LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The city's elected officials wanted to hear from Little Rock Police Chief, Kenton Buckner, on what exactly he plans to do in regards to the recent increase in crime.
Buckner addressed Mayor Mark Stodola, the City Board of Directors, and City Manager Bruce Moore with a slideshow presentation. But what the community and some board members really wanted to know is what will be done differently this time?
"They keep trying to go over the hood, you can't go over the hood. You have to have the hood involved to help the hood. You can't keep acting like we don't exist and when you get a phone call it's a problem. No, it's a problem when you don't get a phone call,” said Gabriel Tolbert, one of many concerned citizens in attendance.
The community is at a crossroads.
“Do you think we can police our way out of this, is the police going to solve…” asked City Director Ken Richardson before he was interrupted by the crowd.
Mayor Stodola called the special meeting in response to recent shootings. Buckner presented a slide show detailing plans he hopes will begin to bridge the gap. He said community cooperation is an issue.
"When we walk into the hospital at UAMS and say hey we're here to investigate your shooting. The universal response is get the F out of here I don't want to talk to you,” he said.
His proposed plan included a crime control model with hot spot enforcement, effective partnerships, and community involvement. But the community said they feel everything but involved.
“We're at an impasse. They don't listen to us, and we don't listen to them because they don't listen to us. The main thing they're forgetting is we pay their salaries,” said Fernando Woods.
Board members questioned whether adding more officers will do any good as Bucker presented new recruitment plans.
"We have a goal of 30-40 the next two go rounds. To my knowledge we've never been able to reach those goals,” City Director Gene Fortson said.
Recent homicides have all sides asking, where do we go from here?
"I came to hear exactly what they plan to do and I left without an insight on that,” Tolbert said.
Police recently announced they think a lot of the violence in Little Rock is gang related. Just Thursday there were two separate incidents, a fatal drive by shooting at a home daycare and another drive by shooting just 20 minutes later. Since January 1 there have been 71 shooting victims out of 57 shooting incidents and 20 homicide victims out of 19 incidents.
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