One Year Ago: Raymond Named SPD Chief
Exactly one year ago today, the Shreveport Police Department officially gained their new Chief, Ben Raymond.
Raymond had been the substitute, or "interim", Police Chief prior to his confirmation, and had already dealt with multiple bouts of adversity in that capacity. In January of 2019, Shreveport Police Officer Chateri Payne was shot and killed prior to the start of her shift. The manhunt for those responsible was a major responsibility for someone still carrying the "interim" tag. Eventually Payne's estranged boyfriend, and accomplices, were arrested for Payne's murder.
Also prior to his confirmation by the Shreveport City Council, Raymond also dealt with video of an officer kicked a suspect in the head, and indictments against officers for a Mother's Day fight.
There was also turmoil over Raymond's placement on the list of finalists for the position. Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins put together an 8-person committee to create a short list of finalists for the appointment. However that short list did not include Raymond, even though he had the highest test score on the exam administered to all applicants. But while Perkins was out of town, City Councilman Jerry Bowman added Raymond's name to the finalists while acting as Mayor Pro Tem. Which opened the door for Perkins to nominate Raymond for confirmation, even without his committee making the recommendation.
But through all the adversity, Raymond was able to rise above, and was confirmed on September 24th, 2019 on a unanimous vote by the Shreveport City Council.
The 12 months since haven't been easy for Raymond either. He's had to deal with officers being arrested, enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, creating department reforms, the local response to the national push against police brutalities, staffing issues including massive amounts of officers on leave, reducing department responsibilities, and multiple deaths of individuals in police custody.