New LRPD Chief Talks City's Crime Problems

LITTLE ROCK, AR - He's been on the job as police chief for two weeks now. Kenton Buckner took over in the midst of one of the deadliest years in almost a decade.

"There's a big difference between being in seat number two or three and being in the number one seat," Buckner said. 

After years as a top assistant with the Louisville Police Department, Buckner is now getting settled into his role as Little Rock's top cop.

"[I've] had forums with my entire command staff, sergeants, lieutenants, captains... I've attended neighborhood associations meetings."

His top priority is violent crime. The 29 murders in Little Rock so far this year puts the city on pace for the highest total since 2006.

"That's very frustrating for us," Buckner said.  "We take that very seriously."

This week, Buckner met with Arkansas Stop the Violence, an activist group pushing for more aggressive policing including a return to zero-tolerance policies of the 1990's.

Buckner said the policies could "possibly" work in specific areas, but they can go too far.

"I don't want to develop strategies that will alienate the people that we're trying to protect," he said.

Buckner says the top brass of the department is remaining the same. But this week he announced a reorganization, giving some new responsibilities to his assistant chiefs.

"We have realigned some of the divisions as to who they report to, because I wanted cleaner lines as to duties and responsibilities," Buckner said.

On a personal note, Buckner says he's enjoying his new home.

"My favorite has been the Big Dam Bridge," he said. "I really like that area." 

At 45-years-old, Buckner's never been married and doesn't have kids. He says that's made the move to Little Rock easier but admits there is something missing.

"I fell like that God has blessed me, and I have been successful." he said. "I think that success is best when it's shared."

Buckner says it's been a goal of his to be a police chief for the last 10 years. He was recently a finalist for the job in Newport News, Virginia.

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