Metro Council questions LMPD chief on response to teen mob violence
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Metro Council members grilled LMPD Chief Steve Conrad on his response to the Saturday violence downtown.
Conrad said he has assigned extra officers to Waterfront Park, the Big Four Bridge and nearby areas downtown. Officers will be paid overtime to work the hours the park is most used.
Council president Jim King said a 24-hour presence of police is a must for the area right now, so perceptions of crime downtown don't become a reality.
"If you want the public to feel better about this, they need to see you putting more police on the streets, in cars, on horses, on bicycles, where they can be seen in the area where this occurred," King said.
"I don't know that posting an officer in the park on a cold, snowy night is the best use of a police officer. But as weather warms up on through the evening, earlier in the mornings when the park is getting more use, that absolutely makes more sense," Conrad responded.
Conrad said extra officers are on duty Wednesday night in case of any reaction to the grand jury's decision in the TARC stabbing case.
Conrad also said police are working with Jefferson County Public Schools to identify the teens shown on surveillance video from Saturday night.
Owners of Bader's Food Mart told council members they see incidents like Saturday's regularly and call-in most, if not all of them.
A mob situation occurs "several times a week," said owner Paula Bader. "Mostly on the weekends, it is on the weekends."
However, Conrad produced police statistics that show just eight reports of large crowds causing problems at Bader's in the last two years, though not every incident may have generated a written report.
Council member Jerry Miller asked about the city's online crime mapping system. Miller noted it has shown no crime for the Waterfront Park area since March 14. He said he had trouble finding mention of a highly-publicized assault near Louisville Slugger Field in 2011.
"I worry about a coverup," Miller said.
Conrad responded that a "technical issue" with the mapping provider has kept the data from displaying. He said the police department is trying to resolve the issue and acknowledged its "unfortunate timing."
Conrad said the extra officers' shifts are paid through the overtime budget, which has more than $1 million left for the fiscal year ending June 30. LMPD is not pulling officers from regular beats to provide the additional staffing downtown, Conrad said, in response to questions from south and southwest Louisville council members.
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