Pine Bluff Police Chief Ivan Whitfield will officially retire from the department at the end of February.
Whitfield sent a letter to Mayor Shirley Washington dated Thursday, which said, “I feel that I have done all that has been assigned for me to do as a law enforcement personnel. Therefore, I am announcing my retirement from the Pine Bluff Police Department effective Feb. 28, 2018.”
Late last year, Whitfield announced that he would be a candidate for Pine Bluff Alderman in Ward Three and challenge incumbent Alderman Bill Brumett, who is seeking another term. Former Third Ward Alderman Glen Brown Sr., who lost his seat to Donald Hatchett in 2016, has also announced his candidacy.
A 34-year veteran of the department, Whitfield began his career in the Patrol Division and has served in various divisions throughout the years, including vice and narcotics, detectives and the Service Division. He was promoted to the rank of assistant chief in 2011 and was named interim chief on Feb. 1, 2017, replacing then-Chief Jeff Hubanks, who retired at the end of January last year.
In his letter, Whitfield said, “As I look back over my life and attempt to put pen to paper and words on pages, I am overwhelmed with over 34 years of emotions. I am happy! I am sad! I am thankful! I am appreciative! In the midst of all this, I remain humble.”
“I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to be a servant for the citizens of Pine Bluff and the State of Arkansas,” Whitfield said. “I thank you for you belief and trust in me to lead the greatest Police Department in the State of Arkansas.”
Washington appointed Whitfield chief effective May 1, saying in a press release at that time that “Chief Whitfield provided exemplary leadership to the men and women of the Pine Bluff Police Department. His understanding and willingness to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies and his service to the citizens of Pine Bluff why I believe that Chief Whitfield is the right person for this position.”
One month after Whitfield was sworn-in as interim chief, he named then-Deputy Chief Kelvin Sergeant as the assistant chief. Sergeant had been in charge of the Investigations Division, which includes detectives and the Vice-Narcotics Unit. When Whitfield announced Sergeant's promotion, he said that as interim chief, he would have the opportunity to make several appointments but described that of Sergeant as “the most important I will ever make.”
“It will set the foundation for the department for years to come,” Whitfield said.