New Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner said at his installation ceremony Monday morning that he wants to learn the culture of the Little Rock Police Department before making too many changes, but he sees room for improvement.
Buckner, who was announced as the future police chief in May of this year, said that while he has seen areas where the department can be improved, he does not plan on a big overhaul.
"I am confident we have the right people," Buckner said. "Some people may shift seats a little."
Buckner said to expect him out in the streets of Little Rock over the next few months as he gets to know the city. He said he would frequent grocery stores and coffee shops, and that he plans to hold a public forum for the people of Little Rock to meet their new chief. Moreover, Buckner said communication would be vital to his role as police chief and he is up to the challenge of trying to rectify some of the crime problems in Little Rock.
"As we've learned in our not so recent history, arresting our way out of crime is not going to work," Buckner said.
Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore said Buckner was chosen in May to replace retiring Chief Stuart Thomas after an exhaustive search and that he is happy with the selection.
"Without a doubt, this is the right man for the job," Moore said.
Little Rock officers also expressed support for Buckner as the next chief. Little Rock Police Department Capt. Mike Davis said the work Buckner has done during his career will certainly help move the department in the right direction.
"When you look at the size of the department he came from ... it's very similar to Little Rock, but yet it brings a different viewpoint and different tactics and techniques," Davis said. "Sometimes you need a different viewpoint to come in and take steps to improve a city."
Buckner was previously the assistant police chief in Louisville, Ky.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more.