Arkansas

What to do here

Click a "Get Template" button to get an email template about a specific issue. Edit the template to connect on a more personal level with your lawmaker. See the Contacting Logistics page for information about how to write an effective email to your lawmakers. Get your lawmakers' emails with the search box to the right. Send the email!

Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated March 5, 2020

Summary

Key:

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Legislation Achieved

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Some Progress

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No Progress

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. Throughout the course of 2020, four AZ residents filed federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of no-knock warrants conducted by Little Rock PD and allege reliance on false information supplied by 'unsavory confidential informants.' Two suits were dropped; the other two are set to go to trial by the end of the year.

1033 purchases

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law ending its participation in programs that facilitate the transfer of military weapons from the federal government to police departments.

Military style training

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage.

SWAT data

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Some Progress:

In July 2019 Arkansas passed a law ending civil asset forfeiture (and requiring a criminal conviction for asset forfeiture). However, the state has not closed some loopholes that allow for 'equitable sharing' of profits with the federal government.

Quotas

Achieved:

Police quotas on ticketing are banned by Arkansas law.

Cost of misconduct

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering.

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).

Reporting stop details

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law requiring comprehensive reporting of police stops (noting location, race, gender, whether force was used and whether a firearm was found). The state does collect data about stops broken down by race and gender, but uses it for internal law enforcement training.

Pending Legislation: HB 2166, introduced in January 2021, would centralize criminal justice data collection at the state level.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Arkansas has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.

Independent investigation

Some Progress:

Arkansas relies on its state level Department of Criminal Investigation to look into cases involving officer-involved shootings. However, local agencies are still permitted to initiate investigations.

Qualified immunity

Some Progress:

In a 2015 Arkansas court case involving the use of deadly force, the judge found that the officer's qualified immunity argument was not a justifiable reason to avoid prosecution or sentencing. However this ruling has not yet produced legislation to end or restrict officer qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

Some Progress:

Like other states Arkansas has a Crisis Intervention Team trained by National Alliance on Mental Illness. The program offered to Arkansas police forces is a 40 hour curriculum. Additionally, several police departments in the State have adopted mental health units. The program is voluntary to join and the mental health units established by departments are up to them to do so. However, the program still dispatches police officers to mental health crisis situations.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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