New LRPD Chief Calls Murder Rate 'Very Frustrating'

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- It's been two weeks now since he took over as Little Rock's new police chief.
Friday FOX16 spoke with Kenton Buckner about a variety of issues including the alarming increase in murders this year.

"That's very frustrating for us," Buckner said. "We take that very seriously. Reducing violent crime is the number one focus that I have right now."

Buckner is taking over the department a'midst what's on pace to be the deadliest year since 2006.

"We didn't get in this predicament overnight nor will we have solutions come about overnight," he said.

This week, Buckner met with Arkansas Stop the Violence, an activist group pushing more aggressive police tactics like zero tolerance implemented in the 1990's. Buckner says his department will toe a delicate line.

"I don't want folks in our community feeling like they're being targets," Buckner said. "I want our criminals to feel like they're being targets."

Already making his mark, Buckner announced a reorganization of the department, changing some responsibilities of his three assistance chiefs.

"You have to understand, make sure that you understand, how and why you're leading folks and what it is you're trying to accomplish," he said.

Buckner, a long time top assistant at the Louisville Police Department, says he's finding more similarities than differences between his old and new home. 

Despite obvious problems, he's confident he can make a difference here.

"If we can get everyone in the same room on the same page, I think that Little Rock can turn around some of the crime," he said.

On a personal note, Chief Buckner says his favorite thing about Little Rock so far is the Big Dam Bridge. 

He's 45-years-old and has never been married and doesn't have kids. But he says he's not ruling that out for the future.

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