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Metro Council member: Search for new LMPD chief was not transparent enough

"As we went through the practice and the exercise of actually getting community input…there was a lack of follow through and follow-up with that process."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After Erika Shields was introduced as the next Louisville Metro police chief, council member Keisha Dorsey (D-3) said she received messages from constituents questioning the search process.

While Mayor Greg Fischer's office held listening sessions and collected surveys from more than 10,000 people in Jefferson County, not much was released once the search came down to 28 candidates.

"As we went through the practice and the exercise of actually getting community input…what I heard was there was a lack of follow through and follow-up with that process," Dorsey said. "What we're hearing from the selection committee is by far she was the best choice. The challenge that we hear from the community is trusting that."

For months, Dorsey and fellow council member Jecorey Arthur (D-4) have been working with a committee to draw out resolutions following the cries of racism as a public health crisis. One of the plans is finding ways to communicate with the public better about who and how the city is hiring, especially around public safety.

LMPD Chief for Public Safety Amy Hess said 28 candidates were kept confidential because of risks to current employment, reputation and credibility.

"We certainly understand when it comes to the anonymity of the applicants, but there's certainly some values that you can express – what were the genders, what were the educational ranges, what were the work experience backgrounds, were any of them that applied to any other ones have histories or past incidents," Dorsey said.

Fischer's office said out of the 28 candidates, half of them were Black, 15% female and there were about 11 current and former police chiefs. Eight people on an interview panel were in charge of selecting the best fit, and the panel unanimously selected Shields. 

In a statement, the River City FOP said that while they were "cautiously optimistic" about the appointment of Shields, some of the comments made during her announcement caused some of them to "lose faith in her ability to improve this department."

Still, they said they're willing to work with her to develop a strong relationship.

"I I don't think it's a matter of let's give her a chance I think it's a matter of we have to give her a chance," Dorsey said. "But we still have a lot more that we need to handle as a community; I think we keep our foot on the gas, we continue to press for accountability and we move forward together working with her and holding her accountable every step of the way."

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