LMPD CHIEF CONRAD: 'I'm not going anywhere' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD CHIEF CONRAD: 'I'm not going anywhere'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In a hastily called press conference late Thursday afternoon, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad responded to a bipartisan group of Louisville Metro Council members who called for his dismissal – and told the public flatly that he has no plans to leave.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Chief Conrad said. “I’m not stepping down. I work for Mayor Fischer.”

“I work for the mayor, and I am not concerned about anything beyond making sure that I meet the needs of the mayor,” a defiant Conrad said.

The press conference came at the end of a day of controversy for the embattled police chief. Earlier on Thursday, Conrad announced a series of promotions and demotions on his command staff. The move drew fierce blowback from numerous Metro Council members, which culminated in a 1:30 p.m. news conference at which roughly half of the council members – some speaking with visible emotion –called for Conrad’s dismissal.

Some of those council members targeted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer for criticism as well, naming him as the man responsible for Conrad’s appointment.

On Thursday evening, Conrad responded to that criticism, much of which focused on his announcement of staff changes.

Conrad denied that his announcement constituted a “reorganization” of the police department.

“I’m using this as an opportunity to get the right people in the right types of places in this organization in the right time,” Conrad said.

Conrad argued that his announcement signified little more than the regular comings-and-goings of a police department in a city Louisville’s size.

“People retire,” Conrad said. “People get promoted. People get new job assignments.”

But, he promised that there would be more announcements in the future.

“You should know more changes are coming,” Conrad said.

While Conrad said everyone’s situation is different, and no “one factor” is driving “people’s decision to retire,” the police chief blamed Kentucky’s ailing pension as the reason many were deciding to retire.

But reporters were quick to question Conrad, zeroing in on the status of Major Jimmy Harper, who is currently on Conrad’s command staff.

At first, Conrad said that Harper still holds the rank of Major, but added that Harper was planning to examine the possibility of retirement – and that Harper was supposed to let him know his decision. When pressed by reporters, Chief Conrad admitted that, if Harper opted to stay with the Louisville Metro Police Department, he would no longer be on the command staff, which would mean his demotion from Major to Lieutenant.

Conrad was asked whether this in fact constituted a “forced retirement.”

“Let me make this very, very clear,” Conrad said. “I can’t force anybody to do anything...the people that I have on my staff are there at will. They are at-will employees.”

“If they wanted to stay on, they are welcome to stay on,” Conrad said. “And I said that: You are welcome to stay on as a lieutenant.”

When Conrad was questioned about whether or not Harper wanted to stay on as a Major, Conrad was defiant.

“He doesn’t decide who the majors are. I do,” Conrad said.

“Who I pick to be a member of my staff is my decision,” Conrad added. “Whether they would stay on my staff is my decision.”

Conrad also had defiant words for the Louisville Metro Council members who questioned the changes he made to his command staff, adding that he is “not looking to them for help in making decisions” about his staff.

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