LRPD Chief Finalist Seeks To Become First Woman To Lead Department

Mar 7, 2019

Little Rock Assistant Police Chief Alice Fulk greets the audience at Little Rock's Philander Smith College at the final forum with finalists for Chief of Police.
Credit Daniel Breen / KUAR News

The fourth finalist for the job leading the Little Rock Police Department is urging Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. to choose her as the city's first female Chief of Police. 

Little Rock Assistant Police Chief Alice Fulk concluded her presentation with a nod to her status as the only woman out of four finalists to lead her department. 

"Mr. Mayor, more than anything I just want to remind you this is March, it's Women's History Month. It's time to make some history," Fulk said. 

Fulk spoke to a full audience Wednesday at Philander Smith College, and outlined her goals for the department she's worked for since 1992.

Fulk's presentation reflected common themes in the series of forums with police chief finalists, with an emphasis on community policing a particular sticking point. Fulk proposed a plan to mandate patrol officers to connect with the community.

"Each officer will be assigned one block per week, and that block, they have to make contact with every resident on that block," Fulk said. "And if they don't, we've got a block-by-block card and it basically gives a description about what we're doing, what our initiative is, and how we want to get out and reach you, the citizens."

But some voiced concerns about possible over-policing of predominantly black neighborhoods. Fulk said that wasn't the case in the wake of a triple homicide in November, while she was serving as interim police chief.

"I... instituted four additional cars per day to do nothing but violent crime prevention, with the strict instructions that, since we're going back into the same communities where these had happened, that we will not re-victimize the community," Fulk said.

Fulk also expressed support for expanding existing community outreach programs within the department, like the OK and GEMS programs targeted at young people. When asked, Fulk endorsed forming a community review board to investigate police misconduct, but said the board should be made up of neutral parties. 

And a series of Philander Smith students asked about Bradley Blackshire, the 30-year-old who was killed by LRPD Officer Charles Starks last month while fleeing a traffic stop. Philander student Peter Joseph asked why body-worn cameras weren't on the list of new technology Fulk hopes to implement as chief.

"In a case such as this, where a body camera would have been so revealing to show the problems the community is sometimes facing, I would ask you why again are we not necessarily doing the patrol cameras?" Joseph said. 

Fulk said she supports body cameras, but said the cost of the cameras is prohibitive considering the department’s current budget. At the close of Wednesday's forum, Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. announced a police dashboard camera video of Blackshire's shooting would be released to the public the following day. 

Fulk also stressed the need for diversity in hiring, but when asked about Scott's plan to hire an additional 100 LRPD officers, Fulk said she'd like to see a study commissioned to determine how many officers should be added, if any.

In closing, Fulk stressed her 26 years with the department as the foundation for her bid for chief.

"We need somebody that has been here that understands the problems here. We need somebody that knows the nuances of this community. We need to know what works, what doesn't work."

Mayor Scott told the audience there's no timetable to choose the next chief of the Little Rock Police Department, but that he'll likely make a decision within the next few weeks.