Family of fallen JPD recruit files suit against training academy

Vincent Parks passed away during a training exercise at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training...
Vincent Parks passed away during a training exercise at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.(KAIT)
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 8:05 PM CST
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – The family of a Jonesboro police recruit who died on his first day of training at a North Little Rock training facility has filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Public Safety.

According to Jim Jackson, the family’s attorney, the lawsuit was filed with the Arkansas Claims Commission on behalf of the family of Vincent “Vinny” Parks.

Parks died on Sunday, July 17, 2022, while attending the Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.

At the time of Parks’ death, Arkansas State Police said Parks started showing signs of “medical distress” when he and other JPD officers arrived that Sunday afternoon for training.

However, that information was questioned by lawmakers and Police Chief Rick Elliott, who said they believe Parks and other recruits underwent physical training prior to Parks’ death.

In Aug. 2022, Parks’ death was originally ruled a “criminal investigation” by Arkansas State Police after the agency learned new facts they claimed were “contrary” to statements of the recruit showing signs of “medical distress” during the training.

In Dec. 2022, the Pulaski County Prosecutor ruled Parks’ death would not result in criminal charges.

In a letter from the prosecutor sent Thursday, Dec. 15, he explained Parks died from a sickle-cell crisis related to physical exertion, along with heart disease and obesity.

He did mention there were concerns about the culture of the training program, including hazing, and the lack of helpful cooperation in the investigation.

Jackson said the lawsuit was filed ‘for actions by the Central Arkansas enforcement training Academy instructors.”

According to its website, the Claims Commission’s primary function “is the hearing and adjudication of claims against the state of Arkansas, its agencies, and its institutions.”