LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - State, local, and federal law enforcement agencies are teaming up to get violent offenders off the streets and make Little Rock safe.
On Thursday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a new task force following a violent weekend.
Little Rock Police say the Power Ultra Lounge shooting was the largest mass shooting they've ever worked. As an agency still 70 officers short, they're not doing it alone in the coming months.
The department is tackling that investigation, plus working to make Little Rock a safer place with the help of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, the FBI and community corrections.
“We are here to take back the streets. We've all seen enough violent crime in the city and it’s our turn to take it back,” said Special Agent Diane Upchurch with the FBI, Little Rock Division.
The task force will focus on targeting violent groups including gangs that threaten the city. To start, Alcohol Beverage Control agents will physically visit locations to strictly enforce closing times. Also, locations with violations, will be closely monitored.
Community Corrections will assist LRPD in violent criminal apprehension. Governor Hutchinson said officers will concentrate their efforts on detaining offenders with warrants, particularly those affiliated with gangs.
He mentioned this is more than a crime problem. It's about opportunity, training and education, but today he believed enforcing the law is a top priority.
“Today the urgent need is about safe streets and freedom of drive by shootings and peace in our community. It’s about enforcing the law and having the tools to identify those that cause violence and to lock them up,” said Governor Hutchinson.
Hutchinson says Arkansas State Police will not patrol streets of Little Rock, but there is a specialized force to help respond #arpx— THV11 (@THV11) July 6, 2017
Little Rock police say they are making progress on the mass shooting investigation. The assistant chief said this new task force goes beyond that.
“This goes beyond finding the person behind the trigger, finding the evidence at the scene, this is the ability to investigate much deeper,” said Assistant Chief Wayne Bewley with LRPD.
Governor Hutchinson announced those out on parole or probation can expect more intense supervision, particularly those affiliated with gangs. He added that violent offenders will be given longer sentences and those who are out on the streets will have more frequent home visits. If jails fill up, the Governor said he has a backup plan that he’s looking into.
The governor did not offer any details on programs outside of the new law enforcement task force that would help the local communities.
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