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Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock, discusses plans for 2023

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Little Rock, Arkansas – Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock, is excited about his plans for the upcoming year.

On Wednesday morning, he took a significant decision by appointing Heath Helton, the interim police chief, as the permanent Chief of the LRPD.

“I think leadership stabilizes the police force,” the mayor said.

Unfortunately, homicides in the nation’s capital have reached a record high in 2022. Little Rock is currently ranked 79 for 2022. The mayor expressed his severe frustration with this.

“Believe me, as someone who lives in an area that has most of the homicide, it’s personal to me,” Scott said.

Scott noted the Real Time Crime Center, which he recently established, as well as the “YourLRPD” app on mobile devices, and stated he is committed on both short-term and long-term goals to address this.

The mayor claimed he is striking a balance between that and an emphasis on mental health, as well as prevention and intervention.

“We’ve hired on mental health workers for the Little Rock Police Department,” he said.

Scott added that his main goal is to remove unlicensed firearms from the streets.

The mayor’s proposal to enhance police salaries in 2023 as part of the $315 million budget was another significant move this week. This was authorized by the board on Tuesday night.

“I believe that’s going to address some of the vacancies that we’ve had, as well as a $10,000 sign on bonus,” he said.

The mayor stated that he also anticipates improvements in FOIA requests in 2023.

“We made a decision to transition FOIA to the city attorney’s office,” he said. “We’ve seen better efficiencies and effectiveness there.”

Through an online checkbook that residents can access and use to analyze the city’s finances via an open-data site, the mayor hopes to increase public openness.

After a year of greater division than he would have preferred, Scott stated that he is also seeking to improve his connections with the board of directors.

“What happened in the past is in the past and it starts with me as a leader,” Scott said.

According to Scott, the community will continue to experience improvements, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and public works. He is focusing on reviving War Memorial Park, building a sports facility, and securing long-term support for the 63 parks we now have.

According to Scott, homeowners can anticipate improvements in the infrastructure as well.

“There are some needs in West Little Rock and Midtown that we have to solve as it relates to infrastructure,” he said. “We feel that a funding source to do that is sorely needed.”

 

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