LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — There's a new police chief in town— Heath Helton was appointed at the end of last year to be Little Rock's chief of police.
He has been putting plans in place with hopes of solving some of the department's biggest weaknesses all while holding himself and his officers accountable.
Chief Helton has been an officer with LRPD for more than two decades, and he shared that he still remembers the beginning of his career when he wanted to be the chief.
He comes into the position as the department has seen criticisms of staffing shortages, low officer morale, and a high homicide rate.
"You know, I'm very concerned when I hear about shots fired in neighborhoods and drive-bys or instances that occurred in schools and parks," said Chief Helton.
As a way to hold himself and his officers accountable, he has created an acronym to bring high standards back: C.P.R.
- C - Communication
- P - Pride/Professionalism
- R - Relationships
"If we are doing that then we will have that layer of transparency and we will have the community being supportive of us. We will have the community being able to talk to us because we are a professional organization," Chief Helton described.
Chief Helton also shared that he has many goals he'd like to accomplish during his leadership.
He wants to finish the real-time crime center, fill staffing vacancies, and tackle violent crime.
The department has already begun using a new approach that has shown success in reducing violent crime in Dallas.
The approach looks at areas that are known to have more violent crime and when those incidents are occurring. Then police will increase patrol during those times and in those areas.
While he works on those Chief Helton shared that in order to be truly successful, the department needs the help of the public.
"We need the community's input. They are another piece of the puzzle to help solve. We can't do it alone," said Chief Helton.