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Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner chosen to lead Syracuse police

Chief Kenton Buckner, who heads the Little Rock, Arkansas police department, has been named as the next Syracuse Chief of Police (Courtesy: City of Little Rock).

City leaders have chosen an out-of-state police chief to lead the Syracuse Police Department.

At a news conference Friday, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said he believed Chief Kenton Buckner, of Little Rock, Arkansas, to be the best person for the job.

"Chief Buckner will be new to Syracuse, but he meets all the criteria," Mayor Walsh said. "He commands accountability from his officers and himself. He has a strong commitment."

Buckner beat out Chief Kamran Afzal, of Boulder, Colorado and Syracuse First Dep. Chief Joseph Cecile.

"I have the utmost respect for Chief Cecile," said Mayor Walsh. "My goal is to find the very best person for the job. That was Chief Buckner."

Buckner has been the chief in Little Rock since 2014. Before that, he served for the Louisville Metro Police Department. Buckner asked for patience as he assesses the Syracuse department and focuses their efforts.

"All of our energy and efforts is to be data driven," Buckner said. "Everyone has to be focused on those individuals that are committing crimes. Sharing information, focusing on the small group of people that are causing the significant amount of harm in the community today."

In Little Rock, Buckner was reprimanded by the city for losing his gun while moving. He reported it stolen, and police later found the gun during a traffic stop. When asked about it Friday, Buckner said he owns up to the mistake.

"I was reprimanded which I should have been. Everyone in our organization should be held accountable. Under my tenure, everyone will be accountable, everyone has to follow the rules."

READ MORE: Chief Buckner's history and controversies in Little Rock


Dep. Chief Cecile did not attend the news conference. When CNYCentral asked why, current Chief Frank Fowler said, "he's working."

Chief Fowler was a vocal supporter of Cecile, who has worked for the Syracuse Police Department for decades, but Fowler has said he will help the new chief transition into the job.

"I appreciate Mr. Cecile. I see him as an asset," said Buckner. "He has the skill set. Obviously, he will be disappointed. I understand there will be time he needs to get over that he didn't get the job."

You can read the letter Buckner sent to the Little Rock, Arkansas community below. (If you are viewing this on our mobile app, click here)

When asked about Buckner's salary city officials said, "Base salary is $115,000. With command and holiday pay, his projected annual compensation is $149,000, the same structure and slightly less than Chief Fowler in the most recent year." His salary in Little Rock for 2018 was $146,981, according to CNYCentral sister station KATV.

There will be a "Meet the Chief" event Saturday, Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. at the City Hall Commons Atrium.

Buckner's start date with the city hasn't been set, but his last day in Little Rock will be Nov. 16.

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