LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's no secret that violence in our city is escalating. The murder rate this year in Louisville has already surpassed 100.
Now, the police union is calling out LMPD's leadership.
In a letter dated Nov. 15, FOP President Dave Mutchler wrote to Mayor Greg Fischer, in part:
"Members lack confidence in the leadership of LMPD and these members continue to be disappointed over and over again."
"I don't think anything I read in that letter is news," councilman David James said. "We don't have enough police officers in our community to serve or protect our citizens."
Here's Mutchler's full letter to Chief Conrad:
The letter is just the latest chapter in a struggle that's been playing out for months. James is one of the 15 Metro Council members who publicly opposed Chief Conrad's reorganization plan announced in September.
Chief Conrad expanded the narcotics unit and created a full-time SWAT Team. But in a more controversial move, he also eliminated the department's FLEX units, which were focused on tackling violent crime and drugs in each division.
This is what the FOP President told WDRB News in September
"We should have enough manpower so that the chief can do these type of things without having to take something away from the citizens on another end and disband a unit that does phenomenal work," Mutchler said. "We simply need more officers."
"We no longer are able to adequately staff our patrol divisions, investigative units, special events and specialty teams."
"We have told the mayor, we have told the police chief, you tell us how many officers you need, and we're going to work to make sure that happens," James said.
But James says he's gotten no response from either.
Chief Conrad issued this statement in response to the letter:
"I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the letter from FOP President Dave Mutchler. I do share the FOP's frustration over the level of violent crime in our community, and I remain committed to work with officers and citizens to do what we can together to address it.
Much of the letter deals with staffing in the department. As of today, all but five budgeted police officers positions are filled. We are in the process of hiring more police recruits this fiscal year than ever before!
We were authorized to hire 122 recruits; we have already hired for about one-third of these positions, and we plan to hire the remaining for classes scheduled in February and June.
The Mayor has indicated there may be funding to hire an additional 28 recruits this fiscal year, which would allow us the opportunity to hire a total of 150 recruits.
In regards to concern about the staffing of special events, it is true that we use department resources to provide traffic control and security at many events each year, but we always start the planning of these events with the understanding that the patrol divisions must continue to be adequately staffed during the events.
Finally, I share President Mutchler's assessment of the men and women in our department; they are truly phenomenal!
I appreciate the work they do and the sacrifices they make to serve this city. That said, I plan to continue to do my job to the best of my abilities, which includes setting the strategic direction for this department, directing resources as needed to address violent crime, and holding people accountable to ensure they are doing all they can to serve this great community."
And on Monday night, Mayor Fischer also released a statement:
"The Chief has made changes to respond to the increases in crime -- getting the officers and resources to the areas that need them the most. Clearly, a different approach was warranted This reorganization has only been in effect for two weeks and needs to be given a chance to work. We will always monitor how our system work and we will continue to make adjustments to improve public protection."
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