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Who should replace Robert White as Metro Louisville Police Chief? Some are pushing for an internal choice. Some want Mayor Fischer to appoint a woman, which would be another first, as was the case when former Mayor Abramson appointed White, who was Louisville's first African American police chief.
But whoever is tapped will inherit a department in which a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done.
So my hope is that the new chief will put as high a priority as Chief White did on assuring residents in all parts of town that their voices would be heard.
During a nine-year tenure Chief White reached out to communities that, rightly or wrongly, historically felt more put upon than protected by the police. I cannot say many crimes didn't happen or how many lives, including police officers' lives, may have been saved thanks to Chief White's personal diplomacy. But without fear of contradiction, I will say that Chief White's words and deeds diffused some lingering tensions, often along racial lines.
Meanwhile, I don't envision a day when all within the rank-and-file will cheer every decision made by their chief. But it is time to permanently retire the either/or mentality, which says that a chief of police cannot simultaneously be sensitive to the public and to the needs and concerns of the men and women directly under his or her command.