Mayor, Public Safety Chief provide update on search for new permanent LMPD chief

August 3, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer and Amy Hess, the city’s Chief of Public Safety, today provided an update on the search for a new permanent Chief for the Louisville Metro Police Department – including news that the job description and position profile has been posted.

The Mayor noted that more than 10,000 people had provided input into the crafting of those documents by responding to an online survey and nearly two dozen listening sessions with various focus groups throughout the community.

These meetings, which were held both in person and virtually, included a variety of constituencies: Metro Council members and other elected officials, the business community, faith leaders, the international community, activist groups and LMPD employees. 

In both the survey and the listening sessions, participants were asked:

  • What are the three most important qualities or skills you would like to see in the next police chief;
  • What are suggestions for improving police services; and
  • What a new chief must accomplish immediately, and over the next 2-3 years.

“Overall, the results reflect the reality that we’re a city of almost 800,000 people and there’s a diversity of perspectives on policing and on leadership,” the Mayor said, adding that it is clear that the new permanent chief should be a good communicator, able to strengthen the level of trust between LMPD and the people they serve; accountable and transparent, recognizing that the Chief’s job is to serve and protect the people of Louisville; and able to connect with and inspire confidence in the men and women of LMPD and rally them around the work of public safety reform.

“Ultimately, we all want the same thing – a safer, more racially just and more equitable city, and a city that shows the rest of America how to move from tragedy to transformation,” the Mayor said.

See the position announcement 

The Mayor and Chief Hess were joined today by LMPD officer Roberto Grider and Sydney Tucker, a member of the Mayor’s Youth Implementation Team, who had participated in the listening sessions.

Mayor Fischer relieved former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad of his duties on June 1, and named Robert Schroeder as LMPD’s interim chief, pending the hiring of a permanent chief.

On June 3, the Mayor announced that the city had hired the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a non-profit Washington, D.C.-based police research organization to lead the search.

Hess noted that PERF has identified best practices for cities across the country on fundamental issues such as reducing police use of force; developing community policing and problem-oriented policing; using technology to deliver police services to the community; and evaluating crime reduction strategies.

“We’re fortunate to partner with PERF,” Hess said. “With their in-depth knowledge of policing issues and vast experience in police executive searches, the PERF team is fully engaged and committed to providing a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates from which we will select our new chief.”

PERF reviewed and analyzed all the information residents provided to help pinpoint the qualities and characteristics needed for the city’s next police chief and will use that information as they conduct a national search and create a list of qualified candidates.

Next steps include convening a small group of community and Louisville Metro representatives to review the list, narrow it, conduct interviews, and send the Mayor their final recommendations. The entire process is expected to take four to six months.

Top to bottom review

Also during today’s news conference, Chief Hess provided an update on the top-to-bottom review of LMPD, which the Mayor called for in June, in the wake of the Breonna Taylor tragedy.

On July 2, the Mayor announced that the Chicago-based consulting firm Hillard Heintze, a Jensen Hughes company, would perform the comprehensive, top-to-bottom review, saying, “It is clear we need to reimagine what policing looks like, and that includes taking deep, hard looks to see what’s working well, and what we can be doing better.”

Hillard Heintze was selected in partnership with Metro Council President David James.

Hess said today that an initial meeting will be held this week to introduce the Hillard Heintze team to members of Metro Council and the LMPD Command Staff. At that time, they will provide an overview of the project, discuss their timeline, identify their objectives, and describe how they will elicit and incorporate community input. During onsite visits, Hillard Heintze plans to conduct interviews, observe training, and participate in ride-alongs with officers. In addition, they will be requesting numerous documents and files for review. The project is expected to take approximately four months.