LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On May 20 Little Rock’s top cop is stepping down, and he spoke publicly on why he’s moving on for the first time Wednesday.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said he plans to appoint a new permanent chief before the November election. Until then, the chief has full confidence in who he’s leaving behind.
“This city is in good hands,” Chief Keith Humphrey assured the crowd during a public safety briefing.
Since his hiring in April 2019, Chief Humphrey has been the first advocate for safe streets and safe neighborhoods in Little Rock, but now he’s ready to see his shield’s successor.
“It’s been an honor to serve Mayor Scott and the citizens of this city, but I’m also looking forward to retirement and some peace and quiet after decades and 34 years of public safety,” Humphrey said.
During his three years in uniform, Humphrey focused on the six pillars of 21st century policing which are building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, training and education, and officer safety and wellness. Humphrey said he made accomplishments in each category.
Mayor Frank Scott said, “I hired him to not only lead public safety but to increase community presence, to increase community policing, to ensure that we are accountable, clear, and transparent, and he has achieved all of that.”
However, homicides in the capital city have increased every year since Humphrey took office. In 2022 violent crime is up 5% from last year. Homicides are up 48% since last year. On top of this, the chief faces lawsuits filed against him from members of the command staff.
Assistant Chief Crystal Haskins will serve as interim chief while navigating what the CDC says is the nation’s greatest surge of gun violence in more than 25 years.
“We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Haskins said when asked about reducing crime. “We need the community to help us though. We cannot be everywhere.”
And for whoever becomes the next permanent chief, Humphrey gives this advice.
“They have to rely on their faith and experience. They have to listen to the community,” Humphrey stated.
Humphrey also added Little Rock is his home, and he plans to still be active in the community and mentor law enforcers after retirement.