“We’re obviously losing a lot more officers than we are gaining. And if that continues, at what point can we not operate appropriately?”
Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) came to the forefront last year with the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Black Lives Matter staged protests and speeches condemning the police.
The Justice Department will launch “a ‘pattern or practice’ investigation into the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government and the LMPD.”
LMPD lost 190 cops in 2020 and 43 have left in 2021.
So is anyone shocked the LMPD is having a hard time filling positions? I didn’t think so:
“I would say that we’re in dire straits,” said River City Fraternal Order of Police press secretary Dave Mutchler, speaking to the current condition of LMPD staffing. Mutchler also serves as a spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Officer Union.
Statistics provided by LMPD on Tuesday show the department has hired 26 new members so far this year, while 43 have left. The 1,069-person department falls 255 people short of its “authorized strength” of 1,324 — the number of personnel it is authorized to employ, statistics show.
Meanwhile, LMPD hired 104 new members in 2020 but lost 188 to retirement or resignations, according to data. By the end of last year, LMPD employed 1,163 police personnel, instead of its 1,324-person “authorized strength.”
From 2013 to 2019, the difference in actual employment numbers and “authorized strength” has ranged from 45 to 101. In 2020, it climbed to 161 before reaching 255 year-to-date in 2021, statistics show.
“Our manpower is critically low,” Mutchler told Fox News. “One thing we have to consider when we’re talking about recruiting is that in the climate that we currently find ourselves, the pool of people wanting to become officers is shrinking every day.”
He added: “We’re obviously losing a lot more officers than we are gaining. And if that continues, at what point can we not operate appropriately?”
Earlier this month, Ryan Nichols, president of River City FOP Lodge 614, said an audit by the firm Hillard Heintze contained no surprises:
Though Nichols says some of the statistics in the audit that detail racial disparities in LMPD’s policing practices warrant more study, he generally accepts many of the recommendations the audit concludes will help improve the department and heal its strained relationship with the community. Particularly, the audit encourages more training and new efforts to strengthen community policing and engagement.
Nichols admitted with staff shortages that will likely not happen:
Currently, Nichols says officers are too busy responding to call after call to get out of their vehicles and walk the communities they police to make vital relationships.
Similarly, he says his members would like more training on serving search warrants, firearm use, and high-speed pursuits, but often don’t have the time or ability to learn or brush up on those skills that could be a matter of life or death.
“To train an officer, if we’re going to bring him in for 40 hours of training for a week, we have to have the officers to replace them on the street,” said Nichols. “We don’t have the time to take those officers or those detectives off the street and put them in a training class and be able to back-fill wherever they were working with an adequate number of staff.”
Why would anyone want to join the LMPD? Police officers spent a year being demonized by rioters and abandoned by officials. Yes, city officials support Garland’s investigation into the department.
But more importantly, what about safety issues?
In September 2020, authorities arrested a man for allegedly shooting two police officers during a riot after the grand jury chose not to charge the officers who killed Taylor.DONATE
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