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To handle the growing caseload, the Attorney General’s Office for Arkansas has requested 16 extra staff members



Little Rock, Arkansas – The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office has asked for 16 additional staff positions in its budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year, citing an increase in the number of cases the office claims to be handling.

The Joint Budget Committee’s personnel subcommittee heard testimony from the Attorney General’s Office last Tuesday regarding the need for additional workers as the office assumes more responsibility.

“The theme there…is our office is doing more work in all of the divisions than most of the divisions have done in the previous several years,” said Chief Deputy Attorney General Ryan Owsley to lawmakers.

Below is a summary of the extra positions that have been requested: Five additional investigators, ten more attorneys, and one more administrative assistant are needed. Only four detectives are working independently of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at this time.

“What had happened historically is, you have one investigator for example who’s working internet crimes against children cases and then a human trafficking case comes in, so that investigator has to set aside the ICAC case and move over to the human trafficking case and then we’re having to shift back and forth,” Owsley explained.

“So this increase, in investigators for example, will allow us to make much better progress on those cases and ultimately keep Arkansans safer.”

Apart from its pre-existing responsibilities for cybercrime and human trafficking, the Attorney General’s Office has lately assumed additional responsibilities. These include the investigation of cryptomines throughout Arkansas and the establishment of an Election Integrity Unit ahead of the presidential contest.

“There are a number of items that the legislature has asked me to look into and others that I feel are key priorities for this office where we need to play a leadership role,” Griffin said. “And you simply can’t do it with a handful of investigators.”

Additionally, as part of the office’s present law clerk internship program, the Attorney General’s Office is requesting to formally create 10 “extra help” posts. These positions are currently filled through contracts, but they would effectively be renamed.

“We’re moving them to line-item employment slots that the legislature controls,” Griffin said.

Overall, the Attorney General’s Office budget proposal would increase funding by about two percent over the previous fiscal year. However, Griffin notes that he has been saving taxpayer money by reallocating existing funding—for instance, removing $5 million from a fund that was tied to settlements—to pay for staff increases.

“I’ve reduced our appropriation $5 million dollars and a year ago I reduced it $10 million, so we’re talking about a total reduction of $15 million in appropriations,” Griffin said. “That’s where some of the money’s coming from to pay for these new slots.”

The House cleared the Attorney General’s Office appropriations measure last Thursday, and it will now head to the Senate on Tuesday.















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