LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - "It was a problem when we reached number one," says Leifel Jackson. Jackson, a former gang banger, says the number is alarming. And a mother of a homicide victim who still struggles with the death of her son says, "Each day when I get up, I pray."
Just half way into the year, Little Rock has already reported 29 homicides; four of the homicides are unsolved. "The problems that exist here are historical, they've been here for a very long time. They're very complex. They will not be solved overnight," Chief Kenton Buckner explains.
In a one-on-one interview the new Little Rock Police chief pinpoints the problem of crime and delivers a goal of reducing it. Buckner says, "That will be my goal every year that I am here, violent crime in particular, but crime as a whole needs to be reduced."
Chief Kenton Buckner most recently came from the Louisville Metro Police Department, a city comparable in size and crime to Little Rock. Buckner spent 21 years there and says his experience on the force will help him implement plans to diminish crime in Arkansas' capital city.
He admits it is too soon to say exactly what those plans are right now. "I don't think that you can say that you have developed any strategies or plans after being here for what is the end of my second week." When asked what Buckner would like Little Rock residents to know about what he is trying to do, he responds saying, "I think that the main thing I would need from them is to get involved in some shape, form or fashion in our community. We cannot have spectators with the level of crime we're having in our community and I ask for their patience."