Louisville mayoral candidates outline plans to tackle record violence – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville
Louisville mayoral candidates are rolling out their plans to tackle record violent crime ahead of primary elections later this year.
On Thursday, Democratic candidate Craig Greenberg unveiled his plan to overhaul public security. He focused on a few priority areas, including addressing violence and investing in communities. The plan was informed by a public safety roundtable Greenberg hosted with law enforcement, policymakers and social service providers in November.
Greenberg said if elected, he wants to fill nearly 300 vacancies with the Louisville Metro Police Department. Pressed on how he would do that, he said the new officers “will know they have the support of the mayor.” He also highlighted the increases in the new police union contract negotiated by Mayor Greg Fischer.
“We will also be looking to hire retired LMPD officers or officers from regional forces, so that in a shorter timeframe we can have a police force focused on community policing, which works with clergy, leaders neighborhood,” he said.
Greenberg said he plans to expand other existing programs like Louisville’s Group Violence Intervention initiative and the 911 Diversion Program, which promises to provide a non-policing response to calls for a mental health crisis.
The plan highlights the need to invest in neighborhoods to support public safety reforms. Greenberg wants to expand workforce training programs and make sure the streets are clean and well-lit. He said he would create an “abandoned vehicle response team” to remove wrecked cars from city streets within 48 hours of a report.
“The existing tow lot is overcrowded,” he said. “Owners must come and collect their cars or, if they don’t do so within the specified time frame, those cars must be sold to make room for additional cars.”
Lack of space in Louisville tow lot led to disabled vehicles accumulate on city streets and in residential areas. An abandoned car near Eastern Parkway recently became a work of street art.
Fischer’s administration received funds for years to purchase land for a new tow lot, but acquired none. Greenberg did not provide a plan for the creation of a new lot, saying he is focused on freeing up capacity on existing land.
Greenberg’s public safety plan also says he will aim to build 15,000 new affordable housing units in his first term, but it doesn’t include details on how he plans to do this or how much housing will cost. .
Some of Greenberg’s proposals are similar to those of other Democratic candidates.
He and activist Shameka Parrish-Wright have said they want to expand community centers and crime-fighting programs.
In his plan CHANGES, Parrish-Wright presented his proposal to “reinvent public safety” by expanding the 911 diversion program, reopen the city’s adult crisis center known as the Living Room and creating “neighborhood trauma response units”.
“These units will employ representatives from each community who will undergo extensive training in de-escalation and racial trauma, as well as certification in substance abuse and negative childhood experiences,” Parrish-Wright explains in his plan. “They will be matched with social workers, legal and mental health professionals.”
Reached for comment on Wednesday, Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson said he stressed public safety reforms were his top priority when he launched his campaign last September. He said Greenberg’s plan included many of the things he talked about then: creating a victim services office, the need for neighborhood policing, and recruiting police officers to underrepresented neighborhoods.
“He’s just catching up,” Nicholson said in a statement. “We believe our plan will resolve the trust gap between residents and the police.”
Activist and pastor Timothy Findley, Jr., Democratic candidate, is propose to focus on the root causes of violence increasing employment opportunities and access to health care. Findley also wants a more transparent police department.
“[I’m] committed to addressing the aggressive policing, abuse, lack of transparency and cover-ups that have plagued this department and eroded public trust,” Findley says on his campaign page.
On the Republican side of the mayoral race, Bill Dieruf, currently mayor of Jeffersontown, called public safety “the most critical challenge facing the Louisville metro.” In response to Greenberg releasing his plan on Wednesday, Dieruf said he would bring Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders with him if he is elected mayor.
“Having a plan doesn’t mean you can do it,” Dieruf said in a statement. “I don’t have just one plan. I have a successful track record of implementing proven public safety measures.
Dieruf highlighted some of his proposals “without showing our hand to the criminals we will prosecute.” Like some Democratic candidates, they include expanding Louisville’s Group Violence Intervention initiative and reopening the Living Room. He also said he would make sure the police coordinate better with state and local law enforcement.
The Republican and Democratic primaries are scheduled for May 17.