Law Enforcement Veteran Named as New State Parks Emergency Services Program Coordinator

July 15, 2019 – Little Rock, AR

Arkansas native Ed Thomas has taken the reigns of the Arkansas State Parks law enforcement arm. Thomas has been with the parks system since 2010. Before that, he worked in law enforcement in Baxter County and for the Department of State.

“Ed is a real asset to our team,” said Parks Deputy Director Shea Lewis. “He has years of boots on the ground experience both in Arkansas and the middle east. His strong leadership skills make him the perfect fit for this very important job.”

The Emergency Services Manager oversees law enforcement in all 52 state parks. Also, this division coordinates continuous training for park staff.

“My love for parks began by being a visitor to Bull Shoals-White River State Park, the beauty of the park and river and the friendliness of the staff excited me about Arkansas State Parks, said Thomas. “I’ve had many opportunities in my career, but I am humbled and blessed to be here.”

Thomas has 31 years’ experience in the field of public safety, emergency services and law enforcement.  He has worked at the Baxter County Sheriff Office, Mountain Home Police Department, Lakeview Police Department, and three years as an International Police Officer in Iraq, for the Department of State.  His career path with Arkansas State Parks began 10 years ago at Bull Shoals-White River State Park. Soon he was promoted to assistant superintendent at that park and then filled the same role at Ozark Folk Center State Park.  In addition, he is a law enforcement instructor for the department and has a wealth of specialized training and knowledge that will benefit the emergency services section of Arkansas State Parks.  

Thomas was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas. He is married to his wife Tammy of 34 years. They have two sons, Josh and Jared, as well as three grandchildren.

About Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark and 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

The state parks have 1,800 camp sites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation.