LMPD focusing $7M on crime prevention around downtown - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD focusing $7M on crime prevention around downtown

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville police chief Steve Conrad says if you want to keep the city safe, you have to pay for it.

"What we try to do,” said Conrad, “is determine areas where we have problems and we try to staff those areas efficiently to be in a position to prevent problems before they occur."

Tuesday night, Chief Conrad addressed Metro Council members telling them his department needs nearly $7 million dollars in new funding as part of the next city budget.

"We will look at our calls for service and our crime and we will try to put people into the right places at the right time, as they're seeing it," he said.

Mayor Greg Fischer's proposed budget includes $174 million dollars for LMPD, $10 million more than what was approved for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

That money includes pay raises and health care, but will hopefully also help prevent another episode of teen mob violence like what happened March 22nd. That incident will cost the city $600,000 dollars in overtime through July 1st.

One of the chief's main priorities he says is focusing on downtown. He’s asking for more money for officers, their overtime, and a real-time crime center. But he says if people don't feel safe, they won't come downtown.

"So the idea is to make downtown safer, to make people feel safer about coming downtown,” said Conrad, “and at the end of next fiscal year be done using overtime and to use that on officers on regular time."

The department is also working on a staffing study to figure out how best to deploy its 1,250 officers. Should it have more on each shift, change their schedules, or expand division boundaries?

"I'm interested in the best practices, what makes the most sense, and what is the best use of our personnel," said Conrad.

But even with the extra resources, he says officers can only do so much.

"You could give me 24,000 officers and we would still have crime in our community."

The chief says getting citizens involved is what really matters.

"Getting them to know one another, getting them to help us by making their homes or their cars harder to break into, protecting their property and contacting us when they see something suspicious,” said Conrad. “So all of these things together are really how we're trying to address crime here in Louisville."

Metro Council has already approved a franchise fee for LG&E gas bills that could bring in up to $3 million dollars, to cover some of the new costs.

The final budget vote is set for June 27th.

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