After serving more than 20 years on the Arkansas Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinating Council, Chief Ron Burks officially retired this week. Attending his last council meeting, this time as a private citizen, Burks was honored with a plaque of recognition for his dedicated service to improving the quality of life for all Arkansans.
“I’m very humbled by this. Twenty years flew by and I enjoyed every minute I served on the council,” Burks said.
Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane presented the plaque to Burks, alongside special guest – former Arkansas Drug Director Fran Flener.
“Chief Burks leaves a legacy of outstanding contributions given to this council, which has directly impacted Arkansans in a positive manner,” Lane said. “The wisdom he shared for more than 2 decades is immeasurable, and so is the amount of people he mentored in both his role on the council and through his law enforcement career.”
Burks recently retired as chief of the Arkansas Highway Police, where he served for more than 20 years. He previously served more than 23 years at the North Little Rock Police Department where he earned the rank of Captain of the Investigations Division. Burks said serving on the Arkansas Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinating Council was “fantastic” even through times of funding concerns.
“I think more so now, with the opioid crisis at the national level, I think that has not only grabbed the attention of the politicians in Washington DC, but also our state and local politicians,” he said. “I think they see the need to have appropriate funding to address this problem. I just wish there was more funding out there, because they work they do is very important, especially now with the opioid epidemic.”
Burks said the council has three sections of support toward improving the state: treatment, prevention and law enforcement.
“Their main importance is to ensure funding is directed to the areas that need to be addressed,” he said. “Not all the money goes to law enforcement. Not all the money goes to treatment. Not all the money goes to prevention. It needs to be a collaborative effort of all and I think the council is crucial in ensuring that the funding is spread out evenly, and we address the problem as a whole.”
Burks said he feels confident that the council will continue to improve and progress. He said he’ll miss serving with other board members, but he’s ready to enjoy retirement.
“I’m going to miss being on the council,” he said. “I felt like we did a lot of good work and I’ll miss the people, but just like anything else, there will be others to step in and continue the work of the council.”