City Board to take up residency requirement for police tonight | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

City Board to take up residency requirement for police tonight

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 2:37 PM

click to enlarge City Director Kathy Webb is "leaning toward" voting yes on an ordinance requiring residency for new police officers.
  • City Director Kathy Webb is "leaning toward" voting yes on an ordinance requiring residency for new police officers.
The City Board is set to vote tonight on an ordinance to require future police officers to reside in Little Rock. The ordinance was drafted at the request of Ward 1 Director Erma Hendrix. Directors Ken Richardson and Doris Wright, the board's other African American members, support the ordinance. Director Kathy Webb said today she is "leaning" toward supporting it, "but I am still not 100 percent decided."

Hendrix and others believe that white officers from, for example, Cabot are not racially sensitive to Little Rock's black community, and while that is probably not completely true, it probably is true that officers from Little Rock have more connection to the residents of Little Rock and a deeper interest in good relations.

Little Rock's population is 43.5 percent black. Its sworn officer force is 67 percent white. Of the 527 sworn officers, 350 live outside Little Rock, or 66 percent; 177 live in Little Rock.

Those who argued against the before the board's last meeting, including Police Chief Kenton Buckner and City Director B.J. Wyrick, said the residency requirement would make the pool of good applicants too small. Unfortunately, Buckner also said people don't want to live in Little Rock because of the school system. As someone who has not lived in Little Rock very long, he appears to have been swayed by those who like to paint the Little Rock School District with a broadly critical and unfair brush.

If there are city leaders don't think Little Rock is a good place to live, they should do something about it or step aside and let someone who cares take take their place.

More race and residency figures supplied by the city:

It's not just the police force that is dominated by non-residents: Of all 1,896 city employees, only 803, or 42 percent, live in Little Rock. There are 1,137 white employees (60 percent) and 711 black employees (38 percent), which almost reflects population demographics.

Of the 803 employees who live in Little Rock, 468 are black (66 percent of all black employees), 310 are white (27 percent of all white employees) and 25 are Hispanic, Asian or "other."

There are 654 employees — uniformed and non-uniformed — of the LRPD, 419 white (64 percent), 220 black (34 percent) and 15 "other" (2 percent). Of the white employees, 94, or only 22 percent, live in Little Rock. Of the black employees, 132, or 60 percent, live in Little Rock.

LRPD employees from outside Little Rock hail from 42 cities and towns. The city with the highest number is North Little Rock, with 32 white, 27 black, 1 Hispanic and 2 "other." Some other cities with a high number of Little Rock police employees (uniformed and non-uniformed): 

Benton: 54 employees (47 white and 9 black)
Bryant: 40 (31 white and 8 black)
Maumelle: 32 (29 white, 2 black and 1 Asian)
Sherwood: 31 (21 white 8 black, 1 Asian, 1 Hispanic)
Alexander: 30 (22 white, 7 black and one "Indian")
Cabot: 30 (28 white and 2 Hispanic)
Conway: 17 (13 white and 4 black)
Jacksonville: 16 (9 white and 7 black)

Little Rock Fire Department demographics are not in sync with the city's: Of its 415 employees, 94 are black (23 percent) and 313 white (75 percent).

Also, as a percentage, more of the Little Rock Fire Department's white employees live outside the city: Only 48 white employees (15 percent) reside here, 265 reside elsewhere (85 percent). Black employees are more evenly split: 53 (56 percent) live in Little Rock, 41 live elsewhere (44 percent).

The police residency ordinance to be considered tonight is not the first of its kind: A similar ordinance failed in 2012, and an ordinance that required residency two decades ago was repealed after one year. A vote along racial lines would indicate Little Rock's leaders need a come to Jesus meeting about their differences and the state of race relations in the city.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Third Friday in Argenta: Artwalking to see Southern landscapes and more

    Works by some of Arkansas's most distinguished artists, including the late Al Allen and Carroll Cloar, along with famed regionalist Thomas Hart Benton make up part of the offerings in "Southern Landscapes," a new exhibition at Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.) opening with the monthly Third Friday Argenta ArtWalk tonight.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • 'Sign of the Times': Political posters at CHARTS

    Hendrix College's Dr. Jay Barth will give a talk and sax player Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Mark Binns will provide the music at tonight's opening of "The Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster" in the Windgate Gallery at UA Pulaski Tech's CHARTS (The Center for Humanities and Arts). The event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • GiGi's opens with soul food and 'old school R and B vibe'

    GiGi’s Soul Cafe and Lounge at 10840 Maumelle Blvd., where the Nashville Rockin Grill was located, opened July 28 and co-owner Darrell Wyrick the restaurant is “bringing back the spirit of some of the places that have gone, like Porter’s and The Afterthought” with its soul food and “old school R and B vibe.”
    • Aug 16, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation