PINE BLUFF, Ark — It's the beginning of a new era in Pine Bluff as Lloyd Franklin Sr. officially takes on the role of police chief with the department after serving as interim chief since last July.
He said he has big plans for the department.
Franklin said police pay attention to the small details in every case and they're getting better at it.
"One of the goals we want to set by the end of this year, December 31st, we plan on having the Pine Bluff Police Department accredited by the Arkansas Chiefs Association," said Franklin.
Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington named Franklin as the new chief Monday.
She said she's watched him make connections across the state with multiple agencies, put more standards in place, plan community collaborations, and add morale to the department.
"Rather than go out and find someone who would not know the community, wouldn't know the city, the department, or anything about working with other agencies, I thought it would be a step backward rather than continue to move forward," said Washington.
There have been five homicides so far in the city this year.
The most recent occurred on West 3rd Avenue and South Grant Street. Pine Bluff police said they found a man shot dead near the local park and are asking the community for help in solving the case.
One victim of a homicide in the city this year was a 15-year-old.
Franklin said his take on the law will be "strict but fair," adding that it's time for the community to watch out for each other.
"We're going to do what we call community watch. It's similar to neighborhood watch, but that concept is gradually changing. We're more of a community and that wording will fit the entire city of Pine Bluff," said Franklin.
He also wants to get businesses involved by teaching them ways to watch out for criminal activity.
Franklin has plans to add more programming to combat violence among at-risk youth.
It's a collaboration with the community that he believes will be one of the best ways to combat crime.
"It's all about making the city safe, reducing violent crimes, and working more with the community," he said.