Proposal to use surplus money to fund more police officers voted down

Council members disagree on violence solution

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- More than 60 times so far this year, police lights have taken over our neighborhoods.  As the homicide rate climbs, so does the frustration.  So will hiring more officers reduce our chances of seeing more violent crime?  Councilman Brent Ackerson wants to give it a chance citing an increase in murders and drug use.

"I've hit a position where I think to myself enough is enough," he said during Thursday's Metro Council meeting.

Ackerson introduced a resolution that would call upon the mayor to use at least $9 million in surplus money to hire and train a minimum of 100 new officers.  He was met with much resistance.  Council members voted it down, saying that money is not a guarantee.  "It's just not realistic to do this and just because we might have a five or six million dollar surplus one year doesn't mean we're going to have it the next year," she said.

"If we've heard anything in this chamber in the last few months, we've heard citizens come and speak at the podium.  We've heard LMPD leadership, we've heard officers and we've heard each other say we cannot police are way out of all of these problems," Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith responded.

Ackerson did get support from Councilman David James who is a former LMPD detective.  "Police officers are telling us they need help. They need back up. They need people working with them.  This is not a binding piece of legislation but it does set a goal for the mayor to say that he recognizes and we recognize that our police officers need help in this community and then our community needs help," James said.

Although the resolution did not pass, the council approved LMPD's $194 million budget which takes effect July 1.  Some of that money will go to hiring 16 more officers and 12 support staff.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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