LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- City leaders say they're angry, shocked, and even disturbed by LMPD Chief Steve Conrad's move to reassign Maj. Jimmy Harper.

The popular officer will no longer lead LMPD's Second Division in west Louisville.

"Maj. Harper is just one in a million. This is such a great loss," said Mary Woolridge, Metro Council (D-3). "I've never seen a major in the Second Division do what Maj. Harper has done. This is really a big hit, and I'm just really appalled that this would happen."

Conrad would not explain why he decided to remove Harper from his command staff or if he had lost confidence in him.

"I'm not going to get into the particulars of the decision-making behind these decisions," Conrad said. "It's my job to try to select the best people and put them into the jobs where I believe they need to be to best serve the city."

The move comes with criticism from councilmembers. 

"Probably 100 officers today, they all talked about how this is gonna crush morale," said David James, Metro Council (D-6).

"Maj. Harper is a police officer's police officer. He knows police work inside and out," said James, a former officer. "(Harper) supports his officers and communities and has been an inspiration for them to do better."

Harper was loved by many neighbors in the Shawnee neighborhood. 

"I moved to Shawnee in 1973. I never saw a major that active in the community until he came into it," said Bonnie Cole with the Shawnee Neighborhood Association.

Cole said Harper was the only major to invite himself to their neighborhood meetings.

"When you find a police officer that people actually respect, you've found a jewel," she said. "We need to keep him in our neighborhood."

"This is a plea to reconsider this demotion of Jimmy Harper," Woolridge said. "He is absolutely the best."

Conrad said Harper can stay with LMPD, but only as a lieutenant. Conrad also said Harper was looking into whether retirement was an option.

FOP President Sgt. Dave Mutchler released the following statement:

"The River City Fraternal Order of Police finds it disturbing that a true leader of men and women of the LMPD has been fired from his command position. Removing Harper is creating chaos in an already unstable department in the middle of a manpower, homicide, and overdose crisis. It is an astonishing decision demonstrating how completely out of touch the chief is with our members and the community."

WDRB News reached out to Harper, but did not hear back. The changes take effect Friday.

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