LMPD wants to add officers, cameras by next year
Members of the Louisville Metro Council budget committee questioned police chief Steve Conrad over budget requests Monday afternoon.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Members of the Louisville Metro Council budget committee questioned police chief Steve Conrad over budget requests Monday afternoon.
Conrad spent about two hours answering the committee members’ questions as Metro Council mulls Mayor Greg Fischer’s 2016-2017 budget proposal.
“We have seen way, way, way too much violent crime in our community,” Conrad told the committee Monday afternoon.
Last month, Fischer proposed a $822 million city budget which includes $178.2 million for Louisville Metro Police. That’s a four percent increase from the previous fiscal year.
With the additional money, Conrad says he wants to add more cameras that are a part of the real-time crime center.
“I think it provides an opportunity to provide real time information about things that are occurring in our community,” Conrad said.
While questioned by Councilman Rick Blackwell (D-12), Conrad said the cameras are not a crime deterrent.
"There are 45 locations that we would like to put a camera at," Conrad said. "These are places where we've had shootings in the past."
The police chief cited a recent homicide at Riverview Park and subsequent arrest of a suspect as evidence as to why additional cameras are needed and why they are effective crime fighting tools.
“You've got a situation there where you've got pretty much the entire incident on video,” Conrad said of the Riverview Park homicide. “There are other situations where that is the case.”
The current budget proposal also allows Conrad to hire 122 new recruits for the force, which would be the most hired by LMPD in it’s history. With expected retirees and other officers leaving the department throughout the year that means 22 more officers could be on the street next year.
LMPD also plans to spend $50 thousand on an “unmanned aerial system”, also known as a drone, to help with big events.
“I still have concerns about privacy,” Conrad said of the plan. “Where I think it does have applications is during major special events when we need help with traffic control and crowd control.”
Metro Council will mull the budget proposal over the next several weeks. The next fiscal year begins on July 1st.
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