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'I can't back that': LMPD chief, Metro Council debate over houseless ordinance enforcement

"We're not going to go out and risk getting more negative publicity around these areas."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There is still one major talking point about Metro Council's houseless ordinance that they need to figure out.

Who is going to enforce it?

Thursday afternoon, the Metro Council Parks Committee continued to debate on the amendment which would make it illegal to camp or store personal property in public areas.

It's an amendment to a 2018 ordinance that requires a 21-day notice to clear camps.

During the discussion, Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields said while officers will take action if someone is breaking the law, in many cases, police don't have enforcement power.

"I think the issues that I'm usually hearing, and when I drill down on them, it's the area where we're in the gray area where we know we just don't have the authority to do anything," she said. "We're not going to go out and risk getting more negative publicity around these areas. It's just, I can't back that. I'm not going to be able to defend that."

Shields suggested the city's houseless outreach help enforce the ordinance while Councilwoman Cindi Fowler suggested codes and regulations.

The chief said LMPD would be available if someone felt like they needed help.

The proposal was ultimately tabled with discussion to continue at another meeting.

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