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Louisville increases measures to improve community relations between police, citizens

All officers now outfitted with body cameras

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 21, 2016) — Recent national shootings by police officers and of police officers led Mayor Greg Fischer today to address citizens about measures being taken to improve public safety and improve police and community relations.

“In Louisville, we reject any notion that this is an either-or scenario — that you have to pick one side or the other,” Fischer said. “We support our communities of color and our LMPD officers. That is the only way forward.”

Fischer outlined three measures:

  • All Louisville Metro Police Department patrol and traffic officers are now outfitted with body cameras, which studies show help protect both citizens and police officers and reduces citizen complaints about the use of excessive force.
  • The city is establishing a Citizens Advisory Board that will review and make recommendations to LMPD on how to refine officer and recruit training so they have the knowledge and skills they need to reduce crime while maintaining strong connections within the community.
  • Following the lead of LMPD, Fischer is directing Human Resources director, J.P. Hamm, and Dr. Kelly Brandy Pryor, director of the Center for Health Equity, to train every Metro employee, from the Mayor’s Office to Public Works and Animal Services, to recognize and eliminate implicit or unconscious bias in themselves and others, so everyone is treated fairly.

Those steps, Fischer said, are part of ongoing efforts to build trust, and deepen and strengthen the relationship between Louisville’s police officers and communities of color.

Ongoing efforts include expanding community policing efforts through a $1.5 million federal COPS grant; holding more community conversations like Coffee with a Cop and Youth Chats, including one tonight at the Beechmont Community Center; and expanding weekly Peace Walks through higher crime neighborhoods.

Fischer noted that he and Police Chief Steve Conrad had been meeting with citizens and activists from Black Lives Matter and other organizations to better understand what’s happening and what needs to happen from their perspective.

The police department next month will also host a series of community forums about 21st-century policing tactics.

“If anyone is determined to pick a side in this ongoing conversation about our community, understand that in Louisville, we pick the side of peace, of compassion and community,” Fischer said. “We pick the side where citizens and their government, including their police force, work together for everyone’s benefit. I invite every citizen and police officer in our city to join us.  Our side welcomes everyone.”