Councilman wants city's surplus money for more LMPD officers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Councilman wants city's surplus money for more LMPD officers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) – City leaders are looking at new ways to curb a recent spike in violence in Louisville.

Louisville Metro Councilman David James (D-Sixth District) is proposing spending $500,000 on overtime pay for Louisville Metro Police in order to put more officers on the street. This isn't the first time such a proposal has been considered.

“Back in 1997 we had a similar issue so the Board of Aldermen at the time allocated about half a million dollars to the police to combat that issue and it had a pretty good effect,” James said.

According to LMPD crime statistics, there were 62 homicides in 1997. After the $500,000 was spent on overtime, that number decreased to 51 in 1998 and 45 in1999. But James warns that the homicide rate is only one part of the problem.

“It's the action of the violence,” James said. “I don't want people to be stuck on the number of 81 for homicides, think about the violent acts. That's somebody's child, mother, father, brother, sister.”

On Tuesday, Mayor Greg Fischer announced that Louisville Metro Government finished fiscal year 2015 with a surplus of $18.9 million.

“This is a good government -- and an improving economy -- at work,” Fischer said. “Department directors held the line on their budgets, working to ensure that every one of those dollar was well-spent. It illustrates our ability to run a lean, efficient operation -- and it took a team effort.”

Of that $18.9 million surplus, $500,000 is designated to be used by the Metro Council budget committee.

“I would like to use $500,000 for police overtime,” James said. “Now, whether we use all $500,000 or the mayor puts some money from his funding to match with us, I don't know.”

Fischer is committing $3.6 million of the surplus to the city’s “rainy day” fund. James says this could be used to help fund the idea.

“My suggestion would be that we take a portion of that and put it towards police overtime,” Fischer said.

Ultimately, many city leaders say neighborhoods need to change for there to be a long-lasting change but James thinks this is an immediate step that needs to be taken.

“Those are long term goals,” he said. “Right now we need save lives.”

Metro Council meets Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall.

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