Plans for Advancing Racial Equity for Black Louisville
In light of the tragic death of Breonna Taylor and recognizing the imperative need to address the impacts of racism and dismantle systemic racism, Mayor Greg Fischer issued an executive order declaring racism as a public health crisis to acknowledge and address the societal, physical and mental health impacts on Black residents and all Louisvillians.
In addition, the Mayor is pursuing a robust state legislative agenda that includes changes to promote transparency and accountability in police-involved disciplinary matters, equity initiatives, bail reform and voting rights. In addition, many of these steps will take budget approval from the Metro Council.
This plan, which includes several strategies that can be accomplished in Mayor Fischer’s remaining two years in office but many that will require additional time to complete, will be monitored and include community input in internal and external programmatic and policy work. Mayor Fischer’s strategy includes the following seven areas of work:
GOAL: Reimagine public safety
In response to the Breonna Taylor case and calls for racial justice and equity, the Fischer Administration worked with community stakeholders to take the following actions:
STRONG, INDEPENDENT CIVILIAN POLICE REVIEW: Signed into law and establishing the new independent Civilian Review and Accountability Board and Office of Inspector General to give an additional layer of review to LMPD disciplinary matters, with a commitment to push for a state law change to give them subpoena power.
NO-KNOCK WARRANTS BANNED: Mayor suspended no-knock warrants, then signed Breonna’s Law to formally ban their use
BODY CAMERAS REQUIRED: Mayor signed Breonna’s Law, requiring body camera usage in execution of all search warrants
TEAR GAS POLICY CHANGED: LMPD policy changed to require Chief or designee to sign off on use of tear gas
DUTY TO INTERVENE POLICY CHANGED: LMPD policy changed regarding an officer’s duty to intervene in the event he or she sees a fellow officer using excessive force
HOUSING CREDIT PROGRAM: Metro has established a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live within a Qualified Census Tract as their primary residence. The initiative provides officers with a pathway to home ownership and improves community connections.
RETAIN SOCIAL WORKERS: Metro commits to involving the assistance of social workers, mental health professionals, and other non-law enforcement personnel on dispatched runs warranting their expertise. Metro is researching best practices in other cities to create an effective program.
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERING: Balanced with appropriate staffing and COVID precautions, Metro will encourage LMPD officers to volunteer 2 hours a pay period during their regular work shift, at an organization in the community they serve.
SEARCH WARRANT REFORMS: LMPD has amended its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 8.1 on search warrants to require a commanding officer to review and approve all search warrants[ASH1] and risk matrixes before an officer seeks judicial approval for a search warrant. SOP 8.1 has also been updated concerning the simultaneous execution of search warrants at multiple locations. The commanding officer of the unit initiating the warrants will act as the overall Incident Commander with a separate on-scene Commanding Officer at each warrant location[ASH2] . In addition, SOP 8.1 has been updated to require the presence of EMS units and/or paramedics for forced entry search warrants
CURRENCY SEIZURE REFORMS: LMPD has modified SOP 11.3 with additional protocols for money seized as evidence. The additional policy expressly states that officers must have their body cameras activated for the entire seizure process, which includes counting, placing and sealing the currency into the currency evidence bag before its transport to the property room
IAPRO: Metro will implement the early intervention system of IAPro that tracks all use of force incidents, citizen complaints, internal investigations, and other key factors. Metro is committed to identifying any police officer in need of additional assistance or training. As part of its top-to-bottom review, Hillard Heintze evaluated the LMPD’s early intervention system and recommended improvements. Metro also plans for the early intervention system to be monitored through the Office of Inspector General once this office is established
DRUG TESTING: All officers are subject to random testing. In its 2021 negotiations with the FOP, Metro is pursuing an expansion to ensure all officers are randomly tested at least once a year
PERSONNEL FILES: In its 2021 negotiations, Metro is pursuing to expand on the records it may maintain in police officers’ personnel files
PSU INVESTIGATIONS: Metro has updated its PSU investigative process in cases when a police officer separates from LMPD before the completion of his or her investigation. The police officer’s personnel file now includes a closing letter that states the Chief’s findings based on the evidence that exists in the file at the time of the separation from LMPD, if sufficient evidence exists to make such a determination, or a statement that insufficient evidence exists to make a finding. If the nature of the complaint is significant enough to have reasonably resulted in the suspension of a police officer, the PSU will continue gathering evidence to evaluate if additional officers or problems exist that require the PSU investigation to continue
OFFICER PAY: Mayor Fischer pursued, and Metro Council approved, an increase in officer pay to make LMPD more competitive with surrounding jurisdictions. Metro is also advocating for new laws, policies and state funding streams to promote mental wellness among officers, including making it a crime to attempt to blind an officer with a “laser light device” and criminalizing the practice of “doxing” a public official.
GOAL: Support children and families through Evolve502 by providing every child with wrap-around personal supports and a college scholarship to Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) or Simmons College, with an emphasis on Black and low-income Louisvillians.
- Partner with and support Evolve502 so every child has wrap-around personal support. Work with Evolve502 to partner with local and grassroots organizations to address the education divide amongst minorities with an emphasis on Black and low-income Louisvillians.
