Rutledge Opens Opioid Abuse Awareness Exhibit at the University of ArkansasWed, Oct 3, 2018
Says, ‘I am thankful for all of the partnerships that brought this to Arkansas’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today opened Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis with Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, the Association of Arkansas Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League at the University of Arkansas. The National Safety Council’s opioid memorial will be on display at the Arkansas Union in Fayetteville from October 3-9 and is free to all members of the public.
“The ‘Prescribed to Death’ memorial is a powerful display to remind us all of the lives lost in just one year at the hands of this deadly epidemic,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am thankful for all of the partnerships that brought this to Arkansas. It is one more avenue to open critical conversations between family, friends, neighbors, church members and other loved ones about this deadly epidemic.”
The centerpiece of the multifaceted exhibit is a wall of 22,000 engraved white pills – each representing the face of someone lost to a prescription opioid overdose in the United States in 2015. Arkansas alone lost 169 residents to opioid overdose in 2016, and it has the second highest rate of opioid prescribing in the country – trailing only Alabama.
The National Safety Council launched Prescribed to Death as a part of the National Safety Council’s Stop Everyday Killers public education campaign.
In addition to Rutledge’s office, the Association of Arkansas Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League, the exhibit is underwritten by contributions from Stericycle, Nationwide Insurance, Walmart and EverFi. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org for more information. Other supporting partners include the Associated Student Government of the University of Arkansas, the Office of the Arkansas Drug Director and the Criminal Justice Institute, University of Arkansas System.
In August, Rutledge announced a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, to allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families. Last fall, Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 74 schools, across 56 counties and reached over 8,000 students.
Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
Each year, Rutledge partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.
Rutledge also partners with federal and state agencies for the biannual National Take Back Day. Since 2016, more than 600 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas. The fall National Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27.
Rutledge Names Arkansas State Police Senior Corporal Becky Vacco Law Enforcement Officer of the YearTue, Oct 2, 2018
Recognizes regional winners and outstanding officer in each county
BENTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the annual awards and recognition luncheon during the 2018 Law Enforcement Summit at the Benton Event Center, where she announced Arkansas State Police Senior Corporal Becky Vacco as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. A record 648 officers from across the State attended the summit, which is in its 16th year.
Corporal Vacco recently assisted three law enforcement agencies in investigations of crimes against children. One was a case of an 8-week-old child with 18 broken ribs and a leg fracture. The case resulted in the father pleading guilty to first degree battery and sentenced to 35 years. Another case was the death of a 23-month-old child that resulted in a life sentence for the suspect. In the third case, a 3-week-old male had a broken clavicle and numerous bruises including one that had caused brain swelling and seizures. Vacco conducted numerous interviews and after seven months arrested both parents. The victim, now 2, will require round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.
Vacco was nominated by Arkansas State Police Lieutenant Kim Warren who said, “Perhaps the greatest attribute of Special Agent Vacco is her willingness to take on cases involving child abuse. It’s my opinion that no other type of investigation takes as great a toll on the investigator as crimes in which children are victimized.”
“The dedication of Corporal Vacco to stand up for victims of child abuse is admirable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas is lucky to have officers like Corporal Vacco who are willing to represent these victims against their accuser, often giving a voice to those unable to speak for themselves. It is an honor to not only recognize her, but also the regional and county winners and to thank the many brave men and women in blue who sacrifice so much to protect our communities.”
The other Regional Officers of the Year included: Wildlife Officers Troy Sayger and Matt Tenison, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Southeast Region, for their work to save a suicidal teen in inclement weather; Corporal Brandon Cook, Arkansas State Police, Southwest Region, for saving a woman who had jumped off a bridge; Lieutenant Chris Ameling, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Central Region, for tending to a woman trapped inside a structure fire by keeping her calm until firefighters could arrive; Patrolman Lyle Fultz, Fairfield Bay Police Department, Northwest Region, for entering a burning building to rescue a resident, saving his life.
A list of the outstanding officer winners from each county can be found at the conclusion of this release.
