HomeArkansas newsArkansas State Police launches new division to resolve longstanding mysteries

Arkansas State Police launches new division to resolve longstanding mysteries

Arkansas – The Arkansas State Police, known for their presence on the interstates, conduct critical work that goes far beyond routine traffic stops. Col. Mike Hagar, Director of the Arkansas State Police (ASP), and Major Stacey Rhoads, leading the ASP Criminal Investigations Division, reveal a lesser-known but vital aspect of their work: solving cold cases.

Behind the Scenes: Tackling Cold Cases

The work of the ASP isn’t just about patrolling highways; it involves meticulous investigations conducted away from public view. Within the confines of the Arkansas State Police Headquarters, investigators delve into complex cases requiring extensive investigative efforts. “There are a lot of cases that are pretty complex. It takes a lot of investigative work,” Hagar explained, highlighting the often-overlooked side of the ASP.

Cold cases represent a significant challenge. Despite collecting evidence and following leads, some trails grow cold over years or even decades, allowing perpetrators to remain at large. Yet, Hagar sends a clear message to criminals: “Don’t get too comfortable,” signifying the persistence and skill of the ASP’s investigators.

Major Stacey Rhoads, a Marine veteran with over two decades of experience in the Criminal Investigations Division, is spearheading the ASP Cold Case Division. Her law enforcement career is marked by remarkable achievements, ranging from intense standoffs to solving nationally recognized murder cases. Rhoads’ dedication and result-driven approach have been instrumental in the successes of the Cold Case Division.

The Cold Case Division: A New Hope

The ASP Cold Case Division, officially established in 2020, represents a renewed focus on unresolved cases. The unit, although initially constrained by time and resources, recently received clearance to add special agents, bolstering its investigative capabilities.

Rhoads explains that the job of solving cold cases is emotionally taxing, with investigators often carrying the weight of unsolved crimes for years. The establishment of the Cold Case Division has reignited hope among these investigators, providing them with renewed energy to solve these long-standing mysteries.

The division’s approach to cold cases is not about critiquing past investigations but rather about finding new leads that could crack the case wide open. Rhoads emphasizes, “Our focus is is there enough content to pull a string and unravel the case.” This strategy has already yielded results, as evidenced by a 2013 homicide case in Saline County where a DNA hit led to identifying the perpetrator.

Rhoads and her team’s ultimate satisfaction comes from solving these challenging cases and bringing closure to the victims and their families. The moment they can confront a perpetrator with evidence, proving that justice can be served even after years, is what drives the team forward.

Olivia Martinez

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