FOP expected to raise concerns Tuesday over recent LMPD reorgani - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FOP expected to raise concerns Tuesday over recent LMPD reorganization

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LMPD Chief Steve Conrad LMPD Chief Steve Conrad

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Fraternal Order of Police is not happy about recent changes announced to restructure LMPD.

And a meeting Tuesday night between the two groups is expected to draw a big crowd.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad announced Friday he's creating a full-time SWAT team and expanding the narcotics division. But that comes at the cost of dismantling the LMPD flex units.

That's more than 50 detectives and sergeants assigned to each division to focus on drugs and violent crime in specific neighborhoods.

"Change is tough," Chief Conrad said Friday. "But if we don't change what were doing, we're not going to improve."

Louisville is facing a staggering rise in overdoses, drug crimes, gangs and violence, on track to reach 100 murders for the first in more than 40 years.  

The city's last standoff ended blocks away from Paul Coates' cycle shop.

"Times are hard enough as it is without having to fear for your life every time you drive down the road and fear you are going to be shot," Coates said.

While he agrees on the need for a safety overhaul, he still wonders about this approach. 

"The flex squad does have its capabilities, so it's a gray area," Coates said.

Critics argue that moving officers does not solve the problem. The union says it was not notified in advance or asked for member input.

The underlying tension is a potential that the shift could put one-time detectives back on the beat. 

"Changing where someone works, where they are assigned, the hours that they are working, the type of uniform they wear, going from plain clothes back to a uniform ... it's tough on everyone," Chief Conrad said Friday.

In his lettter, FOP President Dave Muchler says he's talked to officers, detectives, commander, and the chair of the city's public Safety Committee. The FOP is perhaps readying for fight.  

Here's the full letter from the FOP, released Monday night: 

“Lodge 614 was not notified in advance or asked for member input regarding the recent reorganization at the LMPD. I was notified via a phone call the day before the announcement was made.  We believe that our department needs a full time SWAT component and can definitely benefit from an enhanced narcotics division.  However, we believe that dismantling the flex platoons in each of the eight patrol divisions should NOT be considered and will take an important option away from division commanders to combat crime and narcotics trafficking in their respective divisions.  These Flex platoons are currently staffed with 50+ detectives and sergeants who work very hard to address the thousands of drug complaints and quality of life issues submitted by citizens each year. My members are very surprised, concerned and upset with this decision.  I have reached out to officers, detectives, commanding officers, the chairperson of the Metro Council Public Safety Committee and other Council members and have yet to find anyone who was consulted about the decision to dismantle these units or the effect it will have on my members or the citizens of Metro Louisville.” 

The union meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the GOP lodge off of Price Lane. Look for updates tonight on WDRB News at 10 and 11.

Related Stories:

LMPD announces major changes within department

Louisville police union says it's 'concerned and upset' with LMPD reorganization

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