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LR city director says interactions between police, community need to improve

Ken Richardson, Little Rock city director for ward 2, holds a meeting to address interactions between police and citizens. (Photo: KATV)

A Little Rock city director says some residents are being mistreated by police because of where they live.

Ken Richardson, city director for ward 2, held a special meeting Monday night to have what he calls an issue in public safety.

"I'm not saying that the targeting is part of the problem,” said Richardson. “I think the interaction is part of the problem.

Richardson tells Channel 7, he finds it ironic that police blame the lack of solving homicides on lack of communication and cooperation from the community.

"In one sense, one day, you're treating somebody in their own community like they're a trespasser, and the next day you want them to be your best friend, so that kind of cognitive dissodense doesn't work," said Richardson.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen showed up at the meeting, saying you can't police a neighborhood out of violence.

"You don’t police neighborhoods out of violence,” said Griffen. “People relate their way out of violence. And if you don't have good relations, you can flood the people with policing, [and] all you'll have is people controlled they're waiting to act out their rage."

Hayward Finks, an assistant police chief for the Little Rock Police Department, says neighbors call them to come to particular areas.

While Finks says they try not to harass, officers still want to be visible by doing two things.

"We stress constructive contacts,” said Finks. “We stress warning tickets. We wanted to be heavy on warnings."

Neighbors suggested working together to better reach a compromise.

"I think it's really a lot of the time, we're putting too much accountability on them and [not] putting more on us," said Cameron Slater.

"What we have to do is, get our community and you all to meet each other in the middle as opposed to each other throwing demands everywhere," said Keyon Neely.

According to police, since they've increased patrols, calls for shots fired have gone down.

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