Does Louisville need more police officers? - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Does Louisville need more police officers?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Does Louisville need more police officers to protect the city? Taxpayers will soon pay to find out.

It was shift change at the base of the Big Four Bridge, where a pair of LMPD officers now sit for surveillance, 24 hours a day, when WDRB ran into runner Todd Thurman.

Thurman says seeing more officers in the aftermath of the teen gang violence here and downtown last month makes his morning run just feel more secure.

"Down here, I could tape a $100 bill to my back and run around butt naked and nothing will happen to me," Thurman said.

Louisville Metro Council is examining whether more officers are needed for residents throughout the entire city.

Councilman David James says the city has formed a workgroup to hire an expert to study how many officers LMPD needs to keep the city safe.  

"Is the city appropriately staffed as it is?" James asked. "No. If we were, we wouldn't be paying overtime to have officers to patrol downtown."

Taxpayers will fund the bill, though the price tag is not yet known.

"I think it will look at crime statistics, calls for service areas of need, and I also think there should be a community component involved with that, in which different members of the community come and talk with the expert," James said.

The city's authorized strength number of police, set with merger 10 years ago, is 1,281. But earlier this month, the police union exposed how LMPD consistently operates with about 100 fewer officers, suggesting the manpower was simply not there to appropriately beef up security in problematic areas of the city.

"For years, we've been trying to address it and say, 'Hey, we need to get to that authorized strength and see if it's right for the city," said Dave Mutchler, of the River City Fraternal Order of Police. "We have not been at that number, ever in my tenure."

Though some taxpayers balk at the idea of funding more police as a knee-jerk response to violence downtown. 

For Thurman it comes down to one thing.

"There's no price on safety," Thurman said.

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