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'My neighbors are still being murdered': Community leader reacts to LMPD Chief Shields' new crime data

Police Chief Erika Shields said the department is making progress on each of the 12 areas an independent review said it needed to work on.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Violent crime is down and gun seizures are up. It might not sound like what Louisville has been hearing about every day, but those statistics are a part of the progress report Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) Chief Erika Shields gave to Metro Council Wednesday.

Shields said the department is making progress on each of the 12 areas Hillard Heintze said it needed to work on.

The Chicago-based company gave LMPD a 155-page critique filled with more than 100 recommendations for the department to follow.

Of the 12 targets, Shields said they've reached each one in some capacity. One example she gave is early intervention.

“It's really getting ahead of a pattern to say, 'Are you having issues at home,” Shields said.

She said LMPD will hire a psychologist and establish a new Wellness Unit, which will hold supervisors accountable for following up on an officer's mental health.

Another pillar is crisis intervention; Shields points to the newly launched 911 deflection program as proof this target is being reached.

However, she said there is room for improvement, including getting a grip on violent crime.

Organizer of the Russell Neighborhood Association, Jackie Floyd, agrees.

"It's really impressive for the people that want to hear those numbers,” Floyd said. "You say the murders are going down, but my child, my grandchild, my neighbors are still being murdered."

Shields addressed that very point in her presentation after showing data revealing city-wide crime is down 14%, violent crime is down 19% and gun seizures up 11%.

"I don't think data means a lot, not when we're experiencing homicide at the clip that we were,” Shields said.

Shields also said she wants to create an Accountability and Improvement Bureau, filled with community members.

Floyd said while that sounds good, it all leads back to internal accountability.

“Not only the community holding itself accountable, but the police holding themselves accountable and the mayor holding the chief accountable,” Floyd said. “Not side-stepping, not sweet-talking, but that accountability needs to be on both sides of the street."

Though skeptical, it's something Floyd is optimistic about.

"I am determined at 69 years old that before I close my eyes, we will have a safe, healthy and thriving community, not only in Russell, but the West End,” Floyd said.

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