LMPD announces major changes within department
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced several changes within the police department Friday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced several changes within the police department Friday.
The plan comes amid a spike in homicides and violent crime in Louisville. Police say homicides are up 55 percent in 2016 compared to the same time last year.
"I believe that this reorganization will allow us to more efficiently and effectively address problems in our community," Chief Conrad said.
The changes will include a new Community Services Division. Through a grant, the department will hire 10 news officers to help bridge the gap between the public and police.
"These officers are going to be tasked specifically with community outreach efforts that were intended to enhance trust and to build legitimacy throughout our community," Conrad said.
We're told the department will also add a full-time SWAT team and the narcotics unit will expand.
To find the staffing, Conrad says he's doing away with FLEX Units in each division. Those units are made up of detectives who focus on drugs and violent crime in specific neighborhoods. Just last week one of the city's FLEX units made this major bust.
"Those FLEX Teams work extremely hard protecting the divisions that they work in," Metro Councilman David James said.
Police say all drug complaints will now go through the centralized Narcotics Unit.
James is among those who have concerns about the city's new plan.
"I am hearing from LMPD commanders and police officers that this is not really a great idea," James said. "That it's going to cause more morale problems then we already have."
James says the department is just shuffling people around. He says to really make a difference, it's going to take more action from Metro Government.
"We need more police officers," he said. "We have to physically increase the strength of our police department if we're going to get this under control."
James says adding about 50 new officers would be a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Mayor Fischer says more public safety changes will be announced in the coming weeks.
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