LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday named Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane as the sate’s new drug director.


Lane is leaving the Benton Police Department to replace Denny Altes of Fort Smith as drug director. Altes, a former state legislator, resigned in May.


The drug director is responsible for coordinating drug treatment and prevention programs across the state.


Lane’s annual salary will be $108,110, a significant increase over the $73,000 salary Altes received. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said the salary boost reflects an increased level of responsibility assigned to the position, with new duties including serving as a member of Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie’s executive team.


The salary increase also “indicates the priority the governor wants to make this position,” Davis said.


A graduate of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy and the FBI National Academy, Lane has served as Benton police chief since 2009. He previously served for 20 years with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office was captain of its Criminal Investigations Division for nearly a decade.


Lane has also served as a member of the Arkansas Drug and Alcohol Coordinating Council, the Arkansas Gulf Coast HITDA State Board, the Terrorism Task Force, the Arkansas Prescription Drug Advisory Board and the Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.


“Chief Lane’s extensive experience in law enforcement and his background with the FBI has well-equipped him to serve as the new Arkansas drug director,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Chief Lane is a dedicated leader who has been a valuable asset to several Arkansas drug and alcohol boards and programs. I am confident that he will continue to do an outstanding job working to further alcohol- and drug-abuse prevention and treatment initiatives of our state.”


Lane said in a statement, “This is a great opportunity to lead people in the same direction to prevent drug abuse and improve the quality of life for all Arkansas. My job is to encourage people to work together to resolve these issues, and I look forward to being a part of the governor’s team in this effort.”