Mayoral candidates disagree on LMPD's gang unit, how to pay for it


by Gene Kang

Posted on December 15, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 15 at 7:27 PM

Should LMPD reinstate the gang unit?

We're roughly a year away from electing the next mayor for metro Louisville but that hasn't stopped 3 candidates, also fellow Councilmen, from getting heated about the hot topic of policing violent crimes.

And more importantly, if they're elected, how to pay for any changes in a time of budget cuts.

"That's how we move the City forward throughout the community is by citizens being engaged and letting criminals know we will not stand anyone committing a crime in our neighborhood," said David Tandy, current Metro Council President and democratic mayoral candidate.

He agrees with Chief Robert White's current approach to community-policing to fight violent crimes.

That's especially after hearing his opponent, Metro Councilman Jim King on Monday.

Chief White said, "Whoever he would like to become the Chief, I would suggest that person doesn't have a clue what it takes to the Louisville Metro Police Department."

King says if elected mayor, he'd bring back a specialty gang unit while adding more officers.

Jim King said, "I know we have flex platoons in the divisions but I'm looking for something more comprehensive in nature. I want to restore the gang squad."

This one statement from Councilman King sparked a firestorm of controversy over how the Louisville Metro Police should operate under a new administration.

King wants to move away from community-policing which started when Chief Robert White took over in 2003.

We talked to republican candidate for mayor and Metro Councilman, Hal Heiner.

He hasn't launched his official stance on handling violent crimes yet but says there's a need to beef up the police department.

He said, "I agree with some of the recent comments with adding more police officers to our force but in order to afford those officers we need to increase the number of jobs in this community."

This is where all 3 candidates disagree, how to pay for any changes in the police force if they're elected mayor.

King's campaign office says they could ask for federal money or partnerships to add officers to LMPD and gang units.

While Tandy tells us he'd charge jail inmates a maximum fee creating more money to fight violent crimes.