LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Transparency is why Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced Tuesday that he’s calling for a review into the police department, but as of Wednesday, he hasn’t said how that review will work.
In the past month, three lawsuits have been filed against Police Chief Keith Humphrey by several officers. The allegations in those lawsuits include retaliation and abuse of power.
Last week, city records revealed Humphrey pushed ahead a job candidate who lied on her application.
Scott released a video statement discussing the review after Tuesday’s Board of Director’s meeting. Many on the board say they were unaware the announcement was coming.
“I’m calling for an independent, 3rd party comprehensive review of the Little Rock Police Department practices and procedures,” Scott said in the video.
In the video, Scott points at problems he sees in the police department.
“The scope of this review will cover the following, personnel, and procedures, handling of private and confidential information and harassment and misconduct,” Scott said.
Scott went on to say, “understand that this review is not about one individual or one organization. It is an attempt to provide insight about any potential concerns with action, behaviors, or decisions made. “
It’s those words that have the city’s Board of Directors divided, with some saying the review needs to be about the Chief, not the department.
“What I’m hearing from the rank and file is all about the police chief’s actions and his processes,” said Vice-Mayor B.J. Wyrick “If that’s the situation then he’s the one that needs to be reviewed.”
“I think that the whole department needs to be reviewed,” said Ken Richardson. “I think that there’s a pattern of practice we need to look at.”
Other Board of Directors is concerned this review could be used to retaliate against officers, especially those who confirmed the Chief pushed ahead a job applicant who should have been disqualified based on city policy.
“The Mayor is acting like the big question is who leaked this? That’s not the big question. The big question is it true,” Joan Adcock said.
Scott said he’ll announce who’s overseeing the review. Board members agree the review should be impartial and the Mayor shouldn’t make this decision alone.
“I don’t think, I hope he’s not talking about doing it on his own,” Richardson said. “I don’t think that’s the best way to get at it.”
“I think that one person should not do something so important to the city when it might cost us so much,” Adcock said.
“The city has not been transparent to me,” Wyrick said. “I suggested that the Attorney General look into it, that would be an unbiased type of review.”
At this point the board hasn’t been asked for input and is left waiting to see what the Mayor will do next.
Both the Mayor and Chief declined to comment.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police, FOP, asked the Mayor to start a review three weeks ago. In a statement released Wednesday, the FOP said it welcomed the Mayor’s review. However, the FOP said it wants the review to focus on the Chief and be impartial.