Rutledge also presented a VALOR tribute, which is given in honor of members of the law enforcement community who tragically lost their lives while in the line of duty this past year. This year’s tribute was presented to K9 Trooper Hemi with the Arkansas State Police.
Rutledge gave special recognition to Richard Davis, the Director of the Arkansas State Fusion Center, who passed away in May.
The summit was kicked off by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who spoke about his efforts to combat human trafficking. Attorney General Reyes has been a leader and an international voice leading Utah to aggressively fight human trafficking by introducing innovative education campaigns, support of anti-human trafficking legislations, victim recovery and advocacy. The success of his multifaceted effort has been accomplished by grassroots and non-governmental organizations efforts, partnerships with local law enforcement officers and agencies, as well as work initiated by his office through the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force and prosecutors of Utah SECURE Strike Force.
Dennis Debbaudt spoke to attendees about autism risk and safety management in various emergency situations, especially in regard to individuals on the autism spectrum. It is critical that first responders have working knowledge of autism and the wide variety of behaviors individuals on the autism spectrum may exhibit in emergency situations.
And the afternoon concluded with a presentation from Jeffrey McGill, formerly with the Okalossa County, Florida, Violent Fugitive Task Force. McGill discussed surviving traumatic stress to address the far reaches of a critical incident and what officers, supervisors, trainers and families need to know about traumatic stress.
County Officers of the Year
Officer Paul Colvin, Stuttgart Police Department
Wildlife Officer Eric Smith, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Senior Corporal Becky Vacco, Arkansas State Police
Officer Ericka Williams, Bentonville Police Department
Trooper Jason Hutcheson, Arkansas State Police
Corporal Robert Sellers, Arkansas Department of Transportation
Deputy Clifton Humphries, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office
Wildlife Officer Kelli Sanders, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Chief Percy Wilburn, Lake Village Police Department
Investigator Sandra Jones, Clark County Sheriff’s Office
Chief Deputy Tom Colbert, Clay County Sheriff’s Office
Officer Austin Miller, Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office
Chief Deputy Gary Young, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office
Investigator Kelly Blair, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office
Trooper Corey Earls, Arkansas State Police
Sergeant Philip Vanwinkle, Craighead County Sheriff’s Office
Trooper Joshua Elmore, Arkansas State Police
Corporal Flarcell Tate, Arkansas State Police
Sergeant Luke Cantrell and Sergeant Jeff Nichols, Cross County Sheriff’s Office
Chief Jimmy Vaughan, Fordyce Police Department
Chief Everett Cox, Dumas Police Department
Sergeant David Outlaw, Arkansas State Police
Investigator Kennon Cook, Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office
Senior Corporal Rickey Denton, Arkansas State Police
Chief Deputy John Cawvey, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Brandon Cook, Arkansas State Police
Corporal Tommy Holcomb, Grant County Sheriff’s Office
Lieutenant Scott Snyder, Paragould Police Department
Corporal Dennis Hovarter and Corporal Jeffery Neel, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Hot Spring County
Lieutenant Glen Pye, Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Keith Teague, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
The late Chief Deputy Jeff Sims, Independence County Sheriff’s Office
Trooper Rodney Villiger, Arkansas State Police
Corporal Ronald Laslo, Arkansas State Police
Trooper Kevin Helm and Corporal Dustin Thompson, Arkansas State Police
Officer Lance Clubb, Clarksville Police Department
Wildlife Officer Andrew Watson, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Deputy Joseph Carey, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeant Dale Acosta, Marianna Police Department
Lincoln County (TIE)
Captain Kenneth Tillman, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeant Ben Reeves, Star City Police Department
Little River County
Wildlife Officer Cody Standifer, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Trooper Jed Bolyard, Arkansas State Police
Deputy Dallas Mauk, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Jonathon Cornelison, Madison County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Tim Davenport, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Detective Shane Kirkland and Detective Wayne Easley, Texarkana Police Department
Deputy Johnathon Boatman, Mississippi County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Damon Dobson, Arkansas State Police
Lieutenant Greg Harmon, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
