LMPD to triple the size of its Downtown Area Patrol - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD to triple the size of its Downtown Area Patrol

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police are shifting officers to add more people to its Downtown Area Patrol.

Louisville Metro Police is broken into eight different divisions, which cover various parts of the Louisville Metro area. The First Division covers the Portland, Russell, Phoenix Hill and Butchertown neighborhoods. 

It also covers downtown and Waterfront Park. Within First Division is the Downtown Area Patrol, a specialized unit currently comprised of six officers. Now, LMPD is planning to add officers to that division partly a result of continued economic growth in downtown Louisville.

“We've got more hotels, businesses and restaurants popping up,” said Major Andrea Brown, commander of First Division.

Major Brown says a plan is in place to increase the Downtown Area Patrol to around 20 officers. She says she expects to have 16 to 18 officers in the unit by September 1.

“No commander will ever tell you we have enough, because we will always want more,” Brown said.

Because the Downtown Area Patrol is a specialized and requires both ATV and bicycle training, only officers with three years of experience on the force are considered. Most officers will be transferred from within LMPD's First Division.

“Metro Council and Louisville Metro Police Department, they got together and one of the things we were allowed to do as a result of all the discussion was to hire an additional recruit class,” Brown said.

Most of that recruit class will be -- or already has been -- added to First Division to fill the future vacancies that will be left by those officers transferring into the Downtown Area Patrol.

“We're not going to move all eight to 10 officers at one time,” Brown said of the shift, “It'll happen gradually over a couple of months.”

In March of 2014, a string of vandalism and violence by a group of people drew attention to safety concerns around downtown and Waterfront Park. LMPD says while this played a role in increasing its number of officers in the Downtown Patrol Unit, the growth of downtown and events it hosts plays a bigger role.

A study released last week by a private consulting firm said LMPD is “adequately staffed” but should look at how officers are scheduled and where they are located. The study concluded that officers are “not well-aligned” and that staffing should be based on where the areas with the highest demand for calls are. However, the shift within First Division was being organized before the staffing study was released.

“We're just kind of in the early stages of taking a look at that,” Major Brown said of the staffing study. “We don't know how the shifts are going to look after that just yet.”

Currently, First Division is comprised of 115 officers. The shift will bump that number 127 sometime in June. Brown says selected officers will begin their shift to the Downtown Area Patrol in the next few weeks.

More: New report says LMPD needs better management of personnel resources

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