LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– Little Rock’s third chat with the chief lasted for more than a hour and a half Friday night.
The question and answer sessions became passionate and at times emotional conversations among neighbors, the LRPD chief and city leaders.
About 60 people attended the Chief’s third chat. About a dozen of those were officer and city leaders.
Khristine Wadlington was the first to arrive at the meeting.
She said, “Because I’m concerned about what’s going on in our community.”
She sat front and center for the presentation about 2016 crime stats, trends, youth project and community initiatives.
Khristine said, “Every time someone else loses a child my heart breaks for them because I can imagine and know what they’re going through”
She told us her son William was shot and killed in 1998 after getting involved with the wrong crowd.
She said, “It’s scary but I pray a lot.”
People listened carefully Friday evening as Chief Kenton Buckner went slide to slide talking about 2016 crime stats for Southwest Little Rock.
Wadlington said, “I feel safe everywhere I go because the man upstairs is looking out for me. I really do mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
People in the crowd, including Little Rock’s mayor, watched and some took notes.
It took place in a big room inside Greater Second Baptist Church off Guyer Springs Road. There were still dozens of empty seats inside the room.
One man stood up and said crime is not happening because of officer vacancies but it is happening because of the vacancies in these seats and in the home.
A passionate conversation began when a mother stood up and asked the Chief if he said it is African American males creating the crime in the city.
Buckner said, “For the crimes in the city of Little Rock more often than not when we have a crime committed it’s an African American male. Now that’s painful to hear.”
After a minute of back and forth the mother walked out briskly with her son.
Chief Buckner said “We know what the problem is. We aren’t making this stuff up. This is real stuff.”
That exit did not stop the conversation. More people stood up many times not asking a question but just wanting their voices heard.
Between the 2nd and 3rd community meetings with LRPD’s chief there were 8 days. During that time there were 2 more murders in Little Rock.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 17, 2017, at West Central Sports Complex.