Governor Sanders signs Vincent Parks Law

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 6:19 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - On Monday, March 13, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee-Sanders signed House Bill 1458, also known as the “Vincent Parks Law.”

Parks died in July 2022 from complications of heat exposure at the Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in North Little Rock.

Parks’ widow, Christina Parks, said it is an honor to see the legislation named after her husband be signed into law.

“It means everything to me,” she said. “I’m glad that it’s happening. Everybody’s hard work is coming full circle, and I’m glad to be here.”

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott, who was also at Monday’s ceremony, explained he hoped what happened to Officer Parks never happens again.

“To see what she and her family have undergone throughout the entire process is gut-wrenching,” he said. “For a chief, the worst thing to do is having to present a flag for one of your fallen officers to a spouse. That’s one of the worst parts of this job.”

With House Bill 1458 now signed into law, Elliott said it’s a step in the right direction.

“Once you see the signature go down, that’s gratifying that we’ve gone through a long battle the last several months,” he said.

Elliott added he’s grateful to those who helped pass the Vincent Parks Law.

“Thanks to a lot of people and a lot of support across the state for this bill. I know there’s been a lot of prayers and concerns for the family, and I know it’s appreciated by them. It’s appreciated by our agency,” he said.

State Representative Fran Cavenaugh, the initial sponsor of the bill, explained the law is an excellent start, but not the end.

“It is the first step for us to remember Officer Parks and to bring out the safety for all of our officers,” she said.

Governor Sarah Huckabee-Sanders’ office declined Region 8 News’s request for an interview, but she issued a statement:

“Protecting and supporting our heroic police officers should start long before they are ever on the streets. This bill will help us do that in close consultation with the law enforcement leaders who run our state’s training programs.”

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders - Arkansas
(Source: Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Office)