Mayor reminds public of steps being taken toward LMPD reform, reimagining public safety
Mayor Greg Fischer is reminding residents of the next steps toward police reform and reimagining public safety, including a Metro Council virtual public hearing today, where dozens of residents will be sharing their views on the city’s short-term contract with the FOP.
“We remain committed to listening to the people and making reforms to address the challenge of police legitimacy and trust,” the Mayor said, “including steps to diversify LMPD to better represent the community it serves and to foster a culture that promotes transparency and accountability.”
Many of those steps are already in place. LMPD has modified its Standard Operating Procedures for search warrants and seizures and resumed random drug testing. It has also changed its PSU process regarding cases when a police officer separates from LMPD before an investigation is complete. In addition, the proposed housing credit program to incentivize officers to live within specific neighborhoods is part of the short-term contract being reviewed by Council now.
The Mayor noted that the short-term contract pending before Council would provide a salary increase and change in benefits that “we believe is necessary to have the most talented force possible – helping to recruit and compete for quality applicants, including more minority applicants, and retain good officers actively being courted by other agencies.”
He stressed though, that this contract will run only to June 30, 2021, and the city and FOP have committed to begin negotiating a new agreement, reflective of our community’s demand for additional reform, and in anticipation of related state law changes in the spring.
The city and FOP have already set dates to get back to the negotiating table in mid-January 2021, the Mayor said, adding, “I expect the views shared at Monday’s public hearing will help inform that process, along with the community input we’re already getting as part of the top-to-bottom review of the Louisville Metro Police Department and hiring of a new chief.”
LMPD Chief Yvette Gentry said she believes those efforts will soon result in reforms, but there is an immediate need to attract and retain a diverse pool of LMPD candidates who are smart, caring people with high integrity. “And every law enforcement agency in the country is looking for the same things,” she said. “So, we need a benefits package that allows us to successfully compete for talented and skilled professionals who care about people."
Under the short-term contract under consideration, the starting salary for an officer in the new contract is $45,489.60 — an increase from the current $35,484.80 2013 starting salary. That is still less than first-year officers in some neighboring jurisdictions.
Ryan Nichols, president of the River City Fraternal Order of Police, said the FOP is committed to “immediately begin negotiating a longer-term CBA with Metro Government” and have it in place upon the expiration of the short-term contract currently under discussion. Nichols said the FOP “is interested in effective, balanced and fair improvements in policing. We always want to build community trust. We will work with anyone interested in solving the complex policy issues that come with policing.”
Though the opportunity to speak at the public hearing has expired, anyone can view the session live on Metro TV, Spectrum Cable Channel 184 or on UVERSE at Channel 99. Proceedings may also be streamed live from the Metro Council Clerk’s Archived Media page at http://louisville.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2.
The public comment session will be live streamed on the Louisville Metro Council’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/LouisvilleMetroCouncil.