Did anybody else read Joseph Flaherty’s page-one article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today about Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey and think of Humphrey Bogart as Capt. Queeg, the paranoid captain in “The Caine Mutiny”?
The LRPD is a mess. Humphrey, Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s pick to lead the department, has made some welcome changes and deserves sympathy for the pushback he’s gotten from the Fraternal Order of Police, accustomed to calling shots in the city. There’s also the baked-in nepotism of a force whose general sympathies don’t appear to lie with the city of Little Rock, given that the majority, particularly among white officers, choose to live elsewhere.
But still ….
Humphrey made Freedom of Information Act requests for recordings, notes and transcripts of weekly meetings of top subordinates. He included “impromptu” staff meetings. He also wanted records of meetings between captains and civilians. He issued orders for how weekly command meetings should be conducted in the future. He even asked for materials related to meetings HE had attended.
Flaherty detailed the welter of dueling lawsuits involving Humphrey and other top officers and the push for the mayor and city board to act on top brass’ declaration of a dysfunctional force Humphrey has limited support on the City Board, it appears, but he has the mayor’s strong backing and for now there’s no indication the board intends to challenge the mayor’s control of the chief’s position.
Fans of “The Caine Mutiny” will remember that all those who came after Queeg weren’t spotless. In the end, Queeg did recognize that some of his behavior reflected poorly on him.