FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Arkansas legislators are working on a bill that would expand when law enforcement agencies from other states can cross into Arkansas.
Depending on the police agency's department, a law enforcement officer in Oklahoma can cross the border into Arkansas to pursue a dangerous criminal. The bill filed in Little Rock would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to work together.
"This is an opportunity for Arkansas to say 'hey Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Lousiana if there's a violent felon that will effect our state, we welcome you assistance and the help to keep our community safe'," Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck said.
The bill will allow an out-of-state law enforcement officer to follow a vehicle into Arkansas to investigate a violent crime, felony or an intoxicated driver. While most police agencies work together on this issue already, local law enforcement said the bill could help once criminal charges go before a judge.
"There's been instances from what I understand in other parts of the state, where out-of-state agencies have come in, in a pursuit or following a suspect, violent felon made an arrest and because of Arkansas law, that is not totally clear," Hollenbeck said. "There has been certain instances where charges have been dropped for lack of clarity in Arkansas law. I think this right here reinforces."
The bill passed before a house committee on Thursday (Jan. 26) and will go to the full House and then to the Senate.