LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mayor Greg Fischer said he trusts LMPD Chief Steve Conrad after Conrad made a series of promotions and demotions on his command staff Thursday.

"I demand that Louisville Metro Government agencies, including the LMPD, continuously improve and make changes to address challenges," Fischer said in a statement. "I trust that Chief Conrad, like the leader of every department in my administration, uses their experience and data to adjust their leadership teams when needed and when opportunities arise to meet our city’s goals and challenges."

Conrad's move drew the ire of many Metro Council members and the River City FOP. 

"We truly have a leadership problem," said Robin Engel, caucus chair of the council's minority Republican members "The buck stops at the top, chief."

Conrad's changes largely affect the city's patrol divisions, whose commanders report directly to Conrad, and come as the city has grappled with record murder rates and a scandal involving a youth program. Some council members questioned the timing of the move as a political ploy.

The changes, outlined in a letter to the council, included a change in rank, to lieutenant, for a popular officer, Maj. Jimmy Harper. Other promotions include three lieutenants who will be elevated to the rank of major. Conrad's letter says they are Lieutenants Joshua Judah, who as major would command the 4th Division; Michael Bogan, who would oversee the 6th Division; and Kimberly Burbrink, who will command the 7th Division.

Several council members implored the chief to rescind Harper's demotion, citing his work at various times in their neighborhoods. 

Sources told WDRB News that Conrad gave officers the option of retiring or being demoted. It was not immediately clear which officers were given that choice. Council members said Harper chose the demotion rather than retire. Maj. Ryan Bates would replace him as commander of the 2nd Division.

Speaking directly to Conrad, council member Cheri Bryant-Hamilton said: "Why is Harper the scapegoat for your poor leadership?" To applause from her colleagues, she said Harper should "get your position, chief."

"I want to thank those who are retiring for their service, and I am excited about the caliber of the individuals being promoted," Fischer said. "I fully support the Chief and implore everyone in our community to work together to make every neighborhood in our city safe and healthy – this is what is truly important."

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