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Tom ChristoffBenjamin CarletonTheron Bowman
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The ability of a police department to act in a fair and just manner is vitally important to creating internal and external trust, which in turn increases the perception of legitimacy by those who work for the department and those the department serves. Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have faced increased scrutiny from the public in the last several years, with the events of 2020 exacerbating already simmering community relationships. The City of Little Rock has experienced recent issues of internal and external legitimacy stemming from the officer-involved shooting of Bradley Blackshire, a Black man, who was killed by a Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) officer in February 2019. The incident, in which Mr. Blackshire was fired upon at least 15 times, led not only to backlash from the public, but also internal strife within the LRPD. Since the February 2019 incident, the City of Little Rock, LRPD, the Chief of Police, and other members of LRPD have been the subjects of various lawsuits.

In response to calls from members and leadership of the LRPD for an investigation, the City of Little Rock, through a competitive bid, selected CNA’s Center for Justice Research and Innovation to conduct an independent audit of the LRPD. This report details the findings and recommendations of this targeted audit of the LRPD. The audit team used a variety of sources, including policies, training records, administrative data, and focus groups and interviews with LPRD personnel to assess the department. Throughout this report we identify both strengths and weaknesses of LRPD’s operations with in the following areas:

  1. Personnel policies and procedures
  2. Training and professional standards
  3. Accountability system data
  4. Performance evaluations
  5. Promotional process
  6. De-escalation
  7. Cultural competency
  8. Harassment
  9. Nepotism
  10. Handling of private and confidential information
  11. Early Intervention System
  12. Body-worn cameras
  13. Vehicle pursuits
  14. Asset forfeiture
  15. Take-home vehicle

Overall, this assessment will help LRPD standardize processes and metrics related to these topic areas, ultimately improving officers’ and community members’ levels of trust in the department.

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  • Pages: 104
  • Document Number: IRM-2021-U-030670-Final
  • Publication Date: 11/15/2021