The City of Syracuse officially welcomed its new Chief of Police Monday.
Kenton Buckner was sworn in at the public safety building.
His key priorities are crime reduction, building community relationships and increasing diversity at every level of the police department.
“I prayed for this opportunity and I’m very thankful to the City of Syracuse for selecting me,” Chief Buckner said.
In front of a crowded room, an expression from the heart, because for him, this moment is an answered prayer.
“The reason I feel like I’ve always been successful is because I feel like I’m doing what God designed me to do,” Chief Buckner said.
And now the real work begins. Sitting in his new office, just steps away from the Justice Center, the Chief says his first order of business is reducing crime.
“When people don’t feel safe it blocks a lot of things, it blocks progress, innovation, creativity and we want people to feel comfortable visiting our city, doing business in our city and public safety has to be strong in order to do that,” Chief Buckner said.
He believes in a data driven approach, focusing on locations and individuals causing issues in the community. He wants to strengthen community involvement, building trust to engage the people of Syracuse.
“I know that there is much concern in the community about the lack of diversity in the police department and while we have to do it the right way, that will be a focus during my tenure that we are diverse at all levels of the police department including minorities and women,” Chief Buckner said.
He’s also calling for accountability.
“I want to make sure if we do misstep we hold individuals accountable, I don’t want them walking around on egg shells because we all make mistakes, but if we are doing things to intentionally harm our community or doing egregious behavior, then we are going to separate employment from those individuals,” Chief Buckner said.
He will spend the day meeting with staff and then meet with community leaders and groups throughout the week.
Buckner previously served as Chief of the Little Rock, Arkansas police department.
Former Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler served in the department for nearly three decades.