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How Louisville's mayoral candidates plan to reduce crime if elected

All of the mayoral candidates say reducing the city's crime rate is a top priority.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Data from the FBI shows from 2011 to 2020 there's been a 40% increase in the number of violent crime incidents reported to the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD).

So how do the candidates running in the primary election plan to get that number moving in the opposite direction? 

Here's a look at the candidates running in the primary election.

Carla Dearing

Businesswoman and entrepreneur Carla Dearing, a Democrat, said her plan starts with bringing a diverse group of people to the table to strategize. 

"There are people who want the police to make them more safe," Dearing said. "There are people who want to be more safe from the police. And the police themselves want to be more safe. So, it’s very important that we recognize that there are different needs."

Dearing said if elected, she would also reallocate existing funds. 

"It’s very necessary to one bring people together, understand those safety needs and spend money smarter and more effectively to address that," Dearing said.

Bill Dieruf

Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf, a Republican, said he already has the tools he needs to improve the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) from day one because of his current position.

If elected as Louisville's mayor, Dieruf said he plans to expand community policing efforts.

"This is where the community and the police officers get to know each other," Dieruf said. "Police officers get out and walk the community, get to know both the businesses and the homeowner, so when a situation happens they work together to solve the crime."

Dieruf also said he wants to see more of a focus on something he called 'soft policing'. 

Dieruf would like to create a victims advocate program, where crime victims can get help from the police. 

He also wants to bring the Angel Program downtown. 

The program, which started seven years ago, allows anyone entering the Jeffersontown Police Department and wants help for an opioid addiction to get placed in a local treatment facility. 

"You could come into my police department and we had over 300 locations to get you healed," Dieruf said.

Dieruf also said he intends to bring along Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders, a former Jefferson County Police Officer and Kentucky State Police Commissioner.

"The person that I have that is my chief right now will be moving downtown in some capacity because his experience far exceeds anybody in the state or a lot across the nation to move the city forward," Dieruf said. "He understands what it's going to take to make this city safe, and together, we can bring the city back to where it needs to be."

Timothy Findley Jr. 

Timothy Findley Jr., a Democrat who is a senior pastor at Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center, said he thinks transparency at the police department needs to be addressed.

He also would like to see more investments in community programs and a bigger focus on lifting up Louisvillians through better human services. 

"This is not something that just came out of nowhere," Findley said. "It's unfortunate, but there have been decades worth of disinvestments from communities. You have people living in marginalized communities, people living without fresh food, we have people dealing with all kinds of fixable issues by our government, and we have to have a plan around investing in our neighborhoods."

Findley also said he feels it's time to switch out leadership at LMPD. 

"I think we knew we need new leadership within our police department," Findley said. "That's just got to happen."

Findley also said there are situations that don't warrant a police response when people call 911 and would develop a policy to further that idea. 

"I am very much one that believes in mental health professionals, us having an avenue for them and other professionals, trained professionals, to be able to respond to certain issues and not simply LMPD," Findley said.

Findley said he could also help recruit more Black officers, which would help create a police force that looks like the people it serves and could help with recruitment efforts. 

Craig Greenberg

Businessman Craig Greenberg, a Democrat, said he feels the answer to reducing the crime rate lies with more investments in community programs.  

"We need to drastically increase our investment in after-school and summer programs for youth and young adults so they have more enrichment opportunities, opportunities to complete schooling and opportunities to succeed that lead them into productive and great lives," Greenberg said.

Greenberg said he'd also like to see better training for police. 

"We need to focus on additional training in de-escalation on racial bias training on responding to mental health crises," Greenberg said.

Greenberg also thinks funding should be reallocated in the city budget to help curb the rising crime rate. 

"Right now money is not the issue," Greenberg said. "The money is there. The question is how we spend it, how we support the police department and work with the police department to make sure they’re the best-trained police department working within the neighborhoods to prevent crime before it happens."

David Nicholson

Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson, a Democrat, rolled out a three-pronged public safety plan.

If elected, he'd create an Office of Victim Services.

"This Office of Victim Services would be there for be trauma," Nicholson said. "Be it assistance in the burial expenses, understanding temporary housing — any aspect that a victim of a violent crime would encounter."

Nicholson said if he were mayor today, he'd also have already come to an agreement with the FOP to get a new contract.

"We would have resolved it within 24 hours with the help of the Metro Council right beside me, right at the bargaining table, so that we can begin to rebuild and bring the authorized strength and not have a shortage," Nicholson said.

Nicholson said he'd put more of a focus on community-based policing.  

He also said he would create a Violent Crime Fatality Review Committee to investigate why deaths happen and hopefully prevent more from happening in similar manners in the future.

Shameka Parrish-Wright

Racial justice advocate Shameka Parrish-Wright, a Democrat, said she feels community programs have been underfunded for years and fixing that will help lower the crime rate.

"We didn't meet people where they were, we didn't have activities and things that are regularly come into those communities," Parrish-Wright said.

Parrish-Wright said to start tackling crime, she thinks it's important to bring young people to the table to help make decisions. 

"The youth are not deciding what programs work for them or not," Parrish-Wright said. "Their input isn't taken to the higher level."

Parrish-Wright also wants to see a change in leadership at LMPD. 

"There were better selections to me that started out as beat cops that went up through the system that would have had the respect of all the officers to make the real changes," Parrish-Wright said. 

Parrish-Wright said she also feels LMPD needs to change its hiring practices, especially after many people who she feels would make great officers were disqualified from serving for taking part in the Justice Square demonstrations after Breonna Taylor was killed. 

"Those are people who will be great as cadets, but when they get these trumped-up charges, they don't qualify to become police officers," Parrish-Wright said. "We need to start looking at our hiring practices; encouraging more young people to do this. I believe we will still have more young people that want to become officers if we offer them incentives to live in the communities that they serve, so they understand the languages and the stuff that is happening in those communities. I think that we have more people who will take that job and do what's right by it, but they have to be supported."

WHAS 11 has reached out to Republican candidate Philip Molestina for an interview on his crime plan. We will update this article once he provides his plan.

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 Contact political reporter Rachel Droze at rdroze@whas11.com or on FacebookTwitter or Instagram 

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