Metro Corrections director said despite 'no confidence' vote, he wasn't hired to win popularity contest
The director of Louisville Metro Corrections is responding to Tuesday’s Fraternal Order of Police "no confidence" vote.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Eighty-seven percent of Fraternal Order of Police members voted Tuesday night that they have no confidence in Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton, but the FOP president hopes the result will encourage positive dialogue to address some of the members’ concerns
Dotson said this is the culmination of months, if not years, of feeling like the jail’s administration has ignored their concerns over force overtime, overcrowding and safety.
In an email sent to all jail employees Wednesday, Bolton said he didn’t take the position “to win a popularity contest.” He added he has worked to improve officer safety, listing technology like the body scanners and camera systems.
“There is more to come, some of which you may like, some of which you may not,” Bolton wrote.
Dotson said members feel like they have not been heard before, but he hopes this statement of "no confidence" will help change things.
“Director Bolton has asked for a meeting with me and my vice president to discuss issues,” Dotson said. “So it has had an effect.”
Bolton was hired by the previous mayor nearly nine years ago. He remained in the position once current Mayor Greg Fischer took office. In response to WDRB News' request for an interview or statement from the mayor, Fischer’s press secretary emailed: “The mayor has no comment.”
You can read Bolton’s entire email response below:
As I understand yesterday’s vote, approximately 100 current officers turned out to vote of the 420+ filled sworn positions. Further, it is my understanding the FOP Corrections Union did not limit the right to vote to current employees but invited former employees, including those who had been fired for misconduct for their vote too. It has also been conveyed that apparently voters were not required to place their signature on the multi-question ballot and some votes were accepted by phone.
Despite these oddities and am appreciative of the double digit support, I respect the men and women who are employed here and will continue to address the concerns that led to yesterday’s vote. Whether the number is 400, 100 or 10, the Union has a right to voice their opinion and they have done that. Sure I make unpopular decisions – including decisions that end a person’s employment - that’s part of leadership. Those tough decisions were the right decisions. I did not take this job (approaching 9 years) to win a popularity contest. I took this job to be part of a progressive jail system and serve a key role in the local criminal justice arena. Accomplishments like ACA Core Standards, NCCHC and PREA accreditation support that. However, some criminal justice challenges, like the size of the inmate population and the number of finite beds, are out of my control.
This vote also comes at a time when officers, their families, and some community voices too, are frustrated because of a record number of inmates in custody and the amount of forced overtime hours Corrections Officers must work to manage the large inmate population. I do not make the decisions about who is committed to this jail; what medical or mental health crisis those persons bring with them to jail, or who get released from this jail. I do have a constitutional obligation to accept them, protect them and provide care, custody and control of every inmate the police bring regardless of the inmate charges or the inmate’s chronic or acute medical or mental health condition(s). I will do my job and I will not compromise integrity or the safety of our jail facilities over popularity.
I have worked to improve officer safety and have fought for improved technology to help such as detention grade body scanners that detect items arrestees try to smuggle contraband in a body cavity; a million dollar, multi-year, phased-in digital security camera upgrade that replaced an existing dull and analog camera system; and over the past three years I invested in the roll out of Corrections Officer body cameras. And there is more to come; some of which you may like, some of which you may not.
I have been in this business long enough – over 38 years – I understand that criticism should promote healthy review. I intend to examine the underpinning of this vote and find real areas of improvement that we can all work on. I invite all employees of Metro Corrections to get back to job #1 – the care, custody and control of the inmate population and the safety of staff, contractors and volunteers in support of our mission.
Mark E. Bolton, Director
Louisville Metro Department of Corrections
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