SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — There are growing fears that the seemingly messy or combative selection of a new Shreveport police chief could jeopardize public trust in City Hall’s decision-making process.
And some people think that could lead voters to reject the three bond proposals on the general election ballot Nov. 16.
Mayor Adrian Perkins’ handpicked advisory board has selected three finalists to be police chief. They are Assistant Police Chief Wayne Smith, Lt. Tedris Smith and Sgt. Dr. Michael Carter.
But days later, the conversation still centers around who is not on that list: Ben Raymond, who is serving as the provisional police chief.
Among those surprised by that is Bonita Crawford, president of the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association.
“I didn’t understand that. And if you look at Facebook and look at the people, they don’t understand it, as well.”
Crawford is far from alone.
“I truly was stunned. (pause) I was stunned,” said Liz Swaine, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
All three finalists are very good, but Raymond also is a very strong candidate, she added.
The friction in the hiring process might have some voters wondering whether they should trust city officials to be good stewards of the $186 million bond proposal package, if it’s approved.
“Anything, any decision that the mayor makes between now and the bond election could have an effect," Swaine explained. "Any decision that the City Council makes between now and the bond election could have an effect.
"So, to answer your question, anything could have an effect.”
The silver lining in all of this is citizen involvement, Swaine said.
When it comes to elections, she observed, one often hears about voter apathy and how they don’t really care either way.
But in this instance, Swaine said, the public is engaged in the process.
On Monday, City Councilmen James Flurry and Willie Bradford told KSLA News 12 that all three of the police chief finalists lack the four council votes needed to gain the job should they be appointed by the mayor.
A rejection of the mayor’s pick possibly would force him to go back to the drawing board and recommend one of the other four candidates who passed the civil service exam.
It’s a process that theoretically could continue for a while until the City Council is presented with a candidate strong enough to garner those four votes.