LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson gave a briefing Tuesday afternoon to discuss a variety of issues including a parolee program expansion and COVID-19 in Arkansas.

The governor acknowledged the amount of crime that the state has seen over the past few weeks and stated that the state has steps to take to help curb the violence rate. Hutchinson announced an expansion of the intensive supervision program.

The program is for individuals who have been released from prison on parole looking to get a second start in life. In addition to the four officers in Pulaski County, the governor said that he will add 10 officers assist in with the program in Lonoke, Jefferson, Faulkner, Saline and Pulaski county.

The cost of the program expansion is expected to be more than $1 million the first year and more than $820,000 each year afterward. The program will have to be approved by the general assembly.

Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero announced that he will be resigning from his position in the state to go work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will go into effect May 6.

Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson received their second COVID-19 booster dose, encouraging state residents to continue vaccinations even though the state has seen declining numbers.