LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad went before the Metro Council Budget Committee about police needs for the 2015 fiscal year budget.
Conrad is proposing a $6.9 million dollar budget. If approved, the budget will add more police officers, surveillance cameras, and crime analysts in a real-time crime center.
In the center employees will watch surveillance cameras from all across the city.
Chief Conrad says crime is down about 2.9 percent but violent crime is up. Downtown violence on March 22 has been the catalyst for the recommended budget increases. "When March 22 occurred, many people in our community started questioning their safety and it created a conversation about staffing," he said.
A group of teenagers attacked residents and looted at stores on March 22. 6 people were hospitalized.
The crime spree spread into Bader’s Shell station where cashier Najisha McCubbins works. "I was so scared that I didn't even know what to do," McCubbins recalls.
To address public safety concerns, Chief Conrad discussed Mayor Fischer's proposal of a $6.9 million allotment of the $174 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year.
The new budget includes money to hire 24 new officers.
Mayor Greg Fischer approved a two percent franchise fee on natural gas that would generate $3.8 million extra to help pay for the added police protection.
Some residents say they would not mind paying more money to feel safe. “If you can come downtown and spend some time downtown and you feel safer doing it then absolutely,” Steve Regish said.
"People come to Louisville for Derby, they come for conferences, they come for conventions, we can't have that," McCubbins said.
It may remain to be seen if additional officers will actually reduce crime.
"We have 24 new officers in this budget, you could give me 24,000 officers and we'd still have crime in our community," Conrad said.
The chief, Councilman David James, and members of the Fraternal Order of Police are collaborating to hire a consultant to figure that out.
They hope to award a contract by November 2014.