April 20, 2024

Department veteran and Deputy Chief Denise Richardson named permanent chief

By The Arkansas Delta Informer Staff – July 15, 2022 – Almost a year after he came out of retirement to serve as interim chief of the Pine Bluff Police Department (PBPD), Lloyd Franklin is stepping down from the post.

Franklin was installed in the position in July 2021 after the Pine Bluff city council ended its pursuit of Robert Jones, a former police chief in Kingsland, Ga. Jones was the lone finalist in a nationwide search to fill the top officer position for Pine Bluffd a year ago. However, he requested a salary of $115,000, which was $25,000 more than the position paid.

Franklin’s last day on the job is July 20. Deputy Chief Denise Richardson will be appointed to the position of permanent chief on the same date. According to city officials, Franklin declined the certification process and returned to retirement after extensive reflection and further review of state standards required to serve as permanent chief.

“To put it simply,” said Mayor Shirley Washington, “Chief Franklin has made the PBPD a stronger unit that has become more accountable in the delivery of public safety services. This is evidenced in part by the improved solvability rate for multiple categories of crime under his leadership.

“On behalf of all residents, I thank him for his willingness to serve and for safekeeping of the residents of Pine Bluff,” added Washington.

“I love this city, and I have loved this job,” said Franklin, a longtime Arkansas State Police officer. “This city gave me an opportunity. It has been my goal every single day to pay back that debt of gratitude by keeping the streets safe. I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish since my appointment as chief.”

Richardson, one of three PBPD deputy chiefs, is a distinguished officer with 28 years of experience in law enforcement and has served in the PBPD, city officials said.

Richardson’s former ranks include the positions of sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. She has led multiple police divisions, worked as a detective, and acted as a liaison to other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies during her distinguished tenure.

In highlighting Franklin’s helm at PBPD, city officials list the following achievements, including:

  • Securing funding for overtime to implement the “Blue Rain” initiative to address violent crimes through special operations, targeted patrols, data driven resource placement and deterrence measures.
  • Launch of PBPD’s Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT) with a focus on the interruption of the movements and actions of violent offenders.
  • Increased training efforts by over 25% for officers.
  • Investigative technological investments for crime solving and equipment upgrades.
  • Improved accountability and enhancement of fleet management.
  • Enhanced implementation of FLOCK Safety, a camera surveillance system, to capture objective evidence in order to help deter crime.
  • Launch of “Cold-Case Unit” with a driven focus on the review and successful closure of cold cases.

According to city officials, Richardson plans to implement a 90-day plan during the first months of her tenure. Under this plan, the department will work to achieve the following measure, including:

  • Assessing internal operations to identify areas in need of improvement.
  • Adopting and enacting standards by the Arkansas Chiefs of Police Association to achieve the

Tier II (ALEAP) Arkansas Law Enforcement Accreditation Program certification. This will enable g the department to earn its accreditation for the first time in its history, which will improve operational performance.

  • Restructuring patrols to increase the presence of officers in the community.
  • Remodeling social media outreach to increase transparency and public engagement
  • Re-implementing the “Text-a-Tip Program” to provide more open lines of communications
  • with law enforcement and the general public.
  • Forming a dignitary/ambassador team to develop and maintain relationships with
  • stakeholders and local businesses that will support public safety.
  • Developing a peer support program to enhance officer wellness.

Richardson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a degree in criminal justice. In August, she will graduate from the FBI LEEDA Trilogy Executive Leadership Institute. She is also a graduate of Session XXIII of the CJI School of Law Enforcement Supervision, a Dean’s Scholar Graduate of the University of Louisville in Kentucky’s Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course, and a 2019 graduate of CJI’s Arkansas Leader Session XXVIII.

The incoming deputy police chief has also received numerous commendations and awards during her career, which include the 2020 Supervisor of the Year Award for the PBPD and the Above and Beyond Detective Kevin Collins Award, of which she is the first-ever recipient.

Richardson said she looks forward to working with fellow officers, the mayor, the city council, the community, and dedicated partners to enhance Pine Bluff’s safety. Her official swearing-in ceremony will be held on July 20 at 12:15 p.m. at the Sixth Division Court Room at 301 East Second Ave. It will be officiated by the Honorable Sixth Division Circuit Court Judge Earnest Brown Jr.


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