and the State Homeland Security Advisor as well as his new appointment of Secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

Gary graduated from Central Baptist College and received his master’s in public administration from Arkansas State University.

Director of the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training J.R Hankins

Hankins also will be keeping his current title of Chief of Staff for the Department of Public Safety as well as adapting his new role of Director of the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.

“J.R.’s experience in public safety and leadership provides him with a vision for the future of Arkansas’s law enforcement,” Hutchinson said. “He will be a great benefit to the commission and the future of Arkansas.”

Hankins retired from the Arkansas State Police after 35 years where he received the rank of major served as the Highway Patrol Commander over the Eastern District of Arkansas. He returned in 2014 to become the Program Manager and help establish and promote the new ASP crash reporting system E-Crash for local law enforcement agencies throughout the state.