BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Leaders in the black community maintain that for years the relationship between their communities and the police department was strained. But under the direction of former Chief Dewayne White, they started to see a change.
"The attitude that the chief had. The equality that he tried to bring to the job, that you could see the difference in the police as they came in to the black community," shared Bishop Conway Knighton.
Bishop Knighton and a group of 21 other church leaders recently gave White an award for community service just months ago. They said they were impressed with the way White had worked to build relationships between the police department and those in the community, so when news came of his termination, they were shocked.
"Disappointed, disappointed. I thought he was doing a good job," Knighton admitted.
Knighton, a Holden supporter, said he's upset the two leaders couldn't bury the hatchet.
"I just regret that whatever difficulty it was between him and the chief, they couldn't work it out because the chief was doing a fine job," Knighton lamented.
Now he’s worried that the strides made under White’s leadership will soon be lost.
"I started to see under Chief White the changes in the neighborhood. So I really don't know what's going to happen now that he's now longer there. So we just have to wait and see," Knigton shared.
White’s attorney, Jill Craft, shared at a press conference that many in the community had held prayer vigils for the former police chief.