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Arkansas Attorney General Announces Funding For Law Enforcement Grants

 Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (center) speaks to reporters alongside law enforcement officials and Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Jami Cook (left).
Daniel Breen
/
KUAR
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (center) speaks to reporters alongside law enforcement officials and Arkansas Public Safety Secretary Jami Cook (left).

Arkansas’ top law enforcement official has announced new funding to help police departments buy new equipment and provide training.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Wednesday her office is allocating $500,000 to the Law Enforcement Public Safety Equipment Grant Program, which was established by the state legislature earlier this year.

Speaking at a news conference, she said there are some restrictions as to how law enforcement agencies can spend the money.

“This will be used for public safety equipment, whether it’s body cameras, bulletproof vests, de-escalation training, agency accreditation programs. All of these," Rutledge said, "can be applied for using this money in this public safety equipment program.”

Agencies must apply for grants with the Arkansas Department of Public Safety. Department Secretary Jami Cook says her office is still drafting guidelines for police departments, though the funding cannot be used for salary increases.

“We are still working on the requirements and the program. We’re going to stand up the grant review committee, and it’ll be their final decision on exactly what can be and what can’t be bought per Act 786,” Cook said.

The funding was among recommendations from a state task force looking to improve trust between law enforcement and the community. The legislation mentions funds can be spent on bulletproof vests, body-worn and in-car cameras, stun guns, rubber bullets, pepper spray, as well as data storage systems and new training and accreditation programs.

The new funding for the program comes from lawsuit settlements received by Rutledge’s office. Further funding for the grants will come from the state’s general revenue fund, private grants and other sources.