SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Mayor Ollie Tyler announces Chief Administrative Assistant Ben Raymond will assume the position as Substitute Chief of the Shreveport Police Department, upon the medical leave of Chief Alan Crump.
Tyler first said Chief Crump would be retiring, as per a phone conversation she had with him on Friday. Monday, Tyler told KSLA News 12 she was still waiting for his official retirement letter.
Tyler says she received this e-mail from Crump Monday afternoon stating he’d be taking medical leave instead:
“Good afternoon Mayor Tyler, I am sending this email to inform you that effective today, my doctor has restricted me from returning to work, therefore placing me on medical leave. Instead of retiring on November 15, 2018, I will be on medical leave until further notice. Thanks.”
Tyler says she received the proper paperwork from his doctor Tuesday morning.
“I have that medical statement, but we can’t release that because of HIPAA laws,” says Tyler.
A reason for the sudden change hasn’t been given.
Many were left confused, including councilman Jerry Bowman, who questioned both the mayor and city attorney during Tuesday’s meeting.
“Which one is it? Is it the retirement or medical leave? There is a difference. There’s a big difference,” says Bowman.
“I just need to know and let the citizens know, how did we get there,” he continued.
With Crump out, Substitute Chief of Police Ben Raymond will have the full authority of Chief.
A substitute is named when there is an approved extended leave of absence. An interim is named when there is a vacancy, says city attorney William Bradford.
Chief Raymond has nearly 19 years of service with SPD, serving in roles that include Special Response Team Member, Narcotics Agent, Patrol Officer, and Academy Instructor.
Chief Raymond was promoted to sergeant in 2017 while he was assigned as an instructor at the Shreveport’s Regional Police Training Academy. In September of 2017, he was appointed to be the Chief Administrative Assistant where he was responsible for the creation, implementation, and management of the department’s more than $50 million operating budget.
"He's determined. He's a public servant. He cares about the people in this city. I have the confidence he's going to be able to come in and hit the ground running and do what needs to be done to protect us,” said Mayor Tyler.
Chief Raymond told council members he believes in pro-active policing and will do some re-evaluating within the department.
Proactive policing means we start looking at the crime data we collect on a daily basis and start looking at where do we think crime is going to occur,” says Chief Raymond.
“Things such as conducting reasonable suspicion stops on people we believe are committing or about to a crime. It’s trying to stop a crime before it's committed," he says.
“We are certainly going to take a new approach to look at those crimes that have been committed. We are going to look at our personnel. We are going to look at the specialized units that were formed years ago to counter some of these trends in crime we see," says Chief Raymond.
Most of all, he plans to be more visible both with citizens and his officers.
"I believe in leadership from the front. not so much a management philosophy but a leadership philosophy. If I'm out there doing this job, then I expect you to be out there doing the job next to me."
Chief Raymond will initially serve 30 days. The mayor will continue going back to the civil service board every month after that to ask to continue his appointment.
“I am confident that Chief Raymond has what it takes to lead this department with the support of Deputy Chief Bill Goodin and the brave men and women of the Shreveport Police Department,” said Mayor Tyler. “In his position as Chief Administrative Assistant, Chief Raymond has shown leadership, commitment, and dedication in serving the citizens of Shreveport.”
Mayor Tyler says she would have a conversation with Chief Crump when he returns from medical leave about his future with the department.
According to Councilman Bowman, Chief Crump is eligible to receive his full Chief’s pension in July.