TOP COP: Bill Bryant, shown with Mike Beebe at a 2009 event, will lead the State Police under Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Bill Bryant will be director of the Arkansas State Police in the administration of Asa Hutchinson.

The announcement:


Governor-Elect Asa Hutchinson has announced Bill Bryant, formerly of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as the new Director of the Arkansas State Police. Mr. Bryant is a resident of Little Rock.

Bryant brings nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience to his new position, including stints as a criminal investigator and Resident Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Resident Office for the DEA. For more on Bryant, see attached.

Governor-Elect Hutchinson issued the following statement:

“I am honored to announce Bill Bryant as the new Director of the Arkansas State Police. Bill’s extensive experience at all levels within the law enforcement community makes him the ideal person for this key law enforcement position. While I served as Administrator of the DEA, I had the privilege of working with Bill on both drug enforcement efforts and my initiatives to strengthen drug education and prevention programs. Bill returned to Arkansas to lead the DEA in this state and he has provided extraordinary leadership in supporting law enforcement at both the state and local level. Bill’s integrity and dedication is respected by law enforcement professionals across the nation and I have no doubt that Bill will be a great leader of the Arkansas State Police.”

Bill Bryant issued the following statement:

“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity. I believe the knowledge and experience I have gained over the course of my career in law enforcement has more than prepared me for this new role, and I look forward to serving Governor Hutchinson and the good people of Arkansas.”

An outsider appointment is not unprecedented. For example, Mike Huckabee tabbed a corporate lawyer, Tom Mars, to be his State Police director. It will test Bryant’s reputed good personality to soothe those in the agency with an insular view. And there are some.

Col. Stan Witt, who’s been director of the State Police since 2012, announced to troopers yesterday that Hutchinson would be making a change in leadership.