LMPD targets high-crime areas for overtime patrols
The city plans to spend $2.1 million in “violence reduction strategies" – the largest part of Mayor Greg Fischer’s spending plan for a $6.2 million surplus from the fiscal year that ended in June
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro Police will spend $1.2 million in overtime costs to fund extra patrols in seven high-crime areas, Chief Steve Conrad said Thursday.
Conrad said stepped-up foot, bicycle and vehicle patrols will take place in the Park Hill, Smoketown, Shelby Park, California, Russell and Shawnee neighborhoods, and the Beecher Terrace public housing complex. He cautioned, however, that those areas could change over the next year.
He told the Metro Council’s majority Democratic caucus on Thursday that the overtime initiative will be successful if it leads to a drop in violent crime.
“Particularly, we are looking for reductions in homicides and shootings during the enhanced patrol hours,” he said.
In an interview, Conrad said the goal is an overall reduction in violent and property crime, with a sharper focus on drugs and weapons seized. Jefferson County has had a record number of homicides in 2016.
Besides the extra overtime, Conrad also disclosed more details about how the city will spend $2.1 million in “violence reduction strategies" – the largest part of Mayor Greg Fischer’s spending plan for a $6.2 million surplus from the fiscal year that ended in June.
He said LMPD plans to hire three more crime analysts and shift veteran ones to work with the homicide unit, narcotics division and the 9th Mobile Division that focuses on crime hot spots. The department currently has 20 such analysts.
“The idea is to do a better job of taking the information that they’re gathering as they’re involved in their investigations and making sure that that is being factored into all of the crime analysis that we’re doing through the department,” Conrad said. “I want to make sure that we’re sharing information and doing a good job in deploying our resources and reducing violent crime.”
Police also plan to hire a forensic firearms examiner, who will help analyze gun data entered into a federal database; purchase hardware and software to glean information from cell phones seized from crime scenes after obtaining a warrant; and form a task force between LMPD and federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The task force will specialize in gang activity, firearms and violence crime.
The Metro Council must approve Fischer’s plan, which also calls for hiring 28 new police officers and an undetermined number of violence “interrupters” through the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. Those contractors could include former gang members and people with criminal records.
Councilman David James, D-6th District, said the Fischer administration should determine the qualifications for those positions.
“I don’t expect the people that are doing the ‘interrupting’ to be angels,” said James, a former LMPD officer. “There is something called street credibility, street cred. People that have experienced and gone through hard times -- whether that is from substance abuse, criminal activity, those types of things -- have an experience that I can’t speak to.”
Councilwoman Jessica Green, D-1st District, also gave her support to the program -- as long as the right "interrupters" are brought in.
Speaking to her fellow Democrats, Green said: “Pretty much all of us around this table -- we’re not going to be able to speak to the people in the same way … as somebody who’s actually from the streets.”
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