The Showdown at City Hall turned out to be an ass kissing session for the Little Rock Board of Directors.
A manic-sounding, fast-pace talking Buckner rattled on for over an hour on what he had accomplished in his tenure as chief.
Bottom line from Buckner was that LRPD can't do anything about the crime that occurs in Little Rock, he placed all the blame on parents, citing a "lack of parenting."
Buckner always stresses that his officers are part of "our community", but that is hard to swallow when over half of the uniformed officers of his department choose to live outside of Little Rock.
We suggest that LRPD is a huge contributing factor to crime in the city. Officers that choose to live anywhere else but Little Rock have little connection to the community they get their paycheck from. They are not neighbors, their children do not go to go to schools in the city.
If LRPD officer actually had a presence in Little Rock neighborhoods as residents, that presence would go a long way in creating an atmosphere of protection.
Why do you think Little Rock apartment complexes give sweet deals to officers to live in one of their complexes? They like having a police car parked on property and in exchange for reduced rent, the officer agrees to act as a security officer for the complex.
One of the first statements that Buckner made was to urge citizens to follow LRPD on social media sites to be able to have instant communication with his department.
Buckner said that disagreement is a sign of healthy communication.
We call bullshit on that, the publisher of this blog called out LRPD on Facebook for posting false information and they blocked him from the site.
So much for Free Speech.
Buckner touted that his department was being proactive and had created a Violent Crime Apprehension Team three months ago. That group has yet to be put into service due to scheduling conflicts of team members. Buckner stated it would go into service the next weekend.
Buckner claimed that LPRD is the only city that provides accurate data about crime to the FBI and that is why the crime stats for Little Rock look so bad compared to other cities in the US. Buckner offered no evidence to back up that claim.
Director, "Where's Ken" Richardson arrived late and asked the most questions and took an inordinate amount of time making incoherent statements. Richardson questioned why the meeting had been called several times.
Director Doris Wright asked questions of the chief that residents of her ward had communicated concerns about to her.
Wright question the interview process for LRPD officer candidates. Buckner stated that the interview was tough and several of his command staff could not pass it if they had to do it. Maybe his command staff shouldn't be on the force if they can't pass the entrance requirements. Don't lower the standards or rig the process to accommodate unqualified candidates.
Buckner admitted that changes to the hiring procedures have to go slow due to lawsuits unsuccessful candidates may file. Current procedures are expected to change in 2018, Buckner stated.
Director Joan Adcock expressed concern that community oriented officers in her ward were once again being removed and transferred to other units. Adcock stated that those officers had helped lower the incidence of crime in her ward.
Director Lance Hines, who blasted the Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police in a story that appeared earlier in the week in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, did not display the same intensity at the emergency meeting. Perhaps the all the armed uniformed officers in the audience made him skittish.
The public was not allowed to make comments or ask questions. Mayor Stodola stated that the meeting would be reconvened next week (regular scheduled board meeting) and that citizens could participate at that time.
Maybe Mayor Stodola can provide information about what the task force he created over two years ago to address crime has been doing at that meeting.