Taking Charge 

New deputy police chief can play tough

New deputy police chief can play tough

Deborah Faulkner spent a good part of May 1, her first day as Metro’s new deputy police chief, in meetings. But Faulkner, Metro’s highest-ranking female officer ever, is no bureaucrat.

In fact, in her brief stint as assistant police chief over patrol services, she quickly earned the respect of the rank-and-file and management alike for a take-charge attitude.

“Chief Faulkner is very professional and responsive,” Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips says of the 27-year police veteran. “And she’s always proactive.”

Case in point: Last January, Faulkner heard rumors around the cop shop that Capt. Luther Hunter tried to intimidate one of her patrol officers after he pulled Hunter over for running a red light. Hunter insinuated that the officer pulled him over because he was black, and then called the officer’s chain of command from his cell phone to complain about being stopped.

It would have been easy for Faulkner to look the other way. After all, Hunter is friends with her boss, Chief Emmett Turner, and has been known to play the race card when under scrutiny.

But Faulkner took it upon herself to launch an informal investigation of the incident. She talked to all the parties involved and decided that it warranted a more in-depth review by the department’s Office of Professional Accountability. The office investigated the traffic stop and found that Hunter used the power of his position to “clearly intimidate” the patrol officer. The patrol officer was cleared of any wrongdoing. And Faulkner, who took up for a lowly patrol officer while taking on a buddy of the chief, showed the kind of leadership skills a police chief should have.

At a press conference to announce her promotion, Turner deflected a question about whether Faulkner was being groomed to be the next police chief. One couldn’t blame Turner if he’s already looking over his shoulder.

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