- Promote Evolve502 Promise Scholarship so there is no financial barrier to a post-secondary degree or credential, and promote Simmons College of Kentucky through Evolve502 with tuition assistance and scholarships.
- Expand Louisville Metro Government’s access to the United Community Platform to enhance navigation of services so that it is a seamless network that connects residents to services.
- Support NTI Hubs with PPE needs.
- Metro Government is providing $735,000 to help Evolve502 address PPE and student learning needs at NTI Hubs.
- Establish a community-supported plan so every home has broadband and Wi-Fi access.
GOAL: Increase Black Employment in the jobs of Louisville’s future by investing in tech training, the Future of Work (FWI) initiative and SummerWorks. Address the Black pay gap and lack of Black talent in professional/ managerial/ technical jobs and ensure Metro Government employment reflects the city’s demographics.
- Establish goals, strategies and tactics to increase Black professional/managerial/ technical jobs from 6% to be reflective of community’s 22%.
- Double the projected growth of professional/managerial/technical jobs between 2020 – 2025, including increasing the number of these positions held by Black Louisvillians to work toward population parity.
- Continue public and private support for SummerWorks to provide training and jobs for youth between the ages of 16 and 21.
- Develop recruitment strategies to ensure all Metro Government departments and overall Metro leadership are reflective of the community’s 22% of Black Louisvillians.
- Expand the Future of Work Initiative (FWI) to create the foundation for a sustainable data economy ecosystem by increasing data credentials, encouraging companies to create and maintain dedicated data positions, and developing Louisville as a hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- Increase tech training opportunities.
GOAL: Build Black Wealth by increasing and supporting Black-owned businesses through financing, technical assistance, and business networking; increasing Black home ownership through down payment assistance, financing, and other supports; promote an increase in the minimum wage, and advocate for Congressional action on reparations.
- Assist small Black-owned businesses with access to capital and support pathways to entrepreneurship through training, assistance and access to opportunities.
- Support Small Business Resource Partners, Community Development Corporations, and other Community-Based Organizations supporting small businesses through technical assistance, capital access, and business development.
- Allocate $27.6 million for small business recovery support.
- Examine Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) and LGBTQ+ certification requirements to remove barriers to entry and implement alternatives to increase procurement.
- Increase assistance to start-up and small businesses and build Black wealth creation through a community task force addressing increased MWDBE participation in $5 billion of capital construction expected during 2021-2025.
- Advocate for state and federal legislation to transition the current minimum wage to a living wage.
- Support federal legislation HR-40 to establish a commission to study and develop a reparations proposal for African Americans.
GOAL: Invest in affordable housing throughout all areas of Louisville Metro and restore disinvested neighborhoods through eviction prevention, homeownership programs, and anti-displacement initiatives to support current homeowners.
Louisville Metro will maintain its commitment to affirmatively furthering fair housing by continuing to identify and eliminate barriers to housing choice, and by taking meaningful actions to overcome patterns of exclusion and fostering inclusive communities.
- Invest $21.2 Million to combat evictions and homelessness.
- Under the pilot program “My Louisville HOME”, designed to improve homeownership rates in west Louisville, LMG will rehab vacant properties acquired by the Landbank and sell directly to homebuyers who will occupy the homes.
- Invest in current homeowners and improvements to infrastructure/amenities in historically disinvested neighborhoods without displacement.
- Begin communitywide review process of the Land Development Code to identify and address land use regulations and policies that have inequitable impacts on Louisville residents; implement applicable reforms.
- Double funding for the Affordable Housing Trust to address 30% AMI, from the current $10 million to $20 million.
- Develop and implement a rental equity program for projects funded with federal, state or local funds.
- Increase down payment assistance and increase funding to partners conducting homeownership counseling that support increased home ownership rates.
GOAL: Address the health impacts of racism and the significant inequities that have once again been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Metro will examine the need for increased trauma resilient care through understanding, anticipating, and responding to the impact that racial trauma can have, and will stress the importance of equitable access to mental health treatments in response to these historical traumas.
- Continue to work to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and address racial health disparities. This includes working with a variety of community partners to provide more virus testing in the Black community; provide education resources and testing sites that are more accessible to members of our Latinx community; and work to ensure vaccine distribution is targeted to our high-risk, most vulnerable populations, as well as areas with the highest incident rate.
- Complete a Request for Proposal to operate a community grocery to provide greater access to nutritious foods. Evaluate community grocery feasibility to include construction and internal operations.
- Complete Trauma Resilient Care training for the community and organizations.
- Launch marketing campaign targeted at Black Louisville to reduce stigma of mental health treatment.
- Develop robust behavioral health response teams to provide non-enforcement response options.
- Increase advocacy and education around Environment Health in heavily industrialized areas including areas where there are high rates of commercial and or high-density traffic.
GOAL: Work to eliminate barriers to voting and enhance voter participation activities, including advocating for the restoration of voting rights and supporting early voting efforts.
- Advocate for a change in state law for restoration of voting rights to those who have paid their debt to society.
- Support efforts to allow mail-in ballot options for every election, early voting expansion, and other initiatives to ensure everyone has an opportunity to vote.
- Increase Get Out the Vote efforts by working with grassroots agencies on dismantling systemic voter suppression issues.