LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The embattled head of the Little Rock Police Department is stepping down from his post.
Chief Keith Humphrey will retire from the department effective May 20. Prior to Little Rock he was the chief in Norman, Oklahoma for eight years. He started his career in law enforcement in Texas with the Fort Worth Police Department in 1988
Humphrey, who was the department’s 38th chief, has been at the center of a number of controversies since nearly the beginning of his tenure in Little Rock in 2019.
The chief has been sued by department officers as well as some in the command staff. A human resources investigator hired by the city described the situation in one of the cases as “a preventable crisis.”
Humphrey himself sued the LRPD and the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police claiming civil rights violations, though a federal judge dismissed that case.
More recently the chief was under the microscope when he fired his weapon when responding to a report of shooting, though he did not have an active body cam on and many had questions as to whether his training and weapons qualifications were up to date.
In a post to social media, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. thanked Humphrey “for his service to the City of Little Rock and dedication to law enforcement” while wishing him the best in retirement.
“Chief Humphrey brought meaningful reform to our police department and a renewed focus on community policing during his tenure as chief,” Scott said in a statement announcing the retirement. “He remained loyal to his officers and to this city in the midst of adversity and challenging times. I appreciate his service to Little Rock, and I wish him and his family the best as he transitions to a new chapter.”
Scott also announced a national search would be launched to find Humphrey’s replacement. In the interim, Assistant Chief Crystal Young-Haskins will lead the department.
The matter of who will be the next LRPD chief will likely become a major factor in the upcoming election for mayor. Scott currently faces multiple challengers for the seat this fall.