LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields said Wednesday they are expecting the findings of the U.S. Department of Justice pattern or practice investigation into the Louisville Metro Government and LMPD, which was announced in April 2021, to soon become public.
Ahead of this, Fischer and Shields said they’re providing a public safety update to the community on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m., which will stream live on the Mayor’s Facebook Page. There will also be time for the public to ask questions.
What You Need To Know
- Louisville’s mayor and police chief expect findings from the DOJ investigation of Louisville Metro government and LMPD to be released soon
- Mayor Greg Fischer said he doesn’t know an exact date but knows the DOJ is in the final stages of its report
- Fischer and Chief Shields are providing an update on public safety efforts by the city and LMPD, and said150 actions have been taken since 2021
- The public safety update will stream live on the Mayor’s Facebook Page
Mayor Fischer said the city has responded to the 2020 protests and the death of Breonna Taylor by implementing reforms to LMPD and making non-police investments into the community.
“I think the work has come together because of good teamwork. Teamwork from the protest group, from the police department and their goal to be the best police department in the country, from our administration, to say out of this tragedy, we are going to honor the pain by improving police and community trust,” Fischer said in a sit-down interview with Spectrum News.
“It’s going to continue; there is no finish line to this work,” the mayor added.
Shields, who came on board with LMPD as its new police chief in Jan. 2021, said the Hillard Heintze report, which was a top-to-bottom review of LMPD commissioned by the city and published on Jan. 27, 2021, was a road map for what to work on.
“I think the DOJ report will expand on that. They’ll go in-depth on some of the issues a little more… There may be one or two things that jump out that we weren’t familiar with, but I think by and large it’s going to be the areas, they’re going to highlight those areas that we have been working on diligently for the last 18 months,” Shields said.
You can read the full Hillard Heintze report below.
A dashboard on LMPD’s website keeps track of the department’s progress in tackling the recommendations by the Hillard Heintze report. Conducted by a third-party Chicago-based consulting firm of the same name, the recommendations are broken down into 12 topics, such as bias-free policing and use of force and de-escalation.
Progress shows 37.25% of recommendations have been implemented and just over 47.06% are still in process. Additionally, 9.8% of recommendations are in the planning and development stage while 5.88% are under review.
Fischer said since the Hillard Heintze report came out and the DOJ investigation was announced, there have been over 150 actions taken.
One of those is an initiative called “Truth and Transformation,” which is a police-community reconciliation framework meant to restore public trust and transparency between LMPD and the community.
Part of that initiative calls for an “Acknowledgment of Harm” that admits the problems caused by law enforcement from a city leader, preferably the police chief. Shields said she has spoken about this her entire career.
“When you go back to Alabama and Montgomery and look at who is on the horses with the nightsticks beating down the Black people, who is holding the German Shepherds as they are attacking the Black people, it’s police,” Shields said, when asked about the Acknowledgment of Harm. “Unfortunately, we have allowed ourselves to be on the front lines of some of the most abhorrent behavior, and I’ve spoken about this my entire career and will continue to do so.”
The initiative also requires education on the history of policing for LMPD staff, which has already started. Shields said it’s naïve to assume staff already understand it.
“Because how it impacts us is, when we go and are policing in a Black community, the reception is going to be very different than when we get in the white community,” Shields explained. “And so for me, it’s really important for me to speak about this on a regular basis. I’m not going to go to a podium and pontificate about it one day, wash my hands and say this is done. It’s not done. I have a job to continually educate the department.”
Fischer added, “There’s broader perspective to, relative to the city’s involvement historically over the years, from redlining to other types of practices that, you know, hurt our Black community.”
In March 2022 this year, LMPD also announced the creation of the Accountability and Improvement Bureau. Fischer said that is up and running, but it’s not 100% staffed yet.
Speaking about that new bureau, Shields said, “One of the things we are doing to monitor our performance is to hire auditors, individuals on state staff who will continually examine our performance… So there are a number of civilian positions that, in lieu of slotting law-enforcement, we wanted to find subject matter experts and hire them for these positions.”
This Saturday, Mayor Fischer and Police Chief Shields are hosting a virtual community forum to discuss the city’s public safety efforts with residents.
“I hope people participate. I concur with the mayor. I mean, what we are really trying to do is communicate [that] this is the work that we’ve done. We know we’ve got a lot before us, but we want folks to understand that we are not just being idle, and we are especially not just waiting on a DOJ report,” Shields said.
The forum will be streamed live on the Mayor’s Facebook page at 2 p.m. on Sept. 10. There will also be a time for questions from the public.
You can read more about the mayor and police chief’s public safety update here.