LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -Little Rock's new police chief is in his second week on the job and agreed to a first round of media interviews today.While he's still too new in town to decide on any sweeping changes, his number one priority is set -- curbing violent crime.The number of murders so far in 2014 is similar to what Chief Kenton Buckner would see in Louisville. But Louisville's population is about four times that of Little Rock, making the problem much worse here.Earlier this week Benny Johnson with "Stop the Violence" called attention to the 29 murders in the capitol city this year."We're sick and tired of seeing black young men shot down in the street like animals or wild games," Johnson told KATV on Monday."We cannot ignore the elephant in the room," says Chief Buckner. "We have to have uncomfortable conversations. And in some instances that may mean speaking out or speaking up on something that we may not want to hear. But if it's the truth, it's the truth. I don't know enough about this city or that situation to say that what he is saying is the truth. I doubt it...that that is the case."When asked about what he has seen here that he likes, what changes he plans on making, what if any racial disparities has he seen on the force and whether or not the LRPD is top-heavy, Chief Buckner's responses were consistent."I have not seen enough of the community or the police department to make any broad brush statements about what we need to do," says Chief Buckner.In April a Louisville police officer formerly under Chief Buckner's command was awarded a $450,000.00 judgment after filing a whistle blower lawsuit. Narcotics officer Barron Morgan says a drug suspect...Richard Jerrell...confessed to killing a man and throwing his body off a bridge. The problem? A woman was already doing time in prison for the murder. Morgan told the media (The Innocence Project) about it and was later passed over for a promotion and reassigned to a graveyard patrol shift. "And I think that was part of the reason that a judgment was given to him because there was issues about someone at his level of productivity that he had and he didn't get one of the jobs," says Chief Buckner.Chief Buckner says he is committed to running a fair force, where performance will be rewarded and the most deserving officers will receive advancements and promotions. Air date: July 11th, 2014
KATV ABC 7 in Little Rock, Arkansas covers news, sports, weather and the local community in the city and the surrounding area, including Hot Springs, Conway, Pine Bluff, Jacksonville, Sherwood, Stuttgart, Benton, Bauxite, East End, Scott, Pinnacle, Maumelle, Gibson, Landmark and Hensley.