Gov. Mike Beebe (D) named Stan Witt of Austin as the new director of the Arkansas State Police on Monday (Aug. 27).

The announcement comes after Colonel J.R. Howard notified Beebe of his intention to retire at the end of this month. The official transition of leadership will occur on Friday, August 31.

“J.R. was my friend long before he became Colonel, and I hate to see him leave the State Police,” Beebe said. “However, I understand his wish to go home to Searcy and spend more time with his family. I’ll be joining him in a little more than two years.”

Major Witt, 55, began his law-enforcement career with the Walnut Ridge Police Department in 1975. He spent the next decade in various Northeast Arkansas departments, including a brief stint as the Lawrence County Sheriff.

In 1985, he joined the Arkansas State Police and began patrolling highways in Sharp County. After a career of accomplishment and promotion, Witt was named the Administrative Services Division Commander earlier this year.

“Stan Witt has a wealth of law-enforcement experience, and will approach the role of Director with the thorough and even-handed manner that has earned him respect and admiration,” Beebe continued. “His 27 years with the ASP have made him an expert in policies, practices and procedures — knowledge that will service him well as the leader of this great agency.”

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