Gov. Hutchinson makes safety appointments

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – On Wednesday, Aug. 3, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced two new appointments related to safety standards in the state.

A news release said A.J. Gary, Director of the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management, to Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, was appointed to Secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

“A.J. Gary has managed some of the most difficult natural disasters in our state, and the value of his contributions cannot be overstated,” Gov. 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 has worked in law enforcement and security preparedness for more than 35 years, acting previously as the Chief of Police in Conway. He was appointed as Director of the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management in 2016.

The news release also said J.R. Hankins, Chief of Staff to the Department of Public Safety, was appointed to the 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,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “He will be a great benefit to the commission and the future of Arkansas.”

Hankins’ law enforcement career began in 1974 when he was a part of the Walnut Ridge Police Department. He also served with Arkansas State Police until retiring in 2014. He became the DPS Chief of Staff in 2019.

The appointments came after Jami Cook resigned in July. She acted as the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and the Director of the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training.

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