LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Council on Thursday will vote on a new contract that, if passed, will result in a significant raise for Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers and sergeants.

What You Need To Know

  • Metro Council votes Thursday on a new contract for LMPD officers and sergeants

  • Mayor Greg Fischer has called for the contract to be approved

  • Four mayoral candidates reached by Spectrum News 1 said they, too, support the contract's approval

  • Two candidates said they do not support its approval

Mayor Greg Fischer has said that the 15% pay increase, which would see an officer’s starting salary increase from $45,489 to $52,561 in July 2022, is an essential part of retaining and recruiting new officers.

"It's critical that Louisville has a police department that offers competitive compensation in order to retain and drive recruitment of the best and brightest officers and to move forward with reforms that strengthen trust between officers and the community they serve," Fischer said when members of the River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614 approved the deal last month.

But some Louisvillians, including two hoping to replace Fischer, oppose to the contract, criticizing it for providing a raise to officers in a scandal-marred department and for failing to institute more reforms. Spectrum News 1 reached out to six candidates running for mayor and asked if they support Metro Council approving the contract. Here's what they said.

Bill Dieruf (R)

Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf said he has negotiated multiple police contracts and finds the new LMPD deal “fairly standard.”

“I would approve the contract because LMPD is hemorrhaging police officers so fast that they have to bring the pay up in order to stop losing officers and get some to return,” he said.

He added that there is more to attracting officers than a good contract. It also includes a “good working relationship between leadership and the FOP,” he said. Dieruf, one of only two Republicans running for mayor, said updating police retirement benefits could also help retain more experienced officers.

Timothy Findley, Jr. (D)

A pastor at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center in downtown Louisville, Tim Findley, Jr. said he does not support Metro Council approving the contract. He criticized the "very ambiguous, subjective proposed reforms that seem to simply suggest accountability."

Specifically, he said a provision in the contract encouraging officers to volunteer two hours per pay period at a community organization "seems asinine." He also noted problems with provisions governing how personnel records are handled. 

Like many activists, Findley specifically criticized the confidential nature of the contract negotiations, which occurred between the FOP and Fischer's office. "First and foremost, these contract negotiations should be open to the public," Findley said. "We cannot heal as a city when leadership continues to follow this typical pattern of secrecy and closed-door negotiation."

Community members asked Metro Council to reject the LMPD contract a special meeting this month. (Spectrum News 1/Adam K. Raymond)


Craig Greenberg (D)

Craig Greenberg, an attorney and developer, said he believes Metro Council should approve the contract and hopes "it goes a long way in helping Louisville as we continue to tackle our historic public safety and crime crisis."

Asked if he thought anything should be changed about the version of the contract that Metro Council will vote on, Greegnberg didn't name specifics but said, "Louisville must have the best trained and most service-oriented police force in Kentucky. As mayor, I will work with LMPD, the Metro Council, and other community leaders to make sure we do."

Philip Molestina (R)

Molestina, a business owner and pastor at He Visto la Luz Christian Church, said he does support Metro Council approving the contract. He said a pay raise is needed for officers who may be considering leaving the department.

He acknowledged that LMPD would benefit from more transparency and said he understands the concerns of those who oppose the contract. “However, I do believe that we are heading in a direction to bring LMPD to be the institution the city needs,” he said. “Change takes time and with the rising violent crime in our city and the high vacancies of officers in LMPD, we cannot table this matter any further.”

David Nicholson (D)

Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson said he supports Metro Council approval of the contract. "I hope that the incentives included in this contract will help reduce the critical shortage of police officers in our community," he said. 

Echoing a statement LMPD Chief Erika Shields has made, he said LMPD officers should be the best paid in the state. He added: "As the next mayor of the city of Louisville, I will continue to work on the reforms we have made in how we police the community and find the means to maintain attractive compensation and benefit packages."

Shameka Parrish-Wright (D)

Shameka Parrish-Wright, a local activist who works in bail reform, has been outspoken about her opposition to the contract, which she spoke out against at a special Metro Council meeting this month.

She told Spectrum News 1 that she supports giving officers a raise, but believed the contract, which she called an “opportunity for us to re-imagine our city's whole relationship with law enforcement,” needs to include more reforms. She said she would like to see the contract require more training for officers to help “the houseless, marginalized and those struggling with substance-use issues." She also favors the removal of a provision that allows for citizen complaints to be erased from an officers file after two years and wants deeper background checks to discover ties between officers and “racist groups, gangs and militias.” She would also like to see officer incentivized “for positive community engagement and reduced overpolicing.”

“I believe that policing is a difficult job that deserves high compensation,” Parrish-Wright said, “but giving massive salary increases without getting the reforms our city so desperately needs weakens our negotiating position in the future. Approving this contract as written would be wasteful, and unpragmatic.”