LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We’re getting a much deeper look into the minds of both Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg and Interim Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel after the U.S. Department of Justice’s report on the Louisville Metro Police Department was released.
Both the mayor and the interim chief sat for an interview with Spectrum News 1 to respond to the report. Two works kept coming up from both of them: “reform” and “improvements”.
A line in the DOJ report says they had “identified deficiencies in LMPD’s response to and investigation of domestic violence and sexual assault, including its responses to allegations that LMPD officers engaged in sexual misconduct or domestic violence. These deficiencies raise serious concerns about whether LMPD engages in gender bias in providing policing services to women. "
“Any misconduct, whether the ones you just stated, just erodes the profession. It erodes what we’re trying to do in building community trust,” Gwinn-Villaroel said. “We’re doing so much good work in trying to be a better department, to provide those services and be very responsive and the lack thereof as the DOJ has notated is troubling. But again, we are doing proper training and we do, I’m happy to say, we even have a diversity equity inclusion manager that we hired on to actually help build and forge these better relationships.”
Greenberg said he was especially disappointed about the history of discrimination found in the report. “Part of what’s so difficult about the report to read, to digest, is that some of the worst transgressions were directed at members of our Black and Brown communities, women and their children,” he said.
“That’s unacceptable. There’s no excuse for any of that,” he added.
But Greenberg said the report was important for its public accountability. “It’s important that that be out there, that that be documented as part of our history and now it will really cause not just LMPD and the city government but really our entire community to focus on how we do a much better job of serving those communities that have been overlooked and neglected in the past,” he explained.
When asked if mental health professionals responding to scenes where there is a person in crisis, Gwinn-Villaroel said, “Absolutely. The deflection model has been fully implemented in certain division as we speak right now.”
She said it’s a helpful model for getting people the right kind of aid they need.
“LMPD fully embraced that model because we never wanted to get into the business of dealing with anyone that is going through a mental health crisis and we don’t have the skillset to deal with those people. So, having social workers, having Seven Counties involved, and responding to those scenes are just really critical for us and we have fully embraced that, and it is working,” she shared.
When asked about ensuring that the community has a seat at the table with the department, Gwinn-Villaroel said they were working on engaging the community. “I started with a couple more officers, doing ‘Convos and Cuts.’ We’re going to the barbershop, and we’re actually having those conversations for the community,” she said.
Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said the Department is making a table for the community to have a seat at.
If you would like to watch the entire interview online, you can find it on our CTV app for you to see in its entirety.