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Law Enforcement Summit Keynote

Rutledge to Welcome San Bernardino’s Lt. Brad Toms as Law Enforcement Summit Keynote

Tue, Sep 6, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the slate of speakers for the 14th annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit, which will be Oct. 4 and 5. The event, to be held at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, is a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community, including police, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel.

The keynote speaker will be Lt. Brad Toms of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who has been one of the central decision makers at the center of two major incidents that captured the world’s attention. Toms will discuss lessons learned from the 2013 spate of violence against the California law enforcement community perpetrated by disgruntled former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner and the subsequent manhunt. He will also discuss how those lessons were applied in 2015 when responding to a mass shooting terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, where 14 people were killed and 22 seriously injured.

Toms began his career as a deputy with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 1989 and has worked corrections, patrol, detective bureau, homicide, narcotics and SWAT. As lieutenant, he is second in command at Big Bear Station and most recently served as the lieutenant/commander of the Public Affairs Division. As commander, Toms was responsible for the management of all aspects of the division including media relations, community liaison, labor/industrial relations, honor guard detail, operation clean SWEEP, crime-free multi-housing, juvenile intervention program and special projects for the Office of the Sheriff. Toms’ address will occur at 8 a.m. on Oct. 5.

“This year’s Law Enforcement Summit will feature fantastic instructional and networking opportunities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am especially excited to welcome Lt. Toms to Arkansas to share his experience from last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino, as well as the numerous other speakers who will help our officers. This is an important event, and I encourage all members of law enforcement to register.”

Oct. 4 will include breakout sessions on metal theft and cyber crime investigations taught by agents with the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division. Day one will also offer sessions on the Arkansas Naloxone Access Act of 2015, investigating domestic violence cases and an autism safety and awareness training.

In addition to the keynote address, the second day will feature instruction from other nationally renowned presenters and include a panel discussion on the challenges facing those in leadership positions within the law enforcement community.

Following Toms’ remarks, attendees will hear from Cpl. Chris Heid and Patrick Winn about human trafficking investigations. Heid is with the Maryland State Police and assigned to the Child Recovery Unit, which investigates missing children and human trafficking, primarily as it relates to juveniles.

Winn is a special agent assigned to the FBI’s Baltimore, Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force, which investigates missing children, child pornography and human trafficking. He investigates cases involving juveniles forced into prostitution and works closely with task force officers around the state to pursue state and federal charges of those responsible for trafficking.

After the luncheon, Lt. James Henning of the Denver Police Department will speak about the challenges his department and the State of Colorado faced with the legalization of recreational cannabis.

For the first time, Rutledge will moderate a law enforcement leadership panel, which will conclude the summit. Panelists include Matthew Barden, Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge, Little Rock District Office; Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas State Police director; Jeff Crow, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission director; and Diane Upchurch, FBI special agent in charge, Little Rock Division.

In July, Rutledge announced an expansion of the awards portion of the summit to include recognizing one law enforcement officer from each county as an Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer in addition to the statewide and regional awards. Winners will be announced at the luncheon on Oct. 5.

Last year, Rutledge expanded the summit for the first time in the event’s history to two days.

Registration for the Law Enforcement Summit is open and can be accessed at ArkansasAG.gov.

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Little Rock Man Sentenced

Rutledge Announces Little Rock Man Sentenced for Crimes Involving Children

Fri, Sep 2, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that a Pulaski County man has been sentenced to 12 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction on child exploitation charges.

Michael Don Cox, 34, of Little Rock, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving children. In addition to his prison sentence, Cox must pay an $8,000 fine and register as a sex offender.

“The Cyber Crimes Unit at the Attorney General’s office and local prosecutors work diligently to protect Arkansas children and families,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I appreciate my office’s partnership with local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies across the state to protect our children and ensure these dangerous predators are brought to justice. I am committed to getting these criminals out of our neighborhoods and off the internet.”

Cox was arrested in 2014 on a search warrant executed by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. An attorney from the Attorney General’s office tried the case with Ashley Bowen from Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley’s office. Judge Leon Johnson sentenced Cox in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

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EPA’s Regional Haze Plan

Rutledge Statement on the EPA’s Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan for Arkansas

Thu, Sep 1, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement today after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) to combat regional haze in Arkansas.

“The EPA refuses to acknowledge the visibility improvements by the State of Arkansas and has chosen to blatantly discount my comments on this proposal and those of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Rather than approving Arkansas’s State Implementation Plan, the EPA has chosen to force on Arkansans a plan that will costs millions and bring about little environmental benefit. Arkansas submitted a plan that fully complied with the Regional Haze Rule, but the EPA wanted to impose another federal directive that goes well beyond the rule requirements and ignores what is in the best interest of our State. I am fully prepared to take legal action against this unnecessary proposal to prevent it from harming Arkansans.”

Rutledge submitted comments to the EPA in July 2015. In the letter, she wrote, “The proposed Federal Implementation Plan has no basis in law or science and is a prime example of overreaching federal regulation in response to ‘sue and settle’ litigation brought by the Sierra Club. As such, the EPA should withdraw the proposed plan and consult with the State in developing an approvable State Implementation Plan.”

