A case file reviewed by a county prosecutor revealed “concerning flaws with the culture of the training programme” at an Arkansas police academy where a police recruit died of natural causes.
At first, Arkansas State Police looked into the suspicious death of Patrolman Vincent “Vinny” Parks in July as a possible criminal matter. On Parks’s first day of training at the Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, he tragically passed away.
His death investigation file indicated “concerning issues with the culture” of the training centre, including “hazing” and a “lack of helpful cooperation in the inquiry,” according to a letter sent Thursday from Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley to Arkansas State Police Col. Bill Bryant.
Subsequently, the medical examiner’s autopsy report concluded that Parks died of “Sickle-cell trait-related” crisis due to physical effort and heat distress, as stated by Jegley. Accidental death could have been exacerbated by preexisting heart disease and obesity.
Criminality was not suspected in the academy’s conduct, according to Jegley’s office. In response to my request for clarification, he did not provide specifics about the problems he had observed in the training program’s culture.
After the ASP investigation exposed issues at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Jegley said, “We will not rehash those concerns but would invite a careful review into the practise, procedures, and other problems at (the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy).”
A text message from former Department of Public Safety Director Jami Cook to Alison Williams, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s chief of staff, and three other law enforcement officials shortly after Park became ill stated that the trainee “fell out” after jogging to and from his car and engaging in four minutes of callisthenics.
A heat advisory was in effect from 1 to 8 p.m. that Sunday throughout central Arkansas, according to Dylan Cooper of the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, who spoke with the newspaper.
The Jonesboro Police Department welcomed Parks in June. KAIT-TV said that after his death, JPD had four other cadets sent to Camp Robinson expelled from the academy.