Chief Joey Beavers, Prescott Police Department
Lieutenant Kenny Seay, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Deputy Ryan Coleman, Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office
Reserve Deputy Nathan Williams, Perry County Sheriff’s Office
Officer Princess Burnside, Arkansas Department of Community Correction
Sergeant Ronnie White, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Sergeant Charles Jones and Assistant Chief Jon Redman, Trumann Police Department
Patrolman Paul Arceneaux and Patrolman Mike Wolf, Mena Police Department
Pope County (TIE)
Sergeant Chris Goodman, Arkansas State Police
Corporal Brenda Stephenson, Arkansas State Police
Captain Tammy Dougan, Arkansas Tech University Department of Public Safety
*Dougan and Stephenson were jointly nominated for the same incident
Wildlife Officers Troy Sayger and Matt Tenison, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Lieutenant Chris Ameling, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office
Wildlife Officer Jeff Dalton, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
St. Francis County
Corporal Frank McMillion, Arkansas State Police
Deputy Jack Campbell, Saline County Sheriff’s Office
Special Agent Sam Bass, Arkansas State Police
Wildlife Officer Ken Nelson, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Officer Keith Shelby, Fort Smith Police Department
Wildlife Officer Sydney Grant, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Detective Sergeant Aaron Presser, Sharp County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Chad Cruce, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Deputy Aaron Galbraith, Union County Sheriff’s Office
Van Buren County
Patrolman Lyle Fultz, Fairfield Bay Police Department
Trooper Ryan Leuer, Arkansas State Police
Officer Kristen Higgs, Bald Knob Police Department
Special Agent Randall Murphy, Arkansas State Police
Sergeant Joe Carter, Arkansas State Police
Rutledge Joins Forces for Veterans History ProjectThu, Sep 27, 2018
Says, ‘It is critical that we capture and preserve the memories of our wartime veterans’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she will join forces with the U.S. Library of Congress to encourage Arkansans’ participation in the Veterans History Project (VHP). The nationwide project is an effort to create an audio and video archive with recordings of firsthand accounts from American wartime veterans.
Personal histories are compiled through audio- or video-recorded interviews hosted by the Attorney General’s Office, which may include original correspondence, photographs and diaries. In addition to submitting the videos to the Library of Congress, the Attorney General’s webpage will compile and highlight Arkansas veterans’ personal experiences during various conflicts in American history.
“More than 250,000 veterans make their home in Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am honored to help these men and women tell their stories of courage, bravery and service by recording and submitting them to the Library of Congress. It is critical that we capture and preserve the memories of our wartime veterans so that future generations can honor them and learn about our nation’s proud history directly from those who lived through the events.”
In collaboration with Senator John Boozman’s office, the program will share an interview with 100-year-old Paul Lux of Fort Smith, a World War II Army veteran and grandfather to Senior Assistant Attorney General Shawn Johnson. Lux tells the story of his experiences in the Panama Canal Zone, England, France, Germany and in the Battle of the Bulge. During World War II alone, an estimated 194,645 Arkansans, or approximately 10 percent of the State’s population, served the nation in the various branches of the U.S. armed forces. Over 3,500 Arkansans were killed.
To date, about 1,400 stories from Arkansas veterans have been submitted to the Veterans History Project. If you or someone you know is a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, please contact Tim Johnson, Senior Representative of Military and Veterans Affairs, by emailing him at Tim.Johnson@ArkansasAG.gov or calling (501) 682-2007.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of A Saline County Woman for Medicaid FraudThu, Sep 27, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Saline County woman.
“Those who take advantage of the Medicaid program will be prosecuted,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer, I will not tolerate people who abuse this vital safety net.”
Jennifer Rogers, 43, of Benton, was unable to produce referral forms, evaluations, progress notes, treatments plans, schedules of treatment timesheets and billing records for her speech therapy patients from April 2017 to April 2018, totaling more than $64,500. She is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, a Class A and a Class B felony. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Rogers turned herself into the Pulaski County District Court and was released on her own recognizance.
