‘Criminal investigation’ into Jonesboro police officer’s death turned over to prosecutor

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 8:29 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – The criminal investigation into the death of a Jonesboro police officer who died during training at a North Little Rock academy is now under review by the Pulaski County Prosecutor.

According to the Chief Deputy, John Johnson, senior attorneys in the Prosecutors Office will review the investigative file into the death of recruit Vincent ‘Vinny’ Parks, which Arkansas State Police provided.

ASP began investigating Parks’ death after he died on July 17 while attending the Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.

At the time of Parks’ death, temperatures were in the 90′s, and The Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training said Parks had not participated in any physical activity, but later said he had.

Johnson said while there is no timeline for when the review would be completed, he understood many people wanted answers and it would be reviewed as quickly as possible. Johnson could not provide details as to if the academy itself, or certain individuals, were under investigation, citing “ethical issues”.

According to the prosecutor, the Jonesboro Police Department did not receive a copy of the investigative file into Park’s death.

In August, Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said he just wanted answers into Parks’ death “to make sure if there is something procedurally that needs to be changed at the academy, then that’s addressed. Right now, we don’t know what happened just yet.”

The Pulaski County Prosecutor and Arkansas State Police Spokesperson Bill Sadler were unaware if a copy of the investigative file was provided to Jonesboro Police Department. The department spokesperson, Sally Smith, was also unaware if a copy has been provided to the department.

Parks joined JPD in June. His death occurred on the first day of the academy. JPD pulled four other recruits sent to Camp Robinson from the academy following his death and will now undergo training at Black River Technical College.

Parks was buried on July 22 at Jonesboro Memorial Park Cemetery. His wife and daughter survive him.