SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Shreveport City Council voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to confirm Mayor Adrian Perkins’ nominee Ben Raymond as Chief of Police.
The vote followed a contentious public comment period in which opponents of Raymond’s confirmation expressed dissatisfaction with the mayor’s nomination and concerns about Raymond’s record as a police officer and his leadership in his time as interim chief, particularly the perceptions surrounding Raymond’s treatment of people of color in the community.
Confirmation required a simple majority vote.
The clock was ticking on the deadline for the council to confirm Perkins’ pick for permanent police chief, but at least one city counselor wanted to hear from the nominee himself before taking it to a vote.
By law, a replacement for retired Police Chief Alan Crump must be in place by September 29. Perkins announced early Monday afternoon that he had chosen interim chief Ben Raymond for the job. Less than an hour later, Perkins went before the council during their weekly work session and asked them to suspend the rules in order to allow a confirmation vote to happen this week.
While Perkins’ nomination appeared Tuesday to have the majority support among council members necessary to approve Raymond’s confirmation, approving a suspension of the rules requires a unanimous vote and District A Representative Willie Bradford said he wasn’t ready to do that just yet in Monday’s meeting.
“The reason I am uncomfortable moving forward at this time, there are some very…concerns that I need to speak with the nominee on. I don’t wanna do it, I would not like to do it in this public setting. I would like to somehow meet with him in the next day or so to address some issues that I feel strongly about.”
Mayor Perkins agreed to help set up a meeting for Bradford with Raymond, which Bradford has since confirmed did take place before Tuesday’s regular meeting of the council. If Bradford is satisfied with that meeting, the council could move ahead with a vote on suspending the rules and make way for a confirmation vote.
Under state civil service law, failure to meet the September 29 deadline could have resulted in fines and penalties against the city and a court order to get a permanent police chief in place.