Police chief questions report on Jonesboro officer death

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 4:33 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The death of a Jonesboro police officer has been in question for months, but it is now known what caused officer Vincent “Vinny” Parks to take his last breath.

In a letter sent on Thursday, Dec. 15, Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley credited health issues as the cause of the death but indicated there were some issues the academy needs to fix.

Parks died on Sunday, July 17 while attending the Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. It was his first day of training.

The letter said they discovered issues with the culture of the training which included hazing but credited Parks’ death to quote hypertensive heart disease and obesity along with other health-related issues.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott questions because a doctor cleared Parks to join the force yet experienced this medical emergency just 40 minutes into the training session.

“He might have been overweight or had some other preexisting conditions, but he met what it took to get on the force, so I don’t know,” Elliott said.

The letter also says they discovered issues with the culture of the training which included hazing, as Elliott said some changes need to be made.

“Hopefully they would take a look at their practices and make sure hazing is not going on and if it is that it be addressed,” Elliott said. “The second concern is that they were doing activities in the 106-degree heat index.”

Chief Elliott said he won’t know everything until the full report is released but stressed, he still does not like the fact he was told no physical activity was going on but that was not the case when he arrived.

“Like I said this physical activity I looked down and there are grass stains on their pants I knew something was going on,” Elliott said.