Louisville mayor wants special events to use volunteers and priv - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville mayor wants special events to use volunteers and private firms to provide security

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced changes Tuesday that his office says are meant to "reduce the role of Louisville Metro Police in providing traffic details and security for special events."

According to a news release, the mayor's new guidelines would encourage organizers of special events to increase volunteer participation during their events for positions that would not require a sworn police officer. Organizers would also be encouraged to utilize private security firms where appropriate and use pre-designated routes that will need a limited or reduced number of sworn law enforcement.

Mitchell Burmeister, a spokesperson with Louisville Metro Emergency Services, said the LMPD special events team will work with event organizers on a case-by-case basis to see what works best.

"To understand what the security needs are for their event," Burmeister said. "And if a LMPD officer or sworn officer isn't required, then the event could use private security companies."

According to LMES, the city handled around 400 special events last year, and LMPD officers staffed 120 of those.

"The sheer number of events throughout the city each week is a sign of vibrancy and community," Mayor Fischer said. "But we must balance that with the need for LMPD to spend fewer hours covering special events.

"This new process allows our public safety teams to better coordinate with community groups to provide a better experience for participants and other citizens, while freeing up police officers to focus on other pressing needs."

Louisville Metro Emergency Services will now handle the special events permitting process. It used to be under Louisville Metro Codes and Regulations. Deputy Director Kelly Jones will oversee special events permitting. Jones recently retired from LMPD, and his most recent role included leading police details for special events.

"We want those officers to be able to be assigned to their divisions," Jones said. "Riding the neighborhoods, riding their beats ... and just trying to limit their involvement if it isn't necessary."

Events like the annual Ironman Triathlon are already coordinating with LMPD to see what needs to change and how to continue providing security on the routes.

"Groups need to understand that they need to have a financial contribution to what it costs the city of Louisville," Jones said. "And they should be expected to cover those costs. We do make some exceptions for non-profit organizations. But they have to be able to do that. I think that's being fiscally responsible, and it's a good thing for Metro government. Additionally, if LMPD and the organizers can agree that there are locations where volunteers and or civilians can be used, then I think the organization can probably save some money. And the officers remain in issues that are more pressing at the time."

The announcement was made Tuesday, but the changes went into effect as of Jan. 1.

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