LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Public safety and heightened violence in Louisville took center stage as Louisville Metro Council debated how much money will go towards police and other city departments in the upcoming year.
Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) Chief Erika Shields broke down how the money from the proposed budget would be distributed through the department during Tuesday's Metro Council meeting.
Chief Shields said the money is focused on going after the root of crime in Louisville.
"Policing has been and is in a crisis, and last year was the tipping point in Louisville," she said.
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Shields said the proposed budget would provide funds for new technology at the department - including drones, license plate readers and training for officers to boost intelligence-based policing. She said the new equipment and technology would help officers work in a more efficient and equitable way.
These tools would also help when the police force is low on staff, a problem that the department has been facing for a while. Shields said the issue can't be solved by just putting more money into recruitment tactics.
"People don't want to police. they don't want to get into the profession," she said. "We have to rebrand ourselves, it's not appealing."
In the budget, Shields would like money would go towards new programs focused on police reform, like a co-responder deflection model that would allow for other agencies to respond to emergency calls.
When it comes to the rising rate of homicides and gun violence in the city, Shields said the department will have to take a different approach.
"At the end of the day, when you're looking at the violent crime rate, that's a police function," Shields said. "You can't send case workers to robberies and carjackings."
Mayor Greg Fischer is leading the U.S. Conference of Mayors in a summit this week focusing on police reform and reimagining what public safety means. Fischer said these ideas are represented in the city's current budget proposal.
Budget hearings are still ongoing and Metro Council has to approve the mayor's proposal before it can be put into effect. The council has until the end of the month to decide.
Contact reporter Tyler Emery at temery@WHAS11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@TylerWHAS11) and Facebook.
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