It has been a fast 10 months for Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond, since taking over the day-to-day operations of the department from Chief Alan Crump when Crump went on medical leave. It’s been capped by a whirlwind 11 days.
On September 13th, news began to circulate that an advisory committee of eight individuals, hand-picked by Mayor Adrian Perkins, had identified three candidates they felt should become Shreveport’s next police chief.
None of those three were Raymond.
“I never lost faith in the process,” said Chief Raymond. “I was surprised. Because I’ve always felt like I was the most qualified person to lead the department.”
Shreveport’s mayor, Adrian Perkins, agreed with Raymond, going against the committee he established in selecting him.
Raymond emphasized his goal since day one on the job was to make it difficult for the mayor to not select him, saying “that Mayor Perkins would have no choice but to keep me and recognize that I was the right person for this job.”
At Tuesday’s city council meeting some citizens voiced displeasure with the process. Chief Raymond says he was undeterred.
“I didn’t let it bother me to be honest with you,” said Raymond. “I’ve had people try to kill me in this job. So someone talking bad about me in front of council, it’s not going to bother me.”
One day earlier Mayor Perkins said the reason Raymond was selected was due to a significant reduction in crime.
“I couldn’t get beyond the numbers and the fact that crime is going down,” said Perkins.
According to FBI data shared by the Shreveport Police Department, crime is way down, possibly to historic lows.
“So we are on pace to have the lowest Part 1 crime rate since 1975,” said Raymond.
Part 1 crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, auto theft, assault and battery.
Raymond says community policing and the supplemental patrol program he implemented are why.
Once a month the program has officers in investigations, support, and administration riding on patrol.
“So I’ve got a 15-year homicide detective riding with a one-year patrol officer,” said Chief Raymond. “Imagine the education that is being passed as they’re riding around in that patrol car.”
He says it lends to more visibility and quicker response times, but more officers are needed.
Filling positions in the department remains a constant issue. NBC 6 News reports over five dozen jobs are available.
“I can’t lose an officer on a Monday and replace the officer in a week,” said Raymond. “Quite literally, if I lose an officer on a Monday, it’s 8-months before I’m able to replace that officer.”
Also an issue, distrust between the African American community and the police department. He knows that too will take time.
“I think that’s rooted historically, not just in Shreveport, that’s a national problem,” said Raymond. “But I want people to know that I’m a police chief that represents the entire city of Shreveport. It’s not based on skin color and I’m going to prove myself to do the right thing.”
Raymond still has to fill the position of Deputy Chief, who serves as second in command within the department.
He says he will choose from a pool of 14 Shreveport Police officers who have passed a test for the position.