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Applicants for Little Rock police chief include current, former law enforcement personnel from around the country

Only one applicant reports prior employment with city by Joseph Flaherty | June 16, 2022 at 6:58 a.m.
FILE — Little Rock Police Department headquarters are shown in this 2019 file photo.


Applicants seeking to become Little Rock's next police chief include the police chief of New Haven, Mo., the outgoing county judge in Brown County, Texas, and the former police chief of Forrest City.

Of the initial group of applicants, just one individual reported working for the city of Little Rock in the past, records show.

Former Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey resigned last month after serving under Mayor Frank Scott Jr. for three years.

On Monday, the Police Department announced that Assistant Chief Crystal Young-Haskins, who was tapped to serve as interim chief after Humphrey's May 20 resignation, plans to step down to pursue an out-of-state career opportunity. Her last day is Friday.

Assistant Chief Wayne Bewley will serve as interim chief beginning Saturday as the search for Humphrey's permanent successor continues, Scott said in a statement earlier this week.

Scott has said he intends to appoint a new permanent police chief before the November election, when the mayor is expected to face off against one or more challengers as he seeks a second term.

The city of Little Rock provided an initial batch of 13 applications to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette pursuant to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

The city's job posting for the position of police chief was issued May 23. According to city spokesman Spencer Watson, it will remain open until the position has been filled.

Little Rock received the 13 applications between May 24-31, the records show.

Asked about the hiring process, Scott's spokesman Aaron Sadler wrote in an email, "HR will review applications to identify applicants who meet minimum qualifications. After that, HR and the mayor's office will select candidates for an initial round of interviews. Those interviews will be conducted by a panel selected by the Mayor."

At least the following individuals have applied for the job of police chief:

ANDRE COOLEY

Since September, Cooley has worked as an asset protection operations coach for Walmart in Waynesboro, Miss., according to his application.

From December 2020 to June 2021, Cooley worked for the Forrest County, Miss., sheriff's office, where he was a lieutenant.

JAMES DAVIS

Davis is the community resource supervisor with the Police Department of Venice, Fla. He has worked for the department since September 2017, according to his application.

Before joining the city of Venice, Davis served as a code compliance officer with Charlotte County, Fla.

MICHAEL DRAKE

Since 1996, Drake has worked for the New York State Police, first as a trooper and most recently as a major overseeing professional standards matters for Long Island and New York City.

DAVID GECOYA

Gecoya is the commander of the investigations division of the Saugus Police Department in Saugus, Mass., his application says.

He joined the department in February 1996 and supervises 10 employees.

CHRISTOPHER HAMMANN

Hammann serves as chief of police in New Haven, Mo., where he has worked since November 2018.

Before New Haven, Hammann served as chief of police in Vandalia, Mo. and New Bloomfield, Mo., his application says.

ERNEST HARRIS

Harris is a former sergeant and warrants officer with the Pulaski County sheriff's office, where he worked from 2008 to 2012, according to his application.

Under a reason for leaving, Harris indicated that he wanted to run for sheriff of Saline County.

He worked as a police officer, SWAT supervisor and street crime unit supervisor with the Little Rock Police Department from June 1980 to June 1984, Harris wrote.

Harris later joined the U.S. Marshals Service in Little Rock, where he worked from 1984 to 2008 as a criminal investigator team leader and supervisor, he reported on his application.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, according to his application.

PAUL LILLY

Lilly is the outgoing county judge for Brown County, Texas, a position that involves both administrative and judicial responsibilities, according to his application.

Since January 2019, Lilly has served as the elected county judge overseeing the county's governmental operations, he wrote in his application. Brown County has approximately 41,000 residents and an additional nonresident daily population of 10,000 people, he wrote.

"I also serve as the Director of Emergency Management, most recently/currently supervising the COVID pandemic as well as a once in 100 year winter storm now declared as a national disaster area," Lilly wrote.

Before becoming county judge, from 2011 to 2018 Lilly worked as an associate professor at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, where he simultaneously served as the university's chief of police.

Lilly was defeated in a May 24 runoff election for the Republican nomination for county judge by Shane Britton.

VONYALE MONTGOMERY

Montgomery is the chief of security for Baptist Health Sciences University in Memphis, where she has worked since September. She also serves as a training associate with the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis.

She is a former police lieutenant with the Memphis Police Department, where she worked beginning in December 1995.

Montgomery applied to become the police chief of Pine Bluff ahead of the planned retirement of former Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant, the Pine Bluff Commercial reported last year, but she was ultimately not selected.

JAMES MURRY

Murry is a patrolman with the Arkansas Supreme Court Police Department in Little Rock, where he has worked since 2019, his application says.

Under duties, Murry wrote that he provides protection for the building's entrance as well as executive protection for the Supreme Court justices.

TROY OUTLAW

Outlaw is a retired captain with the Starkville Police Department in Starkville, Miss., according to his application.

He worked for the department in a variety of roles from August 1992 to February 2019 -- first as a patrol officer and eventually as the department's second in command, according to his application.

MARCUS OVERTON

Overton is a former officer with the Wayne County sheriff's office in Wayne County, Mich.

He began working for the sheriff's office there in February 2019 but left less than a year later, according to his application. Under a reason for leaving, Overton indicated he wanted to work in the South.

Other work experience listed by Overton includes jobs with the Department of General Services' Protective Services Division in Washington, D.C., the Memphis-Shelby County school district and the Meridian, Miss. Police Department.

DONALD PEZZUTO

Pezzuto is a former sworn court security officer with the Will County sheriff's office in Will County, Ill., where he worked from June 2012 to December 2021.

He was responsible for the security of the county's circuit court facilities as well as staff, county officials and judges, he wrote in his application.

Prior to joining the sheriff's office, Pezzuto worked for the Police Department of Rockdale, Ill.

EDWARD REYNOLDS

Reynolds is chief of the Southern University at Shreveport Police Department in Shreveport, La., director of ministers and director of evangelism for the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, he wrote in his application.

Reynolds has worked for the university since January 2018.

From August 2011 to February 2018, he served with the Police Department in Forrest City as a police commander and chief of police, Reynolds wrote.


Print Headline: Applicants for Little Rock police chief include current, ex-law enforcement personnel from around country

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