This case was referred to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by the Office of Medicaid Inspector General.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email@example.com.
Rutledge, Uber Reach SettlementWed, Sep 26, 2018
Arkansas will receive more than $1.8 million
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Arkansas, along with the 49 other states and the District of Columbia, have reached an agreement with California-based ride-sharing company Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) to address the company’s one-year delay in reporting a data breach to its affected drivers.
“Uber needs to ensure that it is taking every precaution to protect driver and customer data on its website and mobile app,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Data breaches can open consumers up to identity theft and have lasting negative impacts on an individual’s credit.”
Uber learned in November 2016 that hackers had gained access to personal information that Uber maintains about its drivers, including drivers’ license information for approximately 600,000 drivers nationwide, including 934 Arkansas drivers. Arkansas law requires Uber to notify affected residents, but Uber failed to report the breach in a timely manner, waiting until November 2017 to report it to affected residents.
As part of the nationwide settlement, Uber has agreed to pay $148 million to the states. Arkansas will receive $1,847,812.50. In addition, Uber has agreed to strengthen its corporate governance and data security practices to help prevent a similar occurrence in the future.
The settlement requires the company to:
- Comply with Arkansas data breach and consumer protection law regarding protecting Arkansas residents’ personal information and notifying them in the event of a data breach concerning their personal information.
- Take precautions to protect any user data Uber stores on third-party platforms.
- Use strong password policies for its employees to gain access to the Uber network.
- Develop and implement a strong overall data security policy for all data that Uber collects about its users, including assessing potential risks to the security of the data and implementing any additional security measures beyond what Uber is already doing to protect the data.
- Hire an outside qualified party to assess Uber’s data security efforts on a regular basis and draft a report with any recommended security improvements. Uber will implement any such security improvement recommendations.
- Develop and implement a corporate integrity program to ensure that Uber employees can bring any ethics concerns they have about any other Uber employees to the company, and that it will be heard.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in this multistate agreement with Uber.
Rutledge Welcomes Fall Law ClerksMon, Sep 24, 2018
Says ‘Law clerks are exposed to the fulfilling experience of public service’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for the fall session to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.
“The law clerk program provides students an opportunity to experience a great service-learning environment,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Law clerks are exposed to the fulfilling experience of public service as they play a valuable role for the State, while also building relationships with some of Arkansas’s top attorneys.”
Michael Berry, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) William H. Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He graduated from Christin Brothers University in 2012 with a degree in English. Berry is from Sherwood, and graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2008.
Jonathan Hutto, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education in 2007, and from Arkansas Tech University with a Master’s degree in history in 2012. Hutto is from Damascus and graduated from South Side Bee Branch High School in 2003.
Austin Kempker, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 2016 with a degree in political science. Kempker is from Jefferson City, Missouri, and graduated from Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville, Missouri in 2012.
Trent Minner, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. He graduated from John Brown University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in marketing. Minner is from Conway and graduated from Conway Christian School in 2011.
Rachel Moore, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. She graduated from Arkansas State University with a major in multimedia journalism in 2017. Moore is from Jonesboro and graduated from Jonesboro High School in 2013.
Alexis Pinkston, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She is also pursuing a Master of Public Service degree from the Clinton School of Public Service and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and English from Lyon College in 2015. Pinkston is from North Little Rock and graduated from North Little Rock High School in 2011.
Allison Tschiemer, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. She graduated from Hendrix College with a major in history in 2014. Tschiemer is from Dallas, Texas and graduated from School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas in 2010.
Chris Turansky, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana with a degree in psychology in 2011, and Louisiana State University in Shreveport with a master’s degree in counseling psychology in 2013. Turansky is from Shreveport and graduated from Caddo Parish Magnet High School in 2007.
Jacob Wickliffe, a second-year student at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2016 with a degree in business management. Wickliffe is from North Little Rock and graduated from Catholic High School for Boys in 2012.