Louisville's Police Chief calls for community help to stop violence
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's Police Chief says the community needs to come together to stop the violence in the city.
He took his message about public safety to a local rotary club.
There have already been 21 homicides this year. At this time last year there were seven homicides.
It's a topic of concern for many people across the community, who had questions for Chief Steve Conrad on Thursday.
“The people who live there and have to be there day in and day out are living in a very anxiety-provoking kind of circumstance and I don't think that's a good way to live your life,” said Susan Smith a rotary club member who questioned Chief Conrad about local graffiti.
Conrad spoke during a rotary club meeting, addressing the recent violence.
“You know 40 years ago when I was a young man, people would solve their problems with their fists. Today they all have guns,” said Chief Steve Conrad.
It has been three years since Conrad was sworn in as LMPD's police chief.
His vision was for Louisville to be the safest city in America.
"I still want that, but now with 3 years of experience, I have to admit, that was kind of a stretch goal," Chief Steve Conrad.
He says LMPD put together a task force called "Operation Trust" to tackle the violence, which he says is happening more often in the Russell and Shawnee neighborhoods.
This Sunday marks one year since a mob of young teens committed a rash of violence across downtown Louisville.
He says last Sunday, there could have been a similar situation as hundreds of young people gathered at the Waterfront, misbehaving.
Conrad says officers quickly stepped in.
"And they ended up in 15 minutes getting those kids to leave the park, stayed with those kids as they moved downtown," said Chief Conrad.
He says making Louisville a safer place has to be a team effort between community members and police.
He's encouraging people to get involved to help the youth and become mentors, volunteer your time, or donate to local organizations that help kids.
Conrad says we can help reduce the violence if we provide training for young parents with kids, have more support for early childhood education, prepare kids to be kindergarten ready, have more after-school programs and locations where kids will be safe, and create more job opportunities.
In the meantime, he's calling on those with information about recent homicides to come forward.
These families deserve justice. They deserve the opportunity to hold someone accountable and we need to help people in our community feel safe, and I don't know that they will feel safe until we have an opportunity to hold someone accountable,” said Chief Conrad.
Conrad did acknowledge that there are gangs in Louisville, and young people are getting involved.
He says the recent homicides however have not been tied to gangs.