LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Corrections' union said the jail is facing continued staffing shortages that came to a head this weekend. FOP Lodge 77 President Daniel Johnson said the jail moved to a "lockdown" type protocol called limited restricted movement.
"We had no programs going on, no unnecessary movement, staff weren't entering the dorms unless absolutely necessary, so it was a lockdown without calling it a lockdown," he said.
Johnson said LMDC had 16 openings this weekend. He said when he spoke to jail leaders Saturday, they were calling for restrictions on programming, and the special operations response team was called in to fill extra spots.
He said the booking area had just four officers working, and that they booked 160 people Friday night through Saturday night.
He said some areas had 450 inmates being watched by two officers.
"It's just a matter of time before something serious happened, it's a ticking time bomb," he said.
Last week, LMDC welcomed in 12 new officers, but Johnson said they also lost six.
"When we lose a person it's like losing two, so you hear we lost six people well that's 12 people's worth of work hours," he said. "That doesn't make up for the people we've lost just this week. Much less the last month or last six months."
Johnson is concerned about officer safety, after overdoses and fights. He said the reason LMDC can't bring in enough help is simple.
"You're not going to leave Laurel County or Boone County where you're making more money to come work at a bigger facility with more stress and less pay," he said.
Johnson said he wants the Mayor to reopen Metro Corrections FOP's contract and consider raising the pay.
"He found $9 million to buy the AT&T building, if it's important to the Mayor he'll do it, this just isn't high on his priority list," he said.
In a statement the Mayor's office wrote:
"We are in continued discussion with Union leadership and Metro Council to develop solutions as staffing levels are an issue we are seeing in agencies throughout Louisville Metro Government."
WHAS11 reached out to LMDC for comment. We have not heard back.
Johnson said Tuesday, representatives from FOP's in Illinois and Riker's Island in New York will be outside of LMDC serving food to the staff.