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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson opens up on fighting violent crime, America’s drug crisis

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Arkansas has one of the highest rates of violent crime among all 50 states — but Gov. Asa Hutchinson tells Fox News Digital his state has a chance to escape the national challenge by backing police.

According to data from the FBI, the state experienced nearly 672 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2020.

Hutchinson, a Republican, has backed some cash bail policies and said there needs to be follow-through in the prison system. 

‘We’re helping at the state level by having intensive supervision of those that come out of prison on parole, and an increased level of supervision, we found, is helpful to prevent recidivism, but also to help them to get back on the right path in life and to get a job,’ he said.

He added, ‘We’re supporting our law enforcement. We support it at the state level. We raised our state police salary.’

An Arkansas bill was signed into law granting a one-time payment of $5,000 to ‘full-time certified city and county law enforcement officers and full-time certified state Department of Corrections probation and parole officers’ back in August.

Hutchinson, whose term in office is set to end in 2023, had served as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) during the administration of President George W. Bush. He also raised the alarm about fentanyl, as GOP senators released a PSA warning about the dangers of rainbow fentanyl in which the deadly drug is formulated to look like candy ahead of Halloween.

‘[It is] the most awful thing you can imagine whenever the most dangerous drug fentanyl, that can kill with a very small amount, [is] being laced with a drug, and marketed to children,’ Hutchinson added.

He went on, ‘The DEA is right on point that you’ve got to be aggressive in going after the fentanyl production, because it used to be that it was simply using an illegal pill or substance and lacing it with fentanyl. Now they’re marketing it, and it’s going to kill too many young people.’ 

New data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that the total weight of fentanyl seized at the southwestern border in the first quarter has seen a 233% increase from this same time last year. 

Aside from securing the border, Hutchinson said the United States needs to work with Mexico to ensure cartels lose their influence and their control of the border.

‘We can put as many CBP officers there as we can. We can beef up the Border Patrol, do everything on our side. But until we actually diminish the strength of the cartel, we’re not going to be successful. Right now, there’s two cartels that are shipping the fentanyl, and it is killing people in our society, our communities,’ he said. 

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