Little Rock Police Chief recommends job candidate who should have been disqualified, based on city policy

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Little Rock Police Department records show a job candidate has moved ahead for a high stakes position overseeing the department’s $80 million budget, even though that candidate should have been disqualified, according to city policy.

Sources in the department say Chief Keith Humphrey not only recommended the candidate for the job, he asked others on the hiring committee to do the same. 

The candidate is Karen Hunter. She was one of 11 people who applied for the Administrative Services Manager position, which at the high end brings in a yearly salary of around $80,000. 

Hunter submitted her application to the police department on April 1. Two days later around 6 a.m. Chief Keith Humphrey’s SUV was seen in the driveway of the Southwest Little Rock house that Hunter listed as her address on her application. 

Dash camera video from Little Rock Officer Kevin Sexson’s patrol car shows the SUV. Sexson was sent to a call on the same street. 

“I was the only officer assigned to that call,” Sexson said,  “I did see a black Tahoe that appeared to be the Chief’s Tahoe.”

Sexson’s dash camera finished recording for the call he was on, then this happened. 

“I saw the Chief, Chief Humphrey,” Sexson said. “He pulled up and spoke to me just cordially seeing how everything was going.”

Not only is Humphrey in charge of hiring sources in the department say he pushed Hunter’s name to the top of the list.

Humphrey declined to comment. 

Hunter spoke to us on the phone saying the Chief has been her friend for half a year and Was at her house that morning to drop off a stolen car report.

Over the phone, Hunter confirmed that she wasn’t honest on her application, and if you follow city policy, she should have been disqualified. 

On her application, when questioned if she has a valid driver’s license, Hunter said yes, court records show no. 

Our search shows it was suspended more than three years ago for failure to appear on a traffic offense out of Clark County, and only this week did she set settle that.

Hunter faced more trouble for that two years ago when she was caught in Little Rock driving with her suspended license. The fine on that went unpaid until days ago, when Hunter paid the balance of about  $400. 

On the work experience section of the application, Hunter claims she’s an Assistant Vice President at a college.

Hunter says her real title is what’s posted on the Philander Smith College website, where she currently works. The site says Hunter is an Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Then there’s what didn’t make her job application like a judgment against her. 

A credit card company is suing Hunter for racking up about $1,014.76 in charges and going more than two years without trying to pay it off.  

We took all of that information to the city’s Board of Directors and two weighed in. 

“I’m not sure where you vet that information, get that information to determine where someone’s lied on their application,” said Ken Richardson. 

“We need a change in leadership in the Little Rock Police Department,” said Lance Hines. 

Both men have different takes on the Chief’s role. 

“Ideally his resignation would be wonderful but I don’t know because it doesn’t look like, the Mayor’s not going to fire him from what the Mayor’s told me,” Hines said. 

“The chief has my support,” Richardson said. 

The two find middle ground saying the Police Department’s hiring policies need to be reviewed. 

At this point, the Police Department has not responded to our requests to find out what’s the current status of Hunter’s application.  

While the City Attorney’s office won’t confirm it, we have an e-mail from him to a source confirming his office is looking into these claims. 

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