Friday May 21, 2004
Mayor Jerry Abramson and Police Chief Robert White today unveiled a redistricting plan and elements of a budget proposal that will improve community safety by putting more officers out in neighborhoods and deploying them more effectively.
The major restructuring is part of an effort to focus policing efforts on neighborhoods to enhance safety.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our citizens and our hometown,” Abramson said. “That’s why improving safety and security is our No. 1 priority.”
Since merger of the police departments in 2003, Abramson and White said 60 additional officers have been placed on the streets through efforts to reduce duplication and increase efficiency.
And as part of the budget he will unveil next week, Abramson said at a news conference with White this morning that an additional 13 officers will be put in neighborhoods, increasing the number of officers on the street since merger by more than 80 – a more than 6 percent increase. Abramson added that two new classes of police recruits also will be funded in his budget.
White said the redistricting plan calls for eight new police “patrol divisions” to replace the four former county and six more city police districts they’ve been using since merger. This decision comes after several months of talking with citizens and staff about how they wish to see their city served. Commanding officers also analyzed crime data as well as calls for service.
“Redrawing the boundaries of our police districts will make the Louisville Metro Police Department more manageable and efficient,” White said. “These changes should keep our city safer by allowing us to sharpen our focus on the department’s primary goal, which is crime prevention.”
White added that the number of police sectors would remain the same under the redistricting plan, while the new structure will remove the “arbitrary line that divided city and county before merger.
Before the former City of Louisville merged with Jefferson County last year, there were two separate police departments with two sets of police districts. After merger, these geographic boundaries made little sense.
“One of our top priorities in this redistricting process was to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods, by respecting the neighborhood boundaries that our residents have come to know,” White said.
For example, established neighborhoods along Bardstown Road and Preston Highway currently served by two and three police districts will be served by one patrol division under the plan.
Police departments in smaller cities like Shively, St. Matthews and Jeffersontown will be able to communicate with one LMPD patrol division instead of several districts. Homeland security is taken into account with the Louisville International Airport and other strategic sites located in one patrol division.
There will also be a new patrol division in the historically underserved Newburg neighborhood.
White said the redistricting plan will make it easier to manage the staffing needs of eight detective, flex and domestic violence units, while putting more officers closer our citizens and the crime issues they face.
“I hope to give our officers an even greater ability to bond with citizens and establish relationships that are critical to preventing and solving crime,” White said. “These ties will empower officers to take ownership of their beats and ensure that residents take an active role in keeping their neighborhoods safe.”
The budget – placing more officers on the street.
The additional officers on the street are the result of White’s efforts to reduce duplication after merger and place civilians in jobs that don’t require police officers, such as planning and data entry.
In Abramson’s upcoming budget, White will be able to hire eight civilians for office jobs – in planning and in the property room – to free up more officers for neighborhood patrols. A civilian will also replace two officers in the community relations division. Abramson said that six additional civilians will be hired to take non-emergency police reports, reducing the amount of paperwork assigned to officers.
In addition, the budget will also include funding for 10 new civilian positions to enter crime reports into computers to put more information into the hands of officers more quickly.
Finally, Abramson’s budget – to be unveiled May 27 to the Metro Council – will include three additional sworn police officers as part of the Cops in Schools program. Those positions, along with about nine others added over the past year, are funded with federal grants.
“We’ve erased the line that used to separate city and county,” Abramson said. “What has been developed through the merger of the police departments is a new plan for deploying our troops that makes sense, puts officers out in our neighborhoods and improves safety throughout Louisville.”
Police changes by the numbers
Personnel additions in the budget
·8 civilians will be hired for tasks currently done by 8 officers planning (6) property room (2)
·1 civilian will be reassigned to community relations duties, freeing up 2 officers
·3 new officers will be hired under a Cops in Schools grant, adding to the 9 new officers added since January
·6 new civilians will be hired to take non-emergency phone reports, which saves time for scores of officers
·10 new civilians will be hired for data input of crime reports, which will put more current info in officers’ hands Additional officers on the street
· 60 officers as a result of Chief White’s decentralization
· 10 officers as a result of Mayor Abramson’s budget plan
· 12 officers added from federal Cops in Schools grants
TOTAL: 82 officers on the street since January 6, 2003