Breaking News
More () »

Arkansas governor meets with sheriffs throughout the state to discuss school safety

Governor Asa Hutchison spoke at the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association pushing for increased school security in the state.

Talks of gun control and school safety are underway on Capitol Hill this week. Here at home, Governor Asa Hutchison spoke at the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association pushing for increased school security in the state. 

The governor says schools have done a great deal to improve safety. He says we aren’t just talking about school safety in the wake of what happened in Uvalde, Texas but it's been an important topic for a long time.

In 2018, the governor formed the School Safety Commission and the commission made multiple recommendations, which he says most were adopted. He says schools are doing independent safety audits, looking at their points of entry, and increasing their number of school resource officers and armed protection at schools.

“As well as the physical structure of the school. All of this costs money and we need look at ways as a state that we can support our school districts at a greater extent at school safety,” Hutchinson said.

The governor is suggesting lawmakers have a special session with school safety as the focus. In it, he is calling for a bill that would allow $50 million to go towards making Arkansas schools safer. 

He has also asked other governors to join in with him and try to have a bipartisan discussion on gun control issues. While he doesn’t want to keep 18-year-olds from buying shotguns and other hunting rifles, he thinks raising the age to purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21 should be discussed.  

“The challenge is one, there is a court that’s held that kind of restriction unconstitutional, so it will probably be decided by the supreme court, and then secondly, you have to define the firearm very very carefully,” he said. 

Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder was on the School Safety Commission. He feels law enforcement would work well together if there were ever a school shooting here, but his concern is the number of school resource officers in schools.

“It is my belief that we have to make a choice as a community, as a school district, do we want to feel safe or do we want to be safe? Then there are significant things we can do if we truly want our children and teachers and our faculty to be safe. And there are measures that can be accomplished to get that done, but they all cost money,” said Helder. 

Helder says those measures are more SROs and school police departments or armed trained teachers and staff that are all legislatively in place.  

“Then you have the hurdles depending on the community. Do they want the armed presence at their schools? Man, we’ve got to get beyond that, this is about the safety of our children. We would all like to think it’s never going to happen here, but the reality is, it has happened, and it will happen,” he said. 

To continue the discussion of school safety, Springdale schools are hosting its first-ever regional school safety summit on Tuesday, June 7.  

5NEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA:Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube 



  • ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KFSM in the Channel Store.   
  • For Fire TV, search for "KFSM" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com 

Before You Leave, Check This Out