The EPA published its proposed FIP for Arkansas on April 8, 2015, and solicited feedback. The Attorney General, ADEQ and a number of industries, institutions and facilities impacted by the proposed plan, provided comments during this time. The final FIP was signed yesterday by the EPA according to a settlement deadline issued in a Sierra Club-initiated federal lawsuit.

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September Mobile Office Locations

Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for September

Tue, Aug 30, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for September.

Rutledge created the mobile office initiative in 2015 to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Last year, office hours were held in all 75 counties, marking the first time that the Attorney General’s office has held office hours in each county across the State. Since January, 43 mobile offices have been held in an effort to help even more Arkansans.

The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents. Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.

Rutledge earlier this year expanded the services offered at mobile offices to include Prescription Drug Take Back boxes. Rutledge is partnering with local law enforcement agencies across the State who will handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Bradley County

Thursday, Sept. 1

9:30 to 11 a.m.

Warren Senior Citizens Center

96 N. Etheridge St.

Warren, AR 71671

Hempstead County

Tuesday, Sept. 6

10:30 a.m. to noon

Hempstead Senior Center - Hope

102 S. Main St.

Hope, AR 71801

Cleburne County

Thursday, Sept. 8

9:30 to 11 a.m.

Cleburne County Fairgrounds

880 Bittle Road

Heber Springs, AR 72543

Franklin County

Tuesday, Sept. 13

10:30 a.m. to noon

Franklin County Senior Center of Charleston

222 N. Vine St.

Charleston, AR 72933

Phillips County

Thursday, Sept. 15

10:30 a.m. to noon

Phillips County Library

702 Porter St.

Helena, AR 72342

Little River County

Monday, Sept. 19

10:30 a.m. to noon

Little River Senior Center - Ashdown

1321 Gordon Drive

Ashdown, AR 71822

Sevier County

Tuesday, Sept. 20

10:30 a.m. to noon

Sevier County Senior Center – De Queen

605 E. Hayes St.

De Queen, AR 71832

Crittenden County

Thursday, Sept. 22

10:30 a.m. to noon

Marion Chamber of Commerce

13 Military Road

Marion, AR 72364

Clay County

Monday, Sept. 26

10:30 a.m. to noon

Bert E. Sigsby Senior Wellness Center

102 East 1st St.

Rector, AR 72461

Greene County

Tuesday, Sept. 27

10:30 a.m. to noon

12th Street Senior Center

123 North 12th St.

Paragould, AR 72450

Ashley County

Thursday, Sept. 29

10:30 a.m. to noon

Hamburg Senior Citizens Center

1406 N. Main St.

Hamburg, AR 71646

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Passing of Ronnie Baldwin

Rutledge Statement on the Passing of Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin

Mon, Aug 29, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement after learning of the passing of Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Ronnie Baldwin.

“Ronnie Baldwin was a selfless public servant,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “He was a fighter, and I am saddened to learn of his passing. Director Baldwin spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, including time as the Sheriff of Cross County, the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association and as an active member of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Director Baldwin was a man of God and was also a man of high character, which is exemplified by his involvement with the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. I join with the law enforcement community, the people of Cross County and many others in mourning the passing of this kind-hearted man, and I extend my thoughts and prayers to his wife, Martha, his family, friends and fellow officers.”

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CFPB Arbitration Rule Harms Consumers

Rutledge: CFPB Arbitration Rule Harms Consumers

Wed, Aug 24, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to withdraw its proposed 377-page arbitration rule that seeks to limit companies and providers from including mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer financial agreements and requires those companies and providers to submit arbitration proceeding records to the CFPB.

In a comment letter to the CFPB, seven attorneys general argue that the CFPB’s proposal is not consistent with the findings of a March 2015 study that said arbitration benefits consumers with its modest cost and expeditious pace. The CFPB's proposal to artificially restrict the availability and use of arbitration actually hurts consumers instead of helping them.

“The proposal exceeds the CFPB’s statutory authority and fails to advance consumer protection or the broader public interest,” the attorneys general write. “The proposal should be withdrawn.”

“The CFPB wants to insert itself into an area of the marketplace that has allowed consumers and companies to settle disputes at lower costs and at a faster pace,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “As the chief consumer advocate for Arkansans, I do not want the government implementing a policy that will force citizens into more class action lawsuits and pad the wallets of trial lawyers. Moreover, the CFPB is pushing this rule after its own study concluded it was not necessary. I will continue to monitor this rule, and I urge the CFPB to withdraw it.”

Led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Rutledge is joined in the comment letter by attorneys general from Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

In a column in The Hill newspaper, officials with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce note that the rule will enrich trial lawyers, not protect consumers saying, “The Bureau misleadingly styles its proposal as one to regulate arbitration agreements. The truth is that the proposal is very intentionally designed for the singular goal of promoting class action lawsuits — the number one policy priority of the trial bar. The Bureau’s next step will be to finalize the misguided rule and extinguish consumers’ ability to resolve simple financial services disputes outside the broken class action